How Technology Has Changed the Architecture Profession

Architecture is an ancient industry, one of the first that mankind learned when he began to build homes for his family or places to meet with others and even places of worship.  And while the basics of architecture remain unchanged, many of the techniques and technology involved in it has changed rapidly in recent years.  So how has modern technology changed architecture?

Virtual reality and augmented reality

VR and AR have seemed a distant dream for many years as companies couldn’t quite make the potential of the technology into a reality.  But in the last year or so, this has all changed and the potential of VR has become true.  In the architecture world, VR has the potential to change the way we visualise the structures that we develop allowing a client to ‘see’ the outside and inside of a building, walk around it and enjoy all the features it will offer before a single brick has been laid.

3D printing

Another technology that has rapidly become a common place thing is the use of 3D printing – literally printing something that becomes a three dimensional, real object.  While it has many applicated in the consumer world, architects have already found uses for it.  These include creating 3D models in a never before seen way but also in creating materials and tools to help with projects.

Mobile workstations

The availability of cloud storage and the quality of mobile devices such as tablets now means that the architect isn’t confined to the office at all times.  Instead, they can use mobile workstations to work wherever is suitable, even being on site to make adjustments to plans in real time.  It also allows people to work in more flexible ways, fitting in their work around other aspects of their lives and ensuring a better work-life balance.

Rendering machines

Rendering a design is a big part of showcasing what an architect does and this is another area where technology has developed rapidly.  Workflows can allow the creation of high-quality renderings that can head off any number of problems at the planning stage.

Looking ahead

These are a few technologies that are already playing a big part in the world of architecture.  But what new ones are already making their presence felt?

Additive design and manufacture has developed from 3D printing and involves adapting traditional design and manufacture methods to add materials, rather than simply remove them.  This allows the creation of things not previously possible and is also far quicker than existing systems.

Integrating functions within architecture elements is another way that technology is making its presence felt.  Tesla founder Elon Musk recently showcased roof slats that incorporate solar panels, allowing roofs to look the same as the rest of the neighbourhood while incorporating the facilities of solar generation.


Technology is already a core part of what the architect does and this shows no sign of changing – if anything, more parts of the role is being done with computers, tablets and other types of tech.  This means that the modern architect must know the basics of the trade but also the many new ways to undertake the tasks that are required.

Author Bio: Stuart Cooke is the Marketing Manager at SpecifiedBy, builder’s merchants providing advice for homeowners and movers around the UK.