We are in danger of letting the computer become the designer and the architect merely the enabler. We will become just like the hand in the drawing process: crucial yet limited (as we cannot draw without it but are restricted by its sensitivity and dexterity), and ultimately without creative control. We move the mouse and input the numbers, checking and editing constantly, and then we step back.

The sterilising effect of digitalising a creative process in this way is much like the conversion of an analogue recording to digital: no matter how high the sample rate, there are still in-between parts which are edited out and, as numbers are rounded up or down, tiny changes are made through necessity and ambiguities are lost. There is no ‘noise’, or ambience, and a key means of expression is gone. 

How can a space be for people if it was designed by a machine? We are more than statistics and parameters. We are emotions and sensations, irrational reactions and affections, fears and sensitivities, prejudiced perceptions. And so a space is more about the feeling of things, and the highest quality rendered perspective of an interior will never show as much as a hastily scrawled concept sketch, the idea anchored by paper before it can evaporate.

Designing should be about the passion of the moment when inspiration hits, with all the mess of intimacy: ink staining your fingers, the pen carving a ridge on your knuckle, smudges and slips sparking new creativity. There is joy in the accidental, as you affect the material and, crucially, it affects you.

Computers are distancing us, taking the fluidity out of design by putting up barriers that block and slow the flood of ideas, pushing architects further and further away from the design: we are losing touch, literally.

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