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AluK is proud to have sponsored a recent RIBAJ Roundtable, bringing together representatives of some of the country’s leading architecture firms and construction companies to discuss:
‘To what extent does new technology mean that the age of mass production and homogeneity is over?’

With what RIBAJ describes as a ‘third industrial revolution’ on the horizon, it’s important to consider how this will have an impact on architects, how construction information is created and conveyed, and the way that buildings ‘look’.

Several interesting discussions were inspired by these questions, revealing how the architecture industry feels about its present and its future.

Firstly, the potential of new technology to allow mass customisation and greater variety, as laid out by Nigel Ostine, the roundtable’s chair and project delivery director at Hawkins\Brown, by combining individualisation and efficiency measures, such as the assembly line.

But while every job is different, a few obstacles to fully embracing this new technology were considered: Friedrich Ludewig, founder of Acme Architects, pointed out that ‘architecture and construction is still an incredibly handmade industry’, while Tim Partington, director at Chapman Taylor said: ‘every building we do is essentially a prototype. It responds to context, textuality, the client’s requirements. Architects do not have the luxury to test a product then refine and refine it.’

Dealing with a supply chain that uses a range of different software and approaches is another issue to overcome, although Tom Murphy of David Miller Architects highlighted the potential of BIM, which can ‘cut out so many potentially wasteful processes between design stage and construction on site’.

Murphy also observed BIM’s importance in providing customisation: ‘One of the biggest advantages we have seen with the early implementation of BIM is that it allows you to create bespoke solutions for essentially the same price as a standardised building.’

The discussion was extremely insightful, revealing some interesting thoughts and attitudes; AluK is sponsoring a number of RIBAJ Roundtables throughout the year and we are sure that they will provide some fascinating talking points. Read the full RIBAJ write-up of this Roundtable here.