7 iPad Apps for Architects and General Contractors: National Architect Week, Day 5

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During National Architect Week, we wanted to take a look at how digital technology is helping the industry go paperless. Although still in its infancy, tablets and compatible applications for the day-to-day work of architects and contractors, are growing.

Ryan Sutton-Gee, CEO of PlanGrid, noted in this TechCrunch article that the tablet is basically the first computer that is truly usable in the field. As a result apps are already starting to be rapidly adopted allowing construction companies to:

  • Say goodbye to blueprints
  • Improve analytics to manage team efficiency in the field
  • Improve communication between the construction team and architect


Below are 7 iPad apps useful for both architects and general contractors interested in transitioning to a paperless workflow.

  • AutoCAD© WS – View and edit DWG files wherever you are on your iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, Android smartphone or tablet with a powerful set of mobile design tools.
  • Bentley Navigator for the iPad – Gives a 360-degree view of 3-D design models. Using iPad’s motion sensors and touch screens, you will not only get panoramic views but also get object properties. For example, you can determine the thickness of the pipe, or its paint color, or the pressure rating.
  • PlanGrid – Store, view, manage and share your blueprints on the iPad.
  • Procore for iPhone and iPad – Includes a punch list tool, photos and daily log.
  • TOTAL for iPad (formerly DaVinci) – The first field app for appraisers on the iPad. Filling out onsite inspection forms is done with a few taps of your finger, and every data gathering screen is completely customizable to fit individual workflow.
  • Construction Punchlist for iPad – Stores plans on the iPad, annotates plans with the touch of a finger, and automatically generates site visit reports and emails reports on the fly.
  • OnSite PlanRoom for iPad – Review and share plans and construction documents, all from the convenience of your iPad.


    Do you have any favorite apps that help you do your job as an architect or contractor? 

    DESIGN CONNECTS – Don’t forget to visit the AIA website for more information about how you can participate in National Architecture Week .

New Materials for Architecture and Design: National Architecture Week, Day 3

We’re always excited about trends and new materials for architecture and design and what more perfect time to highlight some of our favorites than during National Architecture Week?

It seems even the most unrefined technologies find their way into furniture design and manufacturing. New materials can improve the sustainability of a project as well as give it flair. Even finding new uses for natural materials – such as using seaweed for insulation – has become popular in recent years.

Below are a few examples of varying materials, from metals, to glass to fabrics, that you might be able to use in your next project:



Aero is made of flexible sheets of corrugated and anodized aluminum. From Forms + Surfaces.



SentryGlas® by DuPont is a structural glass with ionoplast interlayers. It is hurricane and bomb resistant, and can be made to be “UV-breathable”.

SCHOTT Magira® LightPoints is a light-emitting (LED) laminated glass.

Livingglass embeds organic materials into their glass.

Smart Glass a.k.a. electrochromatic or privacy glass, uses electrical current to control the glass’ opacity. There are a variety of manufacturers to choose from.

Lumisty Film is similar to Smart Glass, except it changes opacity based on the proximity of the viewer. From Glass Film Enterprises.



Translucent Concrete allows light to pass through without compromising structural integrity. Available from LiTraCon. A more recent innovation by Luccon adds optical fibers for even more dramatic effects.

Ductal® Ultra High Performance Concrete made by Lafarge has 6-8x strength of traditional fiber-reinforced concrete for even more creative applications.


External Panels

Parklex Facade are high-density stratified wood panels for external use.

Trespa Meteon are architectural panels for external use.



Knoll Imago Frozen Fabrics combines the strength and flexibility of resin with the translucency, texture, and color of textiles.



Topo 3D by USG can add depth and dimension to ceilings by giving it a topographic look.



Environmental architectural walls by DIRTT are de-mountable and recyclable and their latest innovation, Breathe, incorporates plants into the walls.



Aerogel is 99.8% air, looks like glass, insulates better than mineral wool and is more heat resistant than aluminum. An aerogel  product by Cabot called Lumira is an insulation that can be used in all types of construction projects.

Much like office furniture, the materials used make a difference in the finished look. The talent and expertise come in knowing when and how to use them. In addition to the ones we’ve highlighted above, be sure to check out our Construction Material Pinterest Board as we continue to add to it periodically.

Check out the following great resources to stay on top of the most recent material trends:

Materia – a knowledge centre for developments and innovations in materials, and their applications for architecture and design.

Transmaterial: A Catalog of Materials That Redefine our Physical Environment by Blaine Brownell, Transmaterial 2: An Updated Catalog of Materials That Redefine our Physical Environment by Blaine Brownell, and the Transmaterial website – dedicated to providing information about the latest and most intriguing materials commercially available.

Made Of: New Materials Sourcebook for Architecture and Design by Christiane Sauer

DESIGN CONNECTS – Don’t forget to visit the AIA website for more information about how you can participate in National Architecture Week .

Organic Architecture: National Architecture Week, Day 2

Design connects a structure to its environment and this week we are kicking off National Architecture Week with some of our favorite examples of organic architecture from around the world.

Organic architecture according to Frank Lloyd Wright, is more about symbiosis with the surrounding environment, honest design and a respect for natural materials. While the following examples may not adhere perfectly to Wright’s original definition, we find them all amazing in their own right.


Click larger images below to Pin on Pinterest.


Source: azahner.com via Business Interiors on Pinterest

Source: dezeen.com via Business Interiors on Pinterest

Check out these images and more on the Business Interiors Pinterest page.

DESIGN CONNECTS – Don’t forget to visit the AIA website for more information about how you can participate in National Architecture Week .