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This paper is about a theoretical framework of the relationship between digital media and architecture. The objective of the paper is to better understand the nature of change that digital media bring and the ways they affect architecture, leading to a vision of how the profession might be practiced in the future.
Three design models are presented, addressing the design tasks, the types of information used and the interaction among design participants. Digital media are examined with respect to the fundamental nature of their contribution to society in general and architectural practice in particular, concluding that, at an abstract level, the main contribution of digital media is increased speed in the production of analog media. This increase in speed, however, is so large that it presents significant opportunities to greatly improve the way we design, construct and operate buildings.
The three design models are combined into one that facilitates the development of digital applications. The opportunities that digital media present are then described in detail, within the theoretical framework of the new model and a vision is presented for what is possible not only for building design, but for construction and operation as well.
While the vision is based on technologies that are already available, its realization requires significant research and development efforts. Conceptual, technical and strategic challenges to realizing the vision are presented and discussed.