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digital architecture

The age of digital transformation in architecture

Kerem Cengiz, MENA Managing Director at architecture firm LWK + PARTNERS , discusses how now, more than ever, architects should lean on technology

Today, more than ever, placing design and architecture high up on the global urban development agenda urges us to utilise technology as a tool to enhance our everyday lives. As the mother of the creative arts and the stage for the perpetuation of human culture, architecture has always sought to be experimental and adapt to change. Clearly, the way that projects are delivered is changing, but so is the way that architectural practices are run.

Adopting digital formats for design activities have been around for decades, LWK + PARTNERS dates back over twenty years now, solving real-world problems offering strong partnerships, digital fluency, and strategic proficiency. Our multidisciplinary platform of design specialties and collaborators forms a trove of knowledge and insight that has led us to many transformational schemes, creating digital twins and piloting projects globally that set the fundamentals of design future, which come into sharp focus in these uncertain global times. The power of data helps us to predict, plan and manage with real-time feedback that mainstream processes making them much more efficient, sustainable and responsive.

Simply digitizing the traditional processes does not work. We seek to harness technologies to do things in a different and more integrated manner, and this is what we believe digital transformation represents. LWK + PARTNERS became a pioneer when it decided to experiment with BIM in 2004, representing a paradigm change throughout the workflow and thinking process.

We face challenges in the process daily, but we persist to develop a single source of understanding for each project for optimal outcomes. In this new (and lasting) digital-first world, tools that just connect us are not sufficient. The paradigm will necessarily be switched from clients passively watching/listening, to clients actively interacting with their projects. Interactive experiences in which customers are put in the driver’s seat help to focus attention, provide true engagement and accurate knowledge, and result in much greater project efficiency, reducing project costs and improving long-term certainty and choice for clients.

Reimagining how you bring people, data and processes together to create value is at the heart of digital transformation. Big data platforms via Common Data Environments, integrate the features and capabilities of numerous data application and utilities within a single solution. Switch from analogue to digital technologies and massive growth of data are some key aspects that will drive the pivot into digital transformation for architecture and infrastructure, delivery and procurement and the management and enhancement of assets long term. It is time for organisations and clients to harness the advantages of big data to eventuate new and better opportunities and outcomes s other sectors have been doing for some time.

LWK + PARTNERS employ its own bespoke Common Data Environment (CDE) and use it as the single platform to integrate, gather, manage and distribute varyingly classified inputs, be they documentation, graphical model and non-graphical data for the project team. This includes all project information created in Building Information Modelling (BIM) or in a conventional data format. Creating this single point source of information enabled smoothly into a collaboration medium, avoids duplication and decreased error

margins significantly in addition to manifesting significant cost savings during construction and facilities and later asset management.

As a business, we have successfully implemented digital transformation strategies on several projects including: Digital Twin of Central Kowloon, Hong Kong Polytechnic University Innovation Tower, Guangzhou –Shenzhen -Hong Kong Express Rail Link, Hong Kong Airport Terminal Expansion and Rolling transformative collaborations out across the MENA Region.

Currently we are actively collaborating closely with the government bodies and significant early adopter stakeholders across the MENA Region, developing and managing the formation of  ‘Digital Twins’ of significant development initiatives that will enable the use of project data to assist the delivery of project programme in addition to full capabilities from 3D to 8D within our CDE that allows full integration of multiple software platforms, classifications and outputs.

We live in a fast-changing world where digital technology is establishing new paradigms of working and challenging perceptions of traditional communication, urbanism and architecture, now is not the time to retreat. Transformative technologies carry considerable value, conveying meaning through digital metaphor to the physical environment and embody cultural understandings by aiding in creating places for all to cherish. LWK + PARTNERS believe that now is the time for bold leadership and active engagement. Projects’ digital transformation to enable true stakeholder and investor engagement and powerfully flexible data is an immediate imperative

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