5 Technological Advancements That Are Creating New Design Possibilities


As an architect, you might use traditional and modern design processes to meet client needs. Technology evolves alongside building projects and your ability to create unique spaces. Here are five technological advancements that make new possibilities for the field.

1. Innovative Recycling

5 Technological Advancements That Are Creating New Design Possibilities

New recycling technologies are enabling the creation of new, energy-efficient construction materials that architects can use to create solid and attractive buildings. 

Enzymatic recycling uses enzymes to break down plastic waste into smaller building blocks called monomers. Manufacturers can reassemble it into a strong plastic material that architects can work into driveways, sidewalks and other concrete structures. Plastic also is in some newer roofing materials and floor tiles. 

Lumber can also benefit from the recycled material. While reclaimed wood isn't new, recycled plastic reinforces it. Wood is a sturdy, natural component but is prone to bugs and water damage. Recycled plastic can create a lumber-like material for decks and floors without those problems. Keeping recycled materials in mind allows architects to lower their budget and add more to their designs. 

2. Digital Twins

The ability to create digital twins is changing the way architects and clients evaluate plans. The technology uses big data to create dynamic virtual replicas of an existing building or structure. Having a twin enables new testing, such as determining how design changes could impact energy use or insulating abilities.

Using a digital twin helps architects plan renovation, and informs designers and builders how they can improve their designs for future projects. As environmental needs and design preferences continue to evolve, digital twins allow firms to stay steps ahead of the changes.

3. Artificial Intelligence

5 Technological Advancements That Are Creating New Design Possibilities

Artificial intelligence replaces much of the manual work usually performed by architects and builders, paving the way for more straightforward design and construction processes. 

AI sensors can monitor soil and weather conditions at a site. Companies can use it to determine the best building designs for each property. Programs can produce various design options based on data the designer inputs. Architects can use the base design as a launching point for their projects. 

Using AI in design — also called generative design — can reduce the time it takes to create an initial model for clients. It offers ideas and concepts a single architect may not consider when tackling a project. Programs like MidJourney or Adobe Firefly allow professional architects to create more designs faster, and they can also be invaluable learning tools for students looking to enter the field.

You can use the programs to input your property specifications, its purpose, design goals, desired materials and budget. Then, use cloud computing to generate numerous ideas for review. 

While some industries fear the impact of AI on employment, architecture has little worry. The programs can provide solid models but require human intervention to tailor them to the client and property needs and bring everything up to code. 

4. Cloud-Based Outsourcing

Cloud computing has made client communication much easier and faster, which can save money. It has also introduced opportunities to outsource roles and tasks to external contractors.

Third parties can support cloud-based data sharing between designers, builders and clients. Everyone has access to vital documents without delays.

People involved in the project can easily miss emails with documents or links. Providing everyone with automatic access to plans can accelerate projects. Users can log directly into the system to pull the information as these services allow designers to password-protect certain documents and let them organize large amounts of data in one location. All that's necessary is an internet connection.

5. New Building Materials

5 Technological Advancements That Are Creating New Design Possibilities

As technology evolves, so do the materials used to create new structures. Thanks to innovative work by various manufacturers, natural materials once unusable for buildings are now viable options.

Beetle-Infested Wood Processing

Lumber is a popular choice for structural and architectural purposes. However, it's an easy target for insects that can destroy its structural integrity. Thus, manufacturers have to double-check the condition of reclaimed and fresh wood, but Hannah is changing that.

The experimental design studio in New York uses technology to solve problems caused by the Emerald Ash Borer — an invasive species across North America. The beetles infiltrate Ash trees, harming the ecosystem and the trees' ability to serve as a functional building material. A new robotic device lets Hannah process the damaged wood into usable lumber for homes and cabins.


Concrete is one of the most unsustainable building materials, but its strength is hard to replicate. Hempcrete could be the solution. A mixture of hemp plant and lime offers the same strength and insulation as traditional concrete while absorbing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.

Hempcrete uses modular blocks, which are faster to build with than concrete. It weighs half as much and has pores that absorb and release water as necessary. The feature makes it excellent for high-humidity environments.


Mycelium is the root structure of fungi. With the proper drying process, it becomes a pliable, water-resistant building material. Architects can play with its natural texture in a raw state.

Manufacturers are working to add mycelium to tile and veneer for various projects. Researching its use on large structures is still underway, but it looks like an excellent green option for designers and builders.

Embracing New Possibilities in Design 

Technology opens new possibilities in building designs, allowing architects to spread their wings and take on more projects. With these tools, you have more opportunities to use your creativity and save time and money. 

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