The benefits and challenges of working live with clients using Technology

— 17 June 2024

William Green Architects enjoy utilising technology to convey designs to our clients and our wider audience on social media. Technology has enabled us to create intricate details within our designs and to review these designs in virtual reality. This process is gratifying for architects, allowing us to understand the journey to built reality in much more depth than in the past.

We are continuously looking to improve the tools we work with and look forward to creating opportunities to explore a greater array of software to create and interrogate beautiful designs. WGA utilises Archicad to produce our CAD information and has always found it to meet our needs as both a drafting and 3D BIM modelling software. Each of our projects is modelled in 3D, with every component of that model having considered properties. This provides us with a comprehensive understanding of the projects we are undertaking. Just as importantly, it also provides our clients with an easy-to-understand medium from which they can base their considered opinions, enabling us to communicate in a dynamic manner that eases and informs the design process. This extends to the wider Design Team and contractors. Creating a BIM model enables us as architects to coordinate, maintain, and manage the multiple layers of data associated with each building project. The model becomes an asset to the project.

We successfully present schemes to clients online, including mood boards, precedent sheets, drawings, and 3D fly-throughs. This is a fantastic way of communicating our ideas and forms an important part of our delivery to our clients. However, we have learned there is a careful art to this. During an online presentation, a great deal of information is conveyed, and as the viewer is slightly distanced by the online aspect, they can tune out quite easily. This can be due to home distractions or a compromised viewing experience on their chosen device. In-house, we present on a large TV, but at home, they may be on a phone or laptop. These are all considerations we have taken on board as mid-presentation we see our clients politely nodding along, looking a little bewildered.

WGA likes to maximise the return on time invested in creating complex models, so we often take them into Twinmotion, a rendering software. From here, we create high-grade images and fly-through reels of our projects. This is both rewarding and liberating as occasionally we get to create designs in a vacuum, devoid of real-world restrictions, and let imagination take centre stage. Regardless of the conception, the resulting images and reels we create do a fantastic job of showcasing our projects.

As good as modelling software, fly-throughs, high-end renders, virtual environments, and online meetings are, in our experience, nothing trumps face-to-face meetings with large-scale drawings laid out on a table or pinned to a wall at certain stages of the project journey. These types of meetings are always successful, as all involved feel empowered to point, comment, and convey their perspectives. They meet, greet, and feel part of a team with a united objective. The side effect challenge we find is conveying to our team, who live in the 3D world, that hardcopy drawings are desirable.

All of us at William Green Architects enjoy bringing these deeply connected solutions to our projects and having like-minded clients who appreciate architecture and share these goals.

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