Innovation in Architecture

Innovation in Architecture

Innovation in Architecture

Innovation in Architecture


In this highly original book, through a series of essays, key architects and engineers in Europe, Australia, and the USA describe the ideas and development behind the innovative technology in their chosen projects, with the emphasis being on the means of production and the links between design and the manufacturing process.


If you are innovating, you are dealing with new concepts, ideas and techniques. As an architect you are honour-bound to your client to understand the new and its implications, to do your homework and prepare as well as possible if you intend to question the rules and move architecture forward in some way. Where innovation in architecture occurs there is an implicit requirement for the architect to resort to experimentation, dedicated shepherding, continuous love and care, testing, mocking-up and going back again and again to get things right. Mock-ups are required in order to explain and demonstrate, to learn, refine, tune and to achieve the right overall assembly and performance.

The modern construction industry is now much more spiritually geared to what we at Richard Rogers Partnership (RRP) have been doing as a practice for the last thirty years, placing much more emphasis on manufacturing and prefabrication off the site, rather than on learning on the site. rrp are currently working on the Terminal 5 Project at London's Heathrow Airport, where the basic project design and construction philosophy includes extensive preconstruction development and making and testing mock-ups off site until everything is satisfactory and then assembly only on site. Conceptual and technical innovation is achieved in the factory except for smart erection improvements, which can only happen on site. Assembly on site only confirms the success of the process. Issues of site tolerances still remain but with maximum preconstruction there are vastly fewer major site decisions. This approach to projects contrasts with how architects and builders often worked in the 1960s and 1970s. the construction industry is definitely now less site experimental and more assembly orientated, although many projects of modest scale still don't have the time or resources available for extensive prototyping.

The construction industry is beginning to reflect other industries' skills better than before. It is beginning to be affected by the motor-car industry, the offshore oil industry and the information-management industry. It is also more universal and certainly pan-European, and these factors are conspiring to change the way we think about and design our buildings and about how we can build them more efficiently and effectively. This is certainly true for large-scale projects.

These new experimentation and fabrication attitudes, and also advanced computer-aided design (CAD)-a new creative weapon that cutting-edge designers are using very well-are together allowing the designer to invent, explore and create things that he or she could not countenance ten years ago.

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