Paradigm Shift

Daniel Davis – 14 April 2014

If you are in New Zealand, come hear my keynote speech on the future of architectural technology! I’ll be in Tauranga, Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch, and Queenstown from the 9th to 13th of June – you can register for free at

The event is being organised by, which is a company founded by two of my former tutors (and idols), Jon Thompson and Estefania Galinanes-Garcia.

In 2006 I joined Jon and Este at the conception of Productspec (it was still unnamed at that point). One of the first things I did was develop a company roadmap based on how I anticipated architectural technology to evolve. Some of that roadmap has come true, a lot of it hasn’t. Eight years later, my assignment from Jon and Este is essentially unchanged: come to Paradigm Shift and tell us what the profession of architecture will look like in twenty years.

My approach is slightly different this time. There will be no empty futurist projections. There will be no talk of 3d printing on the moon, drones being used in construction, or Google Glass. Rather, I want to base this talk on some informed analysis of current trends. Hopefully this should involve:

  • The technology paradox & the ROI of technology
  • The use of data in the building industry
    • Clients demanding data
    • The new types of data architects will be working with
    • Scripting and BIM as a placeholder for our future use of data
  • The characteristics of firms
    • Outsourcing
    • Whether medium sized firms will exist
    • The gender of future architects
  • Computer programming as a model for architectural practice
    • What this means for education
    • What this means for how we practice
  • The future of architectural discourse and publishing

At the moment it is still pretty loose and ambitious, but June it will hopefully be polished and ambitious. See you there!



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  • Toby 12 June 2014 at 1:30 am

    Hi David,

    I was in attendance at your talk in Wellington tonight and there are a few comments I would like to voice now that I have had time to process what you presented.

    First- It was a well delivered talk, it takes allot of courage to stand and deliver in front of a crowd of your peers.

    Second- A very close look at what your presentation suggests is in order. As it stands now it seems that you have missed the point entirely, as far as designing spaces that people exist in happily.

    Third- Art. It’s THE value added by architects/designers. If your not bringing it your something else.


    • Daniel 27 June 2014 at 9:42 am

      Hi Toby,

      Sorry it took so long to approve your comment, this blog has been swamped by spam recently.

      Anyway, thank you for coming along to the Wellington event! With regards to your three points, I think we probably have some fundamental, and irreconcilable, differences of opinion in what constitutes architecture. In my opinion, there is certainly an artistic aspect to what an architect does, but I don’t see it as the distinguishing characteristic of the profession. At a time when our buildings are still expensive, incredibly risky to construct, environmentally damaging, and often uncomfortable to occupy, it seems like a strangely bourgeois notion to suggest the only value an architect brings is to turn a building into art.

  • Evgeny Shirinyan 23 June 2014 at 8:42 pm

    Looking forward to see any videos from this event.

    • Daniel 27 June 2014 at 9:44 am

      Hi Evgeny, unfortunately the presentation wasn’t recorded due the confidentiality of some of the content. We’ll have to get together one of these days and I can show you what we’ve been up to!

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