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To BIM or not to BIM

 

Teaser image for the movie Ready Player One.

A while ago we were reflecting on the role architecture plays in the virtual world. It looks as if trends are not only found in the worlds of cuisine, design and make-up: we’re also beginning to see influencer architects, pioneers in the viralisation of architecture. The possibility of accessing and interchanging tons of data is one of Internet’s most highly praised benefits, but like all pros, it also has its cons.

For me, one of its best advantages is that we can keep up to date with experiments and research being done on the other side of the world. Not only that, we can also get in touch with people who share our interests and, that way, create new networks.

Internet may have its disadvantages, but in this interchange of information I see nothing negative. Often, however, I come across things that make me see architecture’s future as somewhat “aimless”, and that feeling puts me into a catatonic trance for several hours (later, I get over it).

That happened a few days ago, when I saw, for the third or fourth time, a GIF advertising a software package capable of altering whole blocks as if by magic.

Gif of a software solution for “producing” architecture

Gif of a software solution for “producing” architecture

Since Twitter is getting more and more like a virtual coffee bar, I joked a little about the dehumanisation of architecture, but the author of the original tweet began very earnestly to defend this type of design tool. I started to fish around and discovered that he isn’t the only one. A whole army of architects and programmers now swear by the famous BIM. Which leaves me wondering where the use of this software to generate such large-scale mega-projects leaves the people who have to actually live in the buildings.

I couldn’t help sharing my consternation, and so I spoke to some architect colleagues about the role being played by the new technologies in architectural praxis. The general consensus was that the proliferation of architecture studios working with Revit is creating a school of architects who are specialists in technology and whose sole objective is to optimise processes. These codebashers often distance themselves from the more sensitive dimension of architecture, and the chaos caused by design tools in their quest to speed up architectural output is leading to the imminent dehumanisation of the discipline.

This blog already features articles like this one, by Jaime Llorente, reflecting on the role of feelings in architecture. We are linked to space in a way that goes beyond merely using a series of facilities, and it’s that connection with our surroundings that we address as architects. Since software codes allow us to programme but not to seek solutions, many non-technologically-orientated architects advocate an architecture in which our designs are based on personal experience.

In education they talk of hybrid methods, methods which harmoniously combine digital tools with the teacher’s human skills. Could we start talking about a hybrid architecture, or are we destined to have to choose between being BIM architects or “drawing paper” architects?

Autor:
Arquitectura y Neurociencia. Arquitecta dedicada a la docencia, entusiasta de la innovación a través del espacio.

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