Technology in Architectural Practice (TAP)

The AIASF Technology in Architectural Practice (TAP) Knowledge Community works to inform and advance the understanding of design technology and its impact on the built environment. The committee helps to promote and accelerate digital transformation of AIA’s local communities through dialogue and adoption of technologies enabling new processes and experiences.


4th Wednesday of the month, 12:00 - 1:15 PM PST (hybrid)
Zoom link and any further information will be provided via email by the Chair


Al Dram

Argelia Barcena

Cesar Escalante
Past Chair

Stephanie Tabb


Dave Alpert, FAIA
Meetup Lead

Niknaz Aftahi
Symposium Lead

Past AIASF Design Technology Meet-ups (Virtual)

8/16/2023 | Cyber Security for Architects

Protecting your firm’s data, systems, and people is a critical component of your practice. Every business faces more cyber threats in 2023 than ever before. Working in hybrid and distributed teams means a higher number of risks than the traditional in-office firm. It is of vital importance to (1) establish a clear set of cybersecurity policies and processes with your team and (2) deploy the right tools in order to combat the modern threats all businesses face. In this webinar, we’ll share the key elements of a successful cybersecurity plan for any architecture firm.


3/15/2023 | Empowering Women in BIM: Collaborative Partnerships within a Global Company

In conjunction with the global organization Women in BIM (WIB) and the AIA San Francisco Design Technology Knowledge Community, we bring you a panel discussion focusing on the critically important role these women are playing within a global practice. On Women's History Month, we celebrate their contributions and impact on the profession. With a focus on the importance of collaborative partnerships in order to achieve innovation, consistency, and design delivery excellence. As well as leadership and mentorship, in addition to discussing their successful careers. The panel will share insights into their professional journey, how they learn from each other and empower one another.

2/22/2023 | What's New in Virtual City Models (VCMs)

Virtual City Models (VCMs) are familiar to us through computer games such as Grand Theft Auto. How is this entertainment tech being put to work as a type of digital twin for architects, planners, and municipalities? Having a bespoke VCM of a city like SF to insert proposed design projects into has been a very costly endeavor, so it has long remained the competitive advantage of only a few prominent design firms. What if every designer and planner had easy access to VCMs, democratizing access to this valuable tool? What are the virtual model-making benefits and shortcomings of Unity and Unreal software platforms? How interactive can the models be? What type of data is most valuable to embed in the models? What type of data is most valuable to extract from the models? Who is in the vanguard and what product options already exist?

11/17/2021 | How On-Site AR Helped to Present the Center for Architecture + Design Project

In this collaborative case study, members of the project team for AIASF’s dramatic new home at the Center for Architecture + Design will share the story of their successful use of on-site AR. How was the full-size AR design model created from the architect’s digital design files? How was this model meshed with the existing interior space within the historic Hallidie Building? How was the model viewed? What was the outcome? What does this story tell about how AR can be used today to review and present architectural designs?


10/20/2021 | Early stage planning. Re-imagined.

The use of cloud computing and artificial intelligence in early-stage design enables designers to quickly generate, optimize, and iterate design alternatives, considering a wide range of constraints, including terrain, maps, wind, lighting, traffic, and zoning regulations. Discover how artificial intelligence help architects make more informed design decisions.


9/15/2021| What's New in Construction Tech

Digital construction technology is a growing and invaluable resource for designers as well as builders. Join three experts in construction tech for a lively presentation and discussion focusing on emerging digital tools to improve the construction process.


8/18/2021 | Assembling the Best Design Software Suite for Your Practice

In recent years we’ve seen a trend to use BIM earlier in the design phase. But is BIM really a good design tool? What are the benefits for the design phase? Are sketch style tools available in a BIM solution or would SketchUp still be required? Can I visualize my ideas quickly and in real-time? We invite you to join two technology experts, Tom Simmons, ARCHVISTA/Graphisoft and Sam Anderson, Epic Games, who will review how an Archicad, BIMx and Twinmotion workflow provides firms with a comprehensive design solution. Matt Maneval will then discuss why these solutions are a crucial part of the workflow at Walker Warner Architects including predesign massing, client presentations, architectural development and communicating design intent in construction.


7/21/2021 | New 3D Virtual City Models for Urban Context

Site context has always been a major consideration in the design and approval of architecture projects. Until recently, large-scale 3D models of the urban context were generally available to only a few large design firms, and they were typically restricted to in-house use. Technology innovation has now made it possible for any designer to easily insert proposed projects into 3D virtual city models to provide urban context.

How might this impact project design? How might this change the public approval process? Where are these models available and for which cities? What is the future vision for 3D virtual city models? Please join in this interactive presentation and discussion.


6/16/2021 | Technology to Power Hybrid Officing for the Return to Work

Join three diverse experts for a timely presentation and open discussion about the technology issues related to our Return To Work. Although businesses are now reopening, many people will continue to work from home part-time or even full-time. What are the business and technology implications of "hybrid officing", the combination of in-office work and remote work?  What are some of the new design new opportunities? How as architects can we best serve and advise our clients?


5/19/2021 | Experimental Design for Digital Fabrication

Slicelab will cover a few case studies of how one could go from concept to physical when designing specifically for additive manufacturing.


4/21/2021 | BIM-to-Augmented Reality for Instant Virtual Models

Have you ever wished for a way to walk through your design on site (without a headset) and review it completely with your client before anything is built? How about if you could present your projects to city planners and neighborhood groups and eliminate mistrust and misunderstanding? What if you could reduce construction costs, shorten the project schedule, and protect your design from VE with one workflow change? You can now do this and much more with AR! Join an owner-side design and construction leader and some active inventors for an interactive demo and discussion about the latest in BIM-to-AR.


2/17/2021 | Real-Time AEC Design

Communicating a building project is an essential step in the Architectural practice. Producing photorealistic renders requires many hours of highly skilled work and is not always a viable option when deadlines are tight. Vection is building the next CAD / BIM design platform powered by real-time rendering and VR and this event is a unique chance to learn how artists and architects are using these technologies.

Epic Megagrant recipient Daniele Barone is an international designer and shows how he leveraged the Mindesk platform, computational design, and Unreal Engine to create a professional grade movie in a few steps directly from his Rhinoceros architectural project.


2/17/2021 | Using Multiplayer for Remote Design Collaboration

With design teams working from remote locations due to the pandemic, solutions are needed for real-time collaboration. Rotimi Seriki of HOK will share the solutions that HOK has developed. The guys from Geopogo will share their brand new multiplayer solution. Multiplayer follows on the heels of VR, AR, and gaming engines, all adapted from entertainment tech to design tech. Come discover the new big opportunity to advance the design process.


1/20/2021 | Data-Driven Decision Making

Critical decisions must be made throughout a project lifecycle, but oftentimes they are made with little more than the experience held in the collective memory of project teams. Collecting data throughout the project life cycle and building operations can unlock the insights the built world so desperately needs. Technology is being deployed in all phases, but how are we connecting the data to decision making? The answers lie in understanding the connective tissue that transforms the data into information. In this presentation, we will present strategies to utilize at all phases of the building lifecycle so that you can understand and decide on your projects on how to achieve data-driven decision making.


San Francisco Computational Design Institute

Buildings take 40% of our society’s energy budget and create our scenery. Computational architectural tools have been explored and developed for decades. Still, architecture schools don’t teach them and architecture firms don’t practice end to end use of design technology. We are working to improve tools, curricula and proactive to streamline architectural practice to improve the quality of work and reduce the negative impact of buildings.

We are a group of computational designers that meet once a month in San Francisco. The objective of the groups is to foster the exchange of innovative workflow, explore new technologies, share case studies of Computational Design based examples applied to real-world problems, and bring together a pool of local Computational Design users. The main focus is on new technologies and open-source in the Architecture, Engineering and Construction (AEC) industry. Since several game companies, manufactures and bioinformatics are also looking for these skills and expertise we are open to any opportunity to cross-pollinate with different and diverse knowledge of our AEC industry.


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