Anticipating Technology In Design
The importance of technology is undeniable and unavoidable — it’s entrenched in how we live, how we work and how we develop.
Similarly, its dynamic nature is something we can consistently rely on. Constantly developing technology is an exciting and often unpredictable certainty.
So, given this unpredictability and continuous development, how can architects and designers make sure our buildings — our homes, workplaces and public spaces — can keep up?
Change the way we think about it
The first step in ensuring our buildings of today and tomorrow are technologically fit for beyond-tomorrow is changing the rhetoric — from now on, technology must be treated as critical infrastructure.
“Just as we would provide water fountains, food, or other amenities, we have to think about how the infrastructure of these technologies fits...” — Keith N Hampton, Professor, Michigan State University (Department of Media and Information)
Making this change, and thus, truly understanding the impact technology has on our day-to-day lives is how architects and designers can begin to thoughtfully incorporate relevant infrastructure.
Understanding and respecting the fact that technology is ever-changing is crucial in ensuring our spaces are designed today, for tomorrow.
Leave the space
But how exactly do we advance from understanding technology’s importance, to actually anticipating it and ensuring architectural designs work hand-in-hand with it?
Darren Anderson, Director of Strategy and Innovation at the Texas Department of Transportation, states it simply:
“What we can do...is prepare to enable it.”
Preparing to enable technology’s advancement in order to create relevant and long-lasting designs now relies heavily on anticipating one thing, and then leaving room for more.
“The main thing to any sort of future-proofing is to enable a certain allowance of increased capacity. Generosity may seem excessive at the time but in the longer term, it allows for a more sustained future, whether that’s with technology, water or space.” — Stuart Marsland, Principal, Rothelowman
Anticipating the future
We might not know exactly what specific technology booms are coming up in five, 10 or 20 years, but we can certainly use the past’s trajectory to anticipate the future.
Then, we dream even bigger and design buildings with the capacity to sustain those dreams.