This $4.9m Centre will build new architectural manufacturing skills and capacity within Australia’s architectural workforce. It will harness digital sustainability to automate workflows, optimise design processes, develop ways to harness big data in design, and provide the business case for the widespread digitisation of the architectural industry.
The Australian Architecture, Engineering and Construction (AEC) industry is worth over $134 billion a year to the national economy. However, it faces major challenges. The industry has been slow to adapt to advances in architectural computing, including industry-specific applications of Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, Digital Fabrication, and Big-Data analytics. It also consumes natural resources and produces carbon emissions at unsustainable rates. As a result, the industry faces performance and productivity challenges, compromised efficiency, and reduced international competitiveness. A sector-wide digital transformation strategy is essential. The next generation of practitioners urgently needs business-specific, industry-recognised training in advanced technologies.
To tackle these challenges the Australian Research Council (ARC) has awarded UNSW Built Environment $4.9 million to establish the ARC Next-Gen Architectural Manufacturing Centre under the Industrial Transformation Research Program (ITRP).
This new centre will leverage architectural computing discoveries that will connect architectural design with the opportunities afforded by advanced manufacturing systems. The centre will have three research and training streams:
1. Synthesis of creative operational processes and practices in pre-production (R&D/Design): Creating more efficient, reliable and effective software.
2. Management of business processes and commercial models in post-production (sales): Considering new digital Anything as a Service (XaaS) models for influencing what to design and manufacture.
3. Analytics unlocking the potential of architectural data in post-production (service): Using advanced computation to unlock the commercial potential and operational efficiency of existing and new data in CAD, BIM and PM formats.
Centre Director A/Prof M. Hank Haeusler (UNSW Built Environment) and Deputy Director Prof. Jane Burry (Dean of Design and Architecture, University of Swinburne) will lead the Management research theme. Prof. Michael Ostwald (UNSW Built Environment) will lead the Analytics theme and Prof. Mark Burry, AO (Director Smart Cities Research Institute, University of Swinburne) will lead the Synthesis research theme.
The Centre will work alongside major architecture practices and institutes, including Architectus, Bollinger + Grohmann, Cox Architecture, Grimshaw Architects, Mott MacDonald, Tzannes Associates, the Australian Institute of Architects (AIA), The Association of Consulting Architects Australia, Architects Accreditation Council of Australia (AACA) and The Chartered Institute of Architectural Technologists (CIAT).
The outcomes of this research will have a substantial effect on industry. The adoption of advanced computational methods across the architectural profession and service industry is estimated to lead to time and cost savings of up to 15%. In Australia, this would mean an annual operational saving of $900M, equivalent to 6,000 new jobs in the sector.
Other benefits of this improved productivity and efficiency include Australia’s enhanced international competitiveness and new commercial development opportunities for industry, as well as pathways to significantly reduce carbon emissions and waste in the industry. The Centre will also provide new educational offerings, training the next generation of leaders in architectural technology, growing high-value jobs, products, and services capable of export to global markets while supporting Australia’s transition to a knowledge-based economy.
UNSW Built Environment Team
A/Prof M. Hank Haeusler
Prof. Michael Ostwald
Prof. Sisi Zlatanova
Dr. Jack Barton
Dr. Nicole Gardner
Dr. JuHyun Lee
Dr. Mitko Aleksandrov
Bollinger + Grohmann
Australian Institute of Architects (AIA)
The Association of Consulting Architects Australia
Architects Accreditation Council of Australia (AACA)
The Chartered Institute of Architectural Technologists (CIAT)