Technology in Architectural Practice

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The AIA Technology in Architectural Practice Knowledge Community (TAP) serves as a resource for AIA members, the profession, and the public in the deployment of computer technology in the practice of architecture. TAP leaders monitor the development of computer technology and its impact on architecture practice and the entire building life cycle, including design, construction, facility management, and retirement or reuse.

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The Case for Open Source

  • 1.  The Case for Open Source

    Posted 7 days ago

    As our industry continues its digital transformation, I've noticed that my firm's reliance on software companies to produce the tools we desire to succeed is increasing. With licensing costs rising, deployments and updates becoming harder to manage and a sense that developers aren't creating tools that meet the specific needs of the architecture industry, it's no wonder some companies are beginning to develop their own software. This begs the question, if the tools being developed are useful to all of us, why are these development efforts siloed?

    I've heard several times that when it comes to intellectual property, it's not the tool that brings competitive advantage, but how you use the tool that makes the difference. If this is truly the case, should our industry look at creating tools that rely on open source resources? This would allow us to not only crowdsource solutions and improvements, but improve interoperability. If data is our new currency, allowing everyone to access information with tools that are available to even the smallest of firms makes sense to me. What are your thoughts?



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    Joel Martineau Assoc. AIA
    Senior Business Solutions Analyst
    Stantec
    Washington DC
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    TAP on-demand courses: includes AI empowering the architect; GANs in a design practice; and The importance of quality data


  • 2.  RE: The Case for Open Source

    Posted 5 days ago
    Open source software flourishes in fields where software programming is a common skill, fields where there are a sufficient number of people able and willing to develop new tools, or push existing tools in directions useful to them and the rest of their field (better interface, additional features, etc.).

    Sadly, that is not the architecture field, although maybe it should be.  You do not need a computer science degree to write small scripts/programs that do useful, practical things in Revit, Rhino, or a variety of other industry tools, so we are talking about an small evolution rather than great revolution of industry skillsets.  To that end, should a software programming course be a requirement for an architecture degree?  And how much are firms today valuing these skills when hiring?

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    Chris Savage Assoc. AIA
    LMN Architects
    Seattle WA
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    TAP on-demand courses: includes AI empowering the architect; GANs in a design practice; and The importance of quality data


  • 3.  RE: The Case for Open Source

    Posted 5 days ago
    Corporate clients need to be more demanding of performance from their software publishers and in turn the publishers need to be more reactive and allow more flexibility with their software. Plugins and support of universal file formats so that users can easily move files and data from application to application are foundational to meeting differing workflows. The tendency of the big players in the sandbox is to say we only want our users to use our products and if coders want to be used by our clientele they must conform to our API. Vote with your money and support the product that allows you to work the way you want to work. Computers are the more flexible component of this process.

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    Dan Wyckoff AIA
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    TAP on-demand courses: includes AI empowering the architect; GANs in a design practice; and The importance of quality data


  • 4.  RE: The Case for Open Source

    Posted 5 days ago
    Edited by Rudolph M. Beuc III AIA 2 days ago

    <<If this is truly the case, should our industry look at creating tools that rely on open source resources?>>

     

    No , the industry should look at supporting efforts that are already in place.

    Some of the tools out there...

      FreeCAD?? - CAD software

        https://www.freecadweb.org/

      Blender - A rendering, modeling, and animation software

        https://www.blender.org/

      BlenderBIM - A BIM addon for Blender

        https://blenderbim.org/

      GIMP - A photo editor

        https://blenderbim.org/

      Inkscape -?? A vector graphice editor

        https://inkscape.org/

      Scribus - Desktop publishing

         https://www.scribus.net/

     

    Thanks,

    Rudy Beuc




    TAP on-demand courses: includes AI empowering the architect; GANs in a design practice; and The importance of quality data


  • 5.  RE: The Case for Open Source

    Posted 2 days ago
    OSARCH.ORG is a great resource for all things related to Open Source software for the AECO industry, including notices of upcoming events.  The community's goals are:  

    "The Open-Source Architecture Community brings together like-minded users and developers who share a common goal: that the built environment can be designed, constructed, operated, and recycled with free/libre and open-source software, with increased transparency, and a more ethical approach. We're creating a place where everyone involved in the built environment's conception and life can meet, inspire and collaborate to develop empowering digital tools." - OSarch.org/about

    All best,

    B

    --
    BRADFORD J. PRESTBO, FAIA, CSI, CDT



    TAP on-demand courses: includes AI empowering the architect; GANs in a design practice; and The importance of quality data


  • 6.  RE: The Case for Open Source

    Posted 4 days ago
    I feel the simplicity of the question - The Case for Open Source ignores practical aspects that prevent its adoption. It is an important question.  I think the answer has more to do with the business model than the technology.

    Open source is wonderful.  I feel it requires customization to the unique need of the application.  Hourly billed jobs do not support the use of open source because the clients will not pay for this customization.  This is where the commercial software companies have value because they've listened to our needs and customized their software to how we can more easily use it.

    The open-source community has flourished because users and creators share their solutions openly and that is the change our community needs to make.  This is not sharing our intellectual property of how we developed the solution, rather, the process so others can find similar or different outcomes.

    Our profession can become more embracing of open source if they can share tool solutions that they've used with the community, like with Blender, or Python,  We've used R Studio and Shiny is one such community.  We all need to help one another so we're not starting a project with the proverbial blank open-source tool.  The community gives others the fruits of their labor.

    One final thought.  So many things are powered by Linux.  It is an important contribution that we can take a page from.
    Lets start sharing more,
    Zig


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    Zigmund Rubel FAIA
    CEO
    A Design+Consulting
    Greenbrae CA
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    TAP on-demand courses: includes AI empowering the architect; GANs in a design practice; and The importance of quality data