There are architects drawings that challenge the feats of engineering, architects drawings that are so wildly creative you wonder how the end construction project will ever work out and then there are architects drawings which challenge the very notion of a building’s purpose – an office come nature reserve probably fits under the latter.
Amazon’s Seattle HQ is undergoing a wild transformation as it expands its offices. Part of this expansion will now feature huge domes which will include greenhouses, akin to tropical rainforests, areas for workers to get back to nature and work in an inspiring and creative space with plants, vines and water features lining the rooms. Plants will be artisanal, specially grown and imported from as far afield as Ecuador and Namibia. Treehouses linked by suspension bridges will become meeting spaces in an effort to increase worker productivity.
Whilst we sit back and marvel at such an original and inspiring concept it also leads us on to beg the question of where exactly is modern construction going to take us?
As companies are ever facing challenges to increase worker productivity as well as ensuring a work-life balance, ever more exuberant plans begin to take seed, architects plans will continue to reflect this. But the real challenge is how we make these dreams a reality. How do we as CAD draughtsmen take one person’s creativity and construct it into a workable plan of action. How do we develop a glass structure perfectly tempered to ensure optimum temperatures for a rainforest? How do we construct hovering treehouse canopies within this glass dome?
As is usually the case with some careful detailing it works itself out in the end, but crucially we have to look to how technology will shape the future of construction. The reluctance of the industry to diversify and the slow-uptake of incorporating technology into the initial planning stage means that it is only now in 2016 that we are adopting BIM. But if construction is to keep up with the demands of a forward-looking society then more has to be done.
Ideas are only going to become more brilliant, spectacular and challenging and if we remain reluctant in our approach to incorporating new technological tools then the industry is only going to continue to lag behind, leaving beautiful glass forest projects shattered.