In this day and age, the significance of building design should be an apparent thing, but for some reason, people still question its importance. It’s obvious that the physical architecture of a building needs to be carefully thought out in order for it to function properly. Moreover, issues like global warming, energy efficiency, and sustainability have more consequence now, and their solutions need to be integrated into the design beforehand as well. Only when all of these things have been untangled and applied can a building perform its functions properly.
However, it seems that people still undermine the idea of ‘designing.’ They usually have two arguments and these are both based on diverse, ever-changing variables. These are as follows:
- Design cannot dictate the performance of a building because its usability, surroundings, context, and occupants are changing. If this many parameters impact the building to keep changing, how can one single, compact, and stagnant building design solution be enough?
- Since we have many advanced architectural and construction-based technologies now, why not simply equip the buildings with the most advanced ones so that they can automatically respond to the needs of the occupants instead of designing a whole new building system?
These assumptions are totally justified, but they do not lessen the importance of a building designer the least bit. In fact, it only enhances it. One of the major reasons for this can be understood by this simple analogy: you visit a specialist doctor when your body is sick. Well consider your body as biological architecture – the doctor is an expert at fixing it. Similarly, building design also needs a team of experts to fix it – or in many cases; design it from scratch. Need more reasons? Let’s take a look at a few more:
1. Technology has made architecture more complex
Yes, there has been a lot of technological advancement in the field of building design, but instead of making things simpler, it has actually made it more complex. The fact is that technology needs to be integrated into a building. It cannot be haphazardly thrown together in an undersigned shell, or it will definitely fail. In order for it to improve the high performance of a certain space, innovative tech needs to tie in with all the rest of the design elements. An active HVAC system will fail if the building is not properly oriented according to the sun-path. Wind utilization tech will fail if passive wind tunnels aren’t created during the design process.
2. Our need of immediate performance results
While retrofitting green design technologies in existing buildings provides an excellent opportunity to reduce carbon emission, it’s definitely not a fail-safe. There are a lot of other factors to consider in the process; especially the increased concentration of global populace. According to UN, global urbanisation is set to increase by a potential 2.5 bn between now and 2050. Accommodating these people could be difficult if we don’t design new buildings. Therefore, it’s actually imperative to excel at high performance building design quickly and efficiently. This means adapting to this new incrementalism with a fresh mind – and only a well-educated designer can do that.
3. Basic designing will always matter
Passive building designing is still a hot trend for a reason. This is because it still has a huge impact on the overall performance of a building. Studying the sun path and orienting the building accordingly can impact energy costs, and even the form of the building. You can utilise daylight, natural winds, and design windows, doors, and even the roof accordingly. Coupled with an ergonomic choice of materials and active design elements/technologies like glazed windows etc. the overall running costs and foot print of the building can be drastically reduced by 15-25%.
4. Being cognisant of cost issues
While our futuristic utopia has an unlimited supply of awe-inspiring technology, the real world doesn’t work that way. Budget is a very realistic constraint that we need to stretch. Most of the buildings in this world do not actually have the budget for high-performance tech, and this is where the expertise of actual designers comes in handy. They can work around the budget constraints by crafting designs that appreciate the context, are functionally cognisant, are sustainable, and respect the capital trade-offs fully.
5. Software backups
Back in the day, all designers used to have was a drafting board, pencils, and a lot of back-breaking inspiration. However, times have changed, and these days we actually have softwares that can analyze the design performance of a building in real time. This is usually done by an expert mix of cloud computing, interaction designing, and building physics that only building designers understand. By studying the results, they can emulate all the positive results into the actual design process.
So, these 5 reasons are more than enough to assert the importance of building designers in the industry. In fact, it underlines how crucial their role can be in the future. After all, they are the back-bone of the architectural and design world. If anyone can figure out how to smartly integrate high-tech solutions with passive building designing to ensure a more sustainable future, it’s them.