The Avant Garde of New Design & Technology Synergies

The Avant Garde of New Design & Technology Synergies

As technology forges ahead, and AEC projects become more interesting (and complicated!), it’s increasingly important to understand how we can harness that technology to advance integrated design. DIALOG is leading the conversation about new tech, exploring how computational strategies assist in tying disparate elements together to make the seemingly impossible, possible.

In March, Mark Cichy, DIALOG’s Director of Computation and Research, was invited to participate in “New Design & Technology Synergies”, an event sponsored by the Toronto Society of Architects and moderated by the DFZ (Design Fabrication Zone). The event brought leading thinkers in integrated technology together to discuss how technology bridges boundaries and connects the many aspects of design and architecture. You can watch the event highlights in the video. Below, Mark expands on his answers to the questions that were asked during the panel’s Q&A session.

Mark Cichy speaks at TSA/DFZ hosted panel discussion, New Design & Technology Synergies. L-R: Tom Bessai, Renn Scott, Mark Cichy, Mania Meibodi.

New methods of design demand that our “new practitioners” must be very flexible and open to frequent change. DIALOG is embracing the onset of new methods and young practitioners by bridging the gap between existing knowledge and emerging talent. – Mark Cichy

What are the new methods of design and production?

New methods allow designers to use digital technologies (software, 3d printing, laser cutting, etc.) to explore many different versions of a concept quickly and interactively. The process of moving back and forth between mediums, that are both physical and virtual, reveal connections between designing and making. At DIALOG, we are embracing new design methods and technologies via interdisciplinary networks and teams of people that are inventing new ways to design buildings. We use a combination of existing innovative and custom built tech to develop increasingly complex solutions for our Clients.

Who are the new practitioners and what is their relation to ‘legacy’ designers, engineers, associations?

New methods of design demand that our “new practitioners” must be very flexible and open to frequent change. The elements associated with the design and production are changing very rapidly and so new practitioners are charged with constantly developing interfaces between existing pools of knowledge and how they relate to new methods and technologies. Professional associations are starting to acknowledge this and have initiated roundtables and public forums to provide exposure to their members. DIALOG is embracing the onset of new methods and young practitioners by bridging the gap between existing knowledge and emerging talent established throughout the firm. Innovative ideas and concepts are encouraged and several initiatives and opportunities within the firm encourage the exploration and creation of “disruptive” methods.

What are the Universities doing to engage these changes in design and production?

First and foremost, Universities are investing in equipment and technology. They are encouraging the use of new methods and have made them a crucial component to the delivery and exploration of ideas and design. Ryerson University’s Zone Learning approach is capturing the concepts of agile, entrepreneurial, and iterative development of design ideas via new methods – with many angles and points of view contributing ways to both utilize existing and invent new technologies crossing pools of varying disciplines and expertise. At DIALOG we maintain continual connection with universities and colleges because we believe these reciprocal relationships foster an environment which benefits both our team members, and the young designers we hope we will work with in the future. We recently hosted a six-week architectural studio with in our Toronto offices for Carleton University and could explore design idea with a cohort of 15 passionate students. Additionally, many of our staff bear witness to the rapidly changing environments in the post-secondary world; teaching at some of the world’s most respected institutions such as MIT, Ryerson University and University of Waterloo.

What are the spaces and networks in the city that are emerging within this evolving context?

Professionals and fabricators are developing affiliations that create closer ties between design and production. Associations are recognizing the value of holding and documenting discussions that relate to the development of new methods in design and are encouraging their exploration. Designers are developing and sharing their work, effectively “open sourcing” content so that they can advance methods at a quicker pace. The concept of a sharing economy among design professionals in advancing new methods and technologies at an exponential rate. DIALOG is contributing to and engaging in design space networks in each of the communities in which our Studios are located. Our staff regularly participate in community driven discussions and meetings related to design and technology, they sit on the boards for research driven tech forums (such as DFZ), they even collectively contribute to professionally associated round tables that are published to many members such as OAA. DIALOG encourages these engagements as our mission to actively contribute and enhance our communities requires we maintain involvement at the grass-roots level of innovation.

Do you want to join the discussion? Share your thoughts on the future of technology, computational design, and integration in the comments below!

Mark Cichy presents at the TSA/DFZ hosted event, "New Design & Technology Synergies".
Mark Cichy presents at TSA/DFZ hosted event, New Design & Technology Synergies.


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