The State of the Field…

Unlike many of my IIP Peers, I am here in Berlin persuing an architecture internship. I have find it intriguing to live with so many business majors. I don’t interact with business students on a regular basis back on campus, so this opportunity is providing me with some insight into business as a field of study. I only hope that I can provide some insight into the design and construction industry to them as well.

My small architecture firm is only one part of a very massive, and very old industry. To understand the industry​, some one must have a basic understanding of Product Delivery Methods, basically the steps it take to get a project out of the brain of the client and into the physical world. The processes vary depending on the project. The most widely used PDM, at least in the US, is called Design-Bid-Build. It starts off when and owner hires and architecture firm to design a building. After the design phase, the project goes up for Bid. This means contractors compete with each other to produce the best cost estimate and services to the owner based on the design on the architect​. The contractor is selected and construction begins. Boom. You have a building. This vast simplification of DBB has many variations: Design-Build, CM at Risk, Integrated Design and others. Each of these process takes an extreme level of communication and coordination between companies, each with a different specialty.

Every architecture firm can participate in a project to any extent they choose, or rather to whatever extent the owner wants. My small firm here in Berlin is purely a design firm. Once the design is completed and owner approved, the documents are handed over to be executed by the engineers and contractors.

There are many trends in the design and construction field currently. Cities across the world are competing to have the tallest sky scrapers. LEED, the Living Building Challenge and many other standards are making an impact on the sustainability send of the field. Building Information Modeling, augmented reality and automated construction equipment are all on the verge of becoming common practice. My particular firm is interested mainly in creating buildings and systems that serve a purpose outside of being a structure by using environmental factors, big data and dynamic structures to influence design decisions. Architecture is a fluid field, with new advances and new technology appearing every day