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How Technology Changed the Designing Process of Architecture
Cherokee High School
W. Clement Stone was correct in stating that “Definiteness of purpose is the starting point of all achievement”. Every part of the physical world has a purpose for existing. This purpose resonates through all forms of art, including architecture, and since early civilization architecture and art have shown the personality, history, and needs of a culture. The very foundation of architecture stems from a need for a structure or building for any given purpose followed by the movement from the theoretical realm of schematics and sketches to the physical realm of the construction along with every step in between. However, the flow of time has changed the way architecture and art have been designed and developed. Considering such alterations, one must consider: how exactly has new technology brought by time affected the art that is architecture?
In order to understand how the designing process changed over time, one must understand where it originated. Some of the most notable designing strategies came from the ancient Greeks and Egyptians. In Grecian design, everything began with a need for a building, for either a temple or theater, and sketches of the structure. The designs focused on symmetry and maintaining balance throughout the entire structure. Each part of the structure was integral to the rest, and because of this Greek designs required many sketches to ensure that design was flawless before any structure was erected. They then built prototype versions of these structures to test the design; this is the process is used on the Parthenon, which “ ... like most structures in this era – [was] based on wooden prototypes, either specifically constructed in miniature for this purpose, or based on existing structures … ” (Walsh, 2015). In ancient Egypt this process of construction was fairly similar. For example the Great Pyramids were constructed with just sketches and a protractor. However, Egyptians made many large prototypes, such as “ … structures at Saqqarah (the ‘Step Pyramid’) and Dahshur (an example of a ‘Rhomboidal Pyramid’)” (Welsh, 2015), before constructing the actual pyramids. These designing processes set the foundation for the first big evolution in architecture, Renaissance architecture.
As the Grecian age drew to a close, the Renaissance age rose from its ashes to become the new front in design. Renaissance architecture culminated the prototyping of the Egyptians and structure of the Greeks.The overall style of this era was so influential, popular, and significant that “ ... many conspiracies abound[ed], stating that Freemasons … hid numbers and meanings in the symbolism of architecture” (Shuttleworth, 2011). This culmination of design processes was so potent in architecture that artist began to apply this strategy to various other forms of art such as sculpting, inventing, and painting. The designing process actually helped some of the great artists, as well as architects, create new and incredible works, such as Da Vinci is one of these artists. Da Vinci went beyond just sketching out his ideas and “is said to have gone beyond mere … drawings to do something that was rare for him ... He built an actual working prototype of a robot” (Walsh, 2015). However in every era of architecture in known history, the designing processes could have been much further refined with the use of modern-day tools and equipment.
From the great pyramids to the wall of China, every ancient wonder in architecture, and all structures beneath, had inefficiencies in their designs and possibly their construction as well. China’s mysterious terra cotta warriors are a tremendous feat, their crafting methods are inefficient in comparison to the methods used today. Modern technology has allowed sculptors to greatly improve upon these errors in construction because “With [this] technology we’re able to create a product on the restoration side that’s even far better that then product that was made 100 plus years ago” (Hasset 2013). These sculptures are using the same designing strategies as every other engineer and designer in the modern world. Technology has allowed prototyping to become considerably easier as to where one no longer has to be an artist in order to create these works of skill and beauty. However the main purpose of architecture has shifted into a more analytical based mindset where the goal of the process is to find the best way to assess a problem rather than making a point through art. This new thought process adds additional steps onto the designing processes, these additional steps include additional drafts or schematics that account for the heating, plumbing, ventilation, electrical, sprinkler, and alarm systems, which must be approved by the appropriate authorities. The once a schematic sketch is completed the architect must make the design sustainable, which means the materials needed are considered for price and quality before moving on with the process. After the project has been completed the final step of analysis is started. Architects look for any problems that occurred within the entire process and any feedback given by the people who funded or commissioned the project.
As time progresses humanity’s very nature forces people to look for ways to improve upon the past and present and learn to create a better future. However humanity is far from perfection, and people have tried to atone for these flaws through technology. Technology greatly improves the preciseness, efficiency, and total cost of the designing process in architecture. However this technology can change the way our society views the world, we no longer view architecture as an art but rather a science, buildings are no longer seen as symbolic and powerful, but rather as a simple solution to a problem or need. This is a far call from the ages past where architecture was meant to be groundbreaking and purposeful. Technology cannot be removed from architecture no more than a stomach from the body, in order for architecture to progress beyond this age humanity once must again learn what it is to design with true purpose.
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HOW TECHNOLOGY CHANGED THE DESIGNING PROCESStep of analysis is started. Architects look for any problems that occurred within the entire process and any feedback given by the people who funded or commissioned the project.