Lost in the (point) clouds

Practicing architecture today can feel a lot like practicing how to manipulate software--from CAD to Revit to Rhino to PDF back to Rhino through Grasshopper (for that extra mic-drop moment), out to 3ds Max to render. Compile render elements into Photoshop, link to InDesign (don't forget your grids and the golden ratio and font hierarchies), export to PDF and upload to Dropbox to create a link to include in an Outlook message. Now hit "send" and wait for client feedback so you can go back and do it all over again.

Don't get me wrong, I'm a HUGE fan of software and technology and all the wonderful things it can do for us. The key is to know which software is appropriate for which task, and in which design phase to leverage that quad-core dual CPU NVIDIA RTX 2080ti overlocked monstrosity that's serving as a glorified foot warmer under your desk.


Before we can even consider which software to use for a specific task, we should ask ourselves if we're even ready to distill our designs into bits and bytes and pixels and jpeg's.

Consider this in terms of design limitations--not setbacks and zoning and budgets--actual limitations on what you're able to design. And if you're designing via computer software, that might as well read as what you're able to digitally model.

Even if you are able to digitally model exactly what is in your head--how many missed opportunities for exploration and creativity happen between keystrokes and mouse clicks?