Prior to that, architects and engineers were pretty much as one, a great example being Marcus Vitruvius Pollio, often cited as the first architect but just as often referred to as the Chief Engineer of the Roman Empire. Vitruvius described the need for architecture to be well built (firmitas), useful in its purpose (utilitas) and beautiful to look at (venustas) – sentiments I think we can all align with today.
In my opinion, the Great Pyramid, which I have been fortunate to study for TV shows, represents the birth of modern architecture. I refer to ‘modern architecture’ as the Great Pyramid is the epitome of a complex three-dimensional design conceived and created using method-led off-site manufacturing and construction techniques – to the extent that even 4500 years later we cannot determine how Hemiunu, its engineer/architect, actually did it.
Fast forward to 2014, which is the year Frank Gehry said, ‘Let me tell you one thing. In this world we are living in, 98% of what gets built and designed today is pure s**t’. Whether you agree with this vulgarity or not, the construction industry needs a shake-up and that shake-up has now arrived. It’s called PropTech or ConTech.
ConTech refers to the digital transformation of the construction industry. With that transformation, two tectonic shifts are about to occur:
- It will become the greatest time in history to be an engineer (that’s an article for another day).
- The master architect will return to rival the feats of Hemiunu and Vitruvius.