I’ve watched this video the other day about prototyping web products. Title says “any” product, though I think that’s a bit of an overstatement. Anyway, the presentation is great and there’s a lot to learn if you are planning on creating your own product, or simply if you are eager to learn. It provides a real world example which the team worked on so you can easily create your own workflow based on this video.
No matter how interesting it was, there was one remark about architecture which caught my attention and made me think.
[The visualizations] are really hand-wavy. The architects will talk to you “Oh yeah, people will just gather in the stairwell and have all these, impromptu conversations and idea sharing across your organization”. It’s total BS, they have no idea if that’s how people do it and most architects build buildings and they never watch how people actually use them. So you get these visualizations where there’s a friendly ghost walking around your office…
And I’m sure it’s true. I’ve studied architecture and worked as an architect for a few years. And we’ve always done it this way - we create space for something and just assume that people will simply use it they way we intended it to be used. I’m sure experienced architects do that as well. And not all of the assumptions pan out.
It got me thinking, is there a way to do something similar to prototyping techniques in architecture before building the whole thing? Sure, you have scaled models for the form and visualizations for the spaces, but building functionality-wise you have to do quite a few assumptions, especially for huge buildings with huge open spaces. Or is there just a big gap in my knowledge of architecture?