Emerging collaborative design platforms and the future of architectural education and practice

  • YEAR
    Morgan, Tristan
    2022 Conference Papers
    Conference Papers


In 2017, Susskind and Susskind said that the future of the professions would move beyond the comfort of routine task automation and towards transformative re-configuration with an increased focus on demystification, democratization, and decomposition. At the same time, the rise of digital ‘superusers’, highlights the critical role of transdisciplinarity if the design professions are to be equipped to contribute to solving complex global challenges – wicked problems – such as climate change and resource scarcity.

Collaborative digital platforms, typically accessed via web-based interfaces and enhancing, rather than replacing, existing digital toolboxes, have emerged as catalysts of this transformation, at once democratizing access to specialist knowledge, whilst also providing users with toolsets that enable them to embed their own knowledge and experience within the platforms. This is different to the neo-materialist and parametricism-driven concerns of the first and second digital turns, where the focus was often on embedding material and crowd behaviours into modelling software. A focus on user interface and experience supports demystification of professional knowledge. Non-specialists can operate the tools and extract their own insights from large spatial datasets autonomously. Such affordances indicate an emergent future where traditional professions are decomposed into their constituent parts, re-configured into platform components that are accessed on-demand by professionals.

This paper identifies a future construction industry that is increasingly systematised, enabling cross-organisational collaborative practice and discusses these emerging platforms within the context of a continuing teaching project at an urban scale, demonstrating impact on design methods and outcomes.

Keywords: Transdisciplinarity, Digital Technology, Zero Carbon, Collaboration.


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