“We don’t need the Greeks to tell us about architecture, we can tell each other about architecture,” says Marc Kushner, co-founder of Architizer. “Buildings don’t just reflect our society, they shape our society.”
Kushner is referencing the innovations in technology that the 21st century has to offer. Everything we do these days is accessible, digital. This changes the way the architecture and design industry operates. Where once, you only had access to buildings to which you could walk, people can now see designs thousands of miles away with a click of a mouse or a scroll of an Instagram feed. “We are living on the verge of the greatest revolution in architecture since the invention of steel,” Kushner says. “It’s a media revolution.”
This evolution into a revolution is said to have begun in 1997, when architect Frank Gehry designed a little building called the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao in Spain. Since then, public attraction to shocking designs has been growing.
“Tourism in Bilbao increased by 25,000 percent after this building was completed … [This was] a rare moment when critics, academics and general public were completely united,” says Kushner.
In the age of the smartphone, Kushner says, “The building becomes disembodied from the site … The speed of communication has finally caught up to the speed of architecture.”
That idea came to life for Kushner when his firm started to plan a new design to replace a building that had burned down on Fire Island in New York. “We proposed a building that was audacious, that was different,” he says, “something the community had never seen before.” As plans moved forward, his client and his co-designers were apprehensive, all worried the building would be rejected by the community. “So we created a series of photorealistic renderings,” Kushner says, “and we put them on Facebook, and we put them onto Instagram … so when it was built, and the rendering looked exactly like the finished product, it was already a part of the community.”
The firm’s rendering (top) and the finished product (below) of the Fire Island Pavillion
Instagram photos and Facebook comments gave the public ownership of the building. In the age of renderings and future visualizations, clients – and communities, in Kushner’s case – are able to see designs weeks, months and maybe even years before they come to life. In the present day mentality of “I-need-this-right-now,” this technology is very important to the design industry.
Kushner’s TED Talk took place in the Vancouver Convention Center. Designer David Rockwell relied on Shaw Hospitality Group for the carpet for the design. On the floor is “Crease” from the Layered Luxe Collection, which was designed in collaboration with Rockwell himself.
Images: Wikipedia, ArchDaly