8 Ways Architecture has changed in 80 Years

In the celebration of our 80th year, we’re also celebrating the changes to the architecture industry in the last 80 years!

1. Hand drawings to computerized drawings
80 years ago, even 30 years ago… it was pencil to paper. And don’t forget your straight edge! Everything was drawn and measured by hand. Now, we ‘draw’ in computer programs such as REVIT in a fraction of the time and with greater accuracy.

2. Say good-bye to the electric eraser 
At the time of its debut on the market, the electric eraser was the bees-knees in the architecture world. Now, it’s more of a fond memory to the ‘good-ol-days’ as we ctrl+z on computers.

Electric eraser and accessories

3. Blue prints are no longer blue
Before computers, drawings were copied by a blue print machine and the smell of ammonia was part of the job. That is, if you were lucky enough to have access to a blue print machine. If drawings were sent out for print and it took a week to get them back. Now, printing is condensed down to an afternoon.

4. No more endless file boxes full of papers 
All communication for jobs used to be in person, on the phone or through good ol’ fashion snail mail. Now, project management is all done through digital platforms that hold plans, memos, RFIs, contracts and punch lists. And the best part is, it’s all in one platform, but on any screen. We still meet in person and pick up a phone, but there’s a lot less paper involved.

Construction management programs integrate onto any device

5. Looking at all disciplines in one model before a shovel is in the ground  
Gone are the days looking at a paper drawings flopped on a table top on-site while all the different disciplines are coming together during construction. We now look at a three dimensional building image on a big screen TV before there is a shovel in the ground. This Building Information Modeling (or BIM) has the ability to integrate all the building systems into one graphic model and visualize it in real time.  It not only streamlines our process to make sure all the pieces fit before construction starts, but it’s also a great design tool for Owners to better understand their building.

Example of a BIM model

6. Reach as a firm has expanded beyond office location
Before the days of the internet, generally, where you had an office location was the region your firm worked in. Now, even small to midsize firms have the ability to respond to proposals across the country. Creation of the internet, and advances in technology such as communication tools and file sharing have made a firm’s reach much further

7. Colored pencils to 3D modeled renderings 
Drawing a rendering of a building for a client is a true art form. One that used to be done by hand, either with colored pencils or watercolors. Thanks to programs such as Lumion, we can now, make a rendering that looks as realistic as a photo. Same art form, different medium.

Lumion rendering of St. Louis County Government Services Center in Virginia, MN

8. Two words… Virtual. Reality.
One of the greatest joys for an architect or an interior designer is to bring a client’s vision to life. Before Virtual Reality (VR), it would take a bit more imagination coupled with drawings, material boards and floor plans. Now, with the use of VR, we can literally walk a client through their project. Room by room. They can stand inside their project before it is built, and that is a different level of excitement that we love to see.