The Future of Building is Now

CENTERBROOK, Conn. – The recent “Visionaries Forum” held in New Haven brought together architects and construction firms along with their clients and academics to discuss the implications of rapidly changing technologies on the building industry.

“I think the presentations and discussions opened some eyes and minds, not so much about how far we have come with 3D building modeling and other technologies, but also how far we have to go,” said Steven Haines, Centerbrook Director of Information Technology.

“Communications and computing technology is expanding exponentially, and changing almost everything we do and how various building team members interact.”

Centerbrook was a sponsor of the forum, and Haines was one of its organizers.

Some two hundred participants explored these issues of technology, design and building with five presenters, including: Barbara White Bryson, Associate Vice President for Facilities at Rice University; Philip Bernstein, who is an architect, Vice President of Autodesk, and Associate Professor at Yale University; and Richard Swett, former U.S. Congressman and Ambassador and current CEO of Climate Prosperity Enterprise Solutions.

The presentations focused on how the ability to quickly generate enormous data sets and comprehensive design models – and then transmit that complex information via ever more sophisticated mobile communications devices and social media – was transforming not only the design/build process but changing the fundamental relationships between all involved in the building industry.

One speaker played a time-lapsed video of a 30-story structure in China being erected in only 15 days, dramatized the potential of “integrated project delivery:” when building team members use and share 3D building information modeling (BIM) to efficiently design and construct a building. The American version of massive modular construction was explored by Anthony Colonna, National Director of Skanska USA Building. His firm is building the first modular skyscraper in this country, the 32-story Atlantic Yards B2 Tower in New York City.