Be2camp presentation on architectural micro-blogging

Below is the slide presentation I will (hopefully) present at tonight's Be2camp North un-conference. Basically the presentation graphically summarises my recent blog post on the use of micro-blogging within architectural collaboration.

The conference is in Liverpool and I am in New Zealand, so if the technology gods are not in a good mood things may go pear shaped very quickly...


Using micro-blogging to record architectural design conversation alongside the BIM

The majority of professionals within the architecture, engineering and construction (AEC) industry use the telephone and email to collaborate on immediate design problems. Unfortunately there is a disconnection between this communication and the underlying Building Information Model (BIM) where the agreed upon architectural solution is recorded. As a consequence it is difficult for a person interacting solely with the BIM to take part or learn from this external conversation because they are often oblivious to it taking place. Micro-blogging is an emerging, Internet-based communication medium that may provide the common thread to tie these disparate sources of project information together. It will achieve this through enabling the issues and outcomes discussed during architectural conversations to be quickly recorded by any member of the project team. Those working on the BIM will be able to actively monitor and search across these conversations to keep up to date with the project’s state and help solve new design problems.

Unlike blogging and instant messaging, micro-blogging can communicate simple messages between groups of people using mobile phones or any Internet connected device. These conversations are published online so they can be referenced in further design discussion, or indexed for searching alongside other sources of project information. For adoption to occur the technology must be integrated within the BIM toolset so that being part of this conversation is a natural extension of the digital workspace. Current micro-blogging services such as Twitter, lack this integration and have not (yet) been tailored to meet the specific demands of architectural collaboration. A focused implementation would likely improve architectural collaboration because micro-blogging embodies many of the principles of the Project Information Cloud. Its qualities of simplicity, ubiquity, decentralisation, modularity, awareness, context sensitivity and evolving semantics make it a promising collaboration medium, and one that could move the AEC industry towards the goal of hyperlinked practice.

Making digital collaboration "more betterer"

Recently I gave a presentation at Victoria University on the work I am doing with my PhD. For posterity I have uploaded this presentation to Slideshare.

The talk covered the problem of digital architectural collaboration and how it is an immature field compared to other aspects of architecture. Due to the pressing nature of architectural collaboration the solutions to this problem will not be revolutionary, e.g. Second Life-like, but rather evolutionary, and at times even haphazard.

After introducing the problem-space I went on to discuss the emergence of the Building Information Model (BIM) as a central figure in digital architectural collaboration. However whilst BIM is an excellent productivity tool it does not address many of the industry's collaboration issues - in fact in many respects it compounds them.

WIth BIM identified as a significant yet problematic collaboration technology I outlined the need for an overriding set of digital collaboration principles that can be applied to future collaboration technology decisions. Rather than starting from zero I propose that we build on top of the underlying theories of distributed systems such as the Internet. With this need and methodology identified, I go on to introduce the seven principles of the Project Information Cloud:

  1. Simplicity
  2. Ubiquity
  3. Decentralisation
  4. Modular design
  5. Information awareness
  6. Context sensitivity
  7. Evolutionary semantics

Through application of these principles it is hoped we can establish Project Information Clouds within architectural projects. These unbounded information clouds will link significant amounts of projects data into intelligent, loosely joined, knowledge-bases.


Internet enabling Generative Components for a new breed of AEC consultant

Generative Components, also known as Smart Geometry, is a technology for describing the underlying rule-set of a geometric form. Currently it is in its infancy but potential exists for it to become the basis of a new field of AEC consultancy centered around geometric exploration. Central to its success will be the ability for its proponents to utilise the Internet to improve its technical accessibility and enable consultants to deliver the benefits of Generative Components to any interested architecture practice no matter its size or geographic location.

Even though it is smarter, BIM is still dumb

Typical CAD or BIM modeling tools are relatively simple in nature because all the major design elements are systematically defined by the architect or drafts-person building the model. Unfortunately this process depends on the person creating the model having at least some idea of the intended outcome before undertaking the work. Also once the model is built the underlying geometric motivations behind it cannot be efficiently experimented with. Generative Components empowers the designer with the ability to almost effortlessly explore many different yet related iterations of the same concept in order to determine the strongest architectural response to the given situation.