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Have Computers Made Architects Less Disciplined?

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Architectural sketch by Vasiliy Polenov

Architectural sketch by Vasiliy Polenov.

We generally assume that technological advances save time, boost efficiency, increase productivity, and so on. Once we get used to the latest conveniences, we can't imagine life without them. I've been writing a book chronicling a building designed and built in the mid-1970s. During one of my interviews, an architect involved in the project reminded me that this was a time before faxes, cell phones, color Xeroxes, personal computers, and PowerPoint. The cumbersome and slow production of drawings and reports required extensive preparation—hurried changes were difficult if not impossible. Such working methods required what he described as "tremendous discipline and rigor of thought."

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