Why Today’s Architects Build Digital Cities Instead of Scale Models

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Why Today's Architects Build Digital Cities Instead of Scale Models

As the world becomes more urbanized, today’s architects are likely to be working on projects that might be new construction or renovations of existing buildings. Some studies suggest that, at least in the U.S., renovation spending will outstrip new building as we fill these cities to the brim with places to work, live and play.

Either way, today’s architecture projects have to meet the challenges of sustainability, resilience and performance unimaginable when we were building those wood models. The designs have to fit into and connect to all the systems of the city—transportation, energy, views, services, you name it.

The days of the “iconic object” designed despite of, rather than in concert with, its surroundings, are over.

So you can see that scale models, however beautifully made, are hardly up to the job of understanding how a building operates in the context of a city, and city planners are beginning to realize that they, and the architects with whom they collaborate, need more insight. []

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