Xi'an Jiaotong-Liverpool University, Suzhou, China, 5-8 April 2017
Data structures and network protocols now integrate operations of entire industries, and digital workflows encompass virtually all stages of architectural production. Buildings and the processes they undergo are represented by digital building information models, which are shared across disciplines to generate options and support decisions before they are committed to built form.
Yet, there are limits to the reach of digital modeling and predictability. The tools and frameworks within which building information models are created and used, are themselves subject to constraints and forces similar to those that impede architectural production and maintenance, including technical glitches, noise, error, versioning and compatibility issues, limits to quantifiability, questions of cost effectiveness, incomplete “information”, and challenges of interpretation and negotiation. The question arises whether more powerful tools resolve challenges, or whether, in doing so, they encourage us to venture deeper into territories where yet more challenges are encountered?
However, our field of computer-aided architectural design engages also that which cannot, or cannot yet, be readily described or modelled. We thus negotiate the reach of formal representation, deepening appreciations of human agency and creativity and laying foundations for industry-transforming technologies.