An Architect’s Automation Atrophy?
Ladies and gentlemen, technology is preparing to challenge the burgeoning HGTV empire without even lifting a finger.
It’s hard to believe that the age definitively known as the Industrial Revolution (1760-1840) was just the tip of the iceberg of what would come concerning the development of and progress of advanced machinery to be used by humans. And the key phrase in the previous sentence is, “to be used by humans.” In most circumstances, technology is perceived by many to be helpful when it merely assists people. However, with increasing frequency, technology is not merely assisting people, but gradually (and drastically, in some cases) replacing important human actions and interactions.
Example: Instead of talking on the phone or in-person, most of us will text each other. There are some good and bad elements to this communicative tool.
Another Example: Instead of relying solely on our memory to remember a specific occasion, we take a picture and then print that memory to be framed. Nothing wrong with that. In fact, that’s a great way to recall special moments in our lives. Photographs are a powerful reminder of the great things technology can achieve.
The only problem with the latter example is that once we learned and celebrated the benefits of what a printer can do, we opened the future up to printing’s endless possibilities, potentially positive and negative.
This is where architects come into play.
The phenomenon known as HGTV has swept the nation and should be directly (and indirectly) credited with the spike in home construction and renovation. Sparking the curiosity of its viewers, shows like Fixer Upper (Chip and Joanna), Property Brothers (Jonathan Scott and Drew Scott), Love It Or List It (Hilary and David), Flip or Flop (Christina and Tarek) and House Hunters are inspiring people to reconsider what their house can truly be with bursts of creativity as wild as their imaginations allow. Naturally, there were big idea thinking individuals who have been observing this trend. And with these observations came an “a ha” moment that will likely generate a “wow!” reaction.
However, once you get past the impressively efficient and acutely detailed building capabilities of a 3-D printer that prints, well, a house, you might begin to contemplate what this means for construction workers and home builders beyond the blueprint writing architects and the hosts of popular HGTV shows. Because, as the video above shows, there appears to be minimal interference from people throughout this 24-hour printing session.
That’s right, the word “printing” may become commonplace in home construction. Insane.
Consequentially, it seems as if the home printer is not so much assisting people, but replacing people in previously held jobs by, you guessed it, people. Is this how we want technology to evolve in the near future? Of course, this will take substantial time to integrate with lots of red tape, cost and benefit analyses and so forth. The change will not happen in the immediate future, but a seismic shift regarding the role of the architect and home builders will likely occur within 20 years. The fact that a 3-D printer constructed a home in 24 hours in 2017 is incredible.
Only time will tell as to whether this 3-D printing of a home will be an assisting or replacing technology. In the meantime, a key dilemma for architects and home builders in the future is going to be trying to explain why home renovations continue to take so long…
Upon deeper thought, home owners may be perfectly content with the option of replacing those
garbage “unforeseen and uncontrollable” timeline excuses by feet-dragging contractors with a 3-D printer that can just be, simply put, turned on.