Redefining Innovation in The Architectural Practice

“The most significant recent development in the field of architecture is the realization that software processes aren’t simply tools designed by software developers – they can become the very material from which designs are made.”

Suleiman Alhadidi (BVN) and Heather Mitcheltree (University of Melbourne) recently presented their paper entitled “Performative Architectural Practice – Building Collaboration Platforms for Multidisciplinary Architecture Business” at AASA 9th International Conference 2016 – Project to Practice: Innovating Architecture in Sydney.

The paper discusses the changing landscape of architectural practice, the introduction of new design disciplines and the emergence of multidisciplinary architecture business models that are based on design performance.


The discussion covers the recent industry response to computational design and big data.  Such as the above, BVN Residential Development, where the building orientation has been optimized while considering NSW (SEPP 65) guidelines, relating to solar access values for occupants and AECOM’s SSIM modelling system which allows “designers, clients and the public to generate multiple development alternatives and understand the environmental and financial consequences when parameters are varied”.


Above is a view analysis based on contextual data gathered from Circular Quay, Sydney by 3XN & BVN.  Another example of recent designs in the Architecture field that incorporates new digital tools.

The paper highlights a dilemma faced by current practices with regard to effectively combining technology teams within existing project design teams and the opportunities that this shifting paradigm brings.

The paper concludes by tabling a business approach for the ‘new design era’, focused around:

  • Multi-disciplinary bottom-up implementation
  • Pilot re-search projects such as robotics
  • Hybrid practices and the architecture skill set mix required in the future
  • Internal and external collaborations, such as the Sydney Computational Design Group

The following image is an extract from the paper indicating:

  • Traditional architecture business model based on building design
  • Business model based on solution based architectural practice
  • Future business model based on development of extended business disciplines within architectural practice.


The full paper is available for download here.



Suleiman Alhadidi
Senior Computational Designer / Adjunct Senior Lecturer UNSW