Straddling generation X and Y, I am completely at ease with technology but still manage to struggle with some of the nuances. This morning I found myself facing a fraught decision to buy a book in its electronic form viewable on my computer, phone, and e-reader or in its paperback version whose physical pages can be highlighted, noted, and passed along to a friend or resold. My final decision was based purely on price, and, as it turns out, you really can’t beat the price of a good used book.
In spite of my small morning musings over reading materials, one thing is certain: technology is changing the way we communicate and practice architecture. My fifth year in undergrad, we were given the opportunity to choose the medium we would like to use for our final presentation. Every member of the class chose a medium that included some form of drawing and rendering by hand, because we all knew that it was probably going to be the last opportunity to undertake a project and presentation in such a way. Even at my “young” age in the profession, I am easily outpaced by those who have memorized and programmed keystrokes, saving invaluable time using various different BIM modeling software programs.
So changes the way we communicate, how we get our information, and how we share what interests us. My morning routine, which once involved a paper newspaper and the morning broadcast to get the weather and traffic report, now entails a quick look at my smart phone, which can give me real-time traffic and climate, and can deliver direct to my fingertips the news from hundreds of different local papers. What once was considered water cooler chat is now posted via my friends all over the world to their Facebook walls, and newsletters and emails from my favorite organizations come directly to my phone via RSS feeds on a daily basis. Likewise, online submittals to design competitions and, in some cases, building departments, have diminished the cost of printing and postage, and what once was considered a face-to-face meeting can just as easily be handled by the second video camera on my smart phone or the one built into my laptop computer.
We are no longer at a point where we can debate whether or not these changes are for the better or for the worse, and if we find ourselves sitting on our laurels reminiscing about “the good old days,” we may wake up to find ourselves in the midst of Web 5.0 (btw, most would afree that we are currently well into Web 3.0). With the launch of its new website, the AIACC has just stepped firmly into Web 2.0, which means we have managed to adapt but are still somewhat behind. Those members who have not been able to follow all the references made so far in this article offer a sure sign that, in many ways, the profession is still behind.
In order to communicate the value of architecture outside of the profession, it is essential that we give our members the knowledge and know-how to utilize the necessary technology and tools to be better participants in the world of Web 2.0. The first step is our Why Publish Campaign. The new website is not only a resource for our members, it is the primary interface and communications tool to the public at large. The ability to publish on our website gives our members a safe place to begin to build an online identity while sharing their specialties and expertise.