A Road Map to the Future

July 11, 2005

ARCHI-TECH magazine’s tagline used to be “Bridging the gap between design and technology.” Recently, the publisher and I decided to change it to “Where technology meets design.”

The old tagline served us well as a precise description of our mission when the magazine was first published almost a decade ago. But today’s reality is quite different. Our new tagline reflects a crucial change that has gradually taken place: a convergence of the architect, the integrator, and the consultant into a single, efficient design team. What was truly a gap in 1995 has evolved into a partnership that blends the collaborative visions of three professions into a new design paradigm.

As our publisher, Jim Forthofer, recently stated, “Technology is increasingly not simply another layer in a building plan but an integral aspect of any elegant architectural solution.”

Nowhere is that trend more evident than in the subject of this issue - the 2005 ARCHI-TECH AV Awards. You will discover that while no single mix of professionals defines a winning team, architects, systems integrators, and consultants are clearly the dominant players.

The reason for this convergence is simple: Today’s structures are no longer just buildings but immersive machines in which we work and play, shop and learn, worship our deities and maintain our health. These machines not only protect us from the elements, as good buildings have always done; they also monitor our needs, control access to our private and public spaces, efficiently adjust our personal environments for comfort and productivity, and in the case of AV technologies, supply the communication needs that are the virtual bedrock of our information age.

That is why the AV awards are such a good fit with ARCHI-TECH’s mission, which is to share examples of the most innovative and compelling integration of technology into contemporary architectural design. Likewise, the purpose of the ARCHI-TECH AV Awards is to draw attention to the increasing importance of audio and video technologies. The relationship between design and technology is by no means new. From Imhotep’s step pyramid at Sakkara to Frank Gehry’s Guggenheim in Bilbao, architectural masterpieces have always been built on the most advanced technology of an era.

What is different about the new paradigm is that it is increasingly difficult to distinguish a building’s structure from its infrastructure. Walls, floors, ceilings, and even windows are no longer inanimate but alive and surging with digital intelligence. Today’s architecture renders not just floorplans, elevations, and blueprints but a road map to our shared future.

Rob Fixmer

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