I've been writing the Trade Secrets column in New England Home for years. Lately, I've stumbled across some new technologies that are apparently so disruptive the role of architects and designers will become once again central, crucial. Not marginal in the sense that designers are there to make things 'look cool ' or 'pretty.'
For example, Bill Porter (former MIT architecture head) and his partner Brian Anderson are using a technology called HomeSeed that allows them to predict energy performance. This is revolutionary. Instead of modelling groovy shapes (hey, I'm all for groovy shapes) Porter and Anderson can look at thousands of options to help their clients figure out what's best. For example, solar panels sound great, but what if the payout on those is fifty-three years, and a more efficient furnace comes to three? They've got a project going now where the owners can actually expect to earn money back from the utilities.
What technologies have you come across that you would like to share? HomeSeed, for example, was developed by one of the world's premier rocket scientists: Ed Crawley. He just happened to ask his architect what modelling software he was using for energy performance. When he found out none such existed, he went out and made his own. There must be other platforms out there that would make the designing and building process more seamless, creative, sustainable and so on. My hope for this post is that folks in all design disciplines will give some thought to this either here or on my own blog: