We shape our environments, and our environments shape us. As architects it is easy to draw-model new buildings, actually TOO easy. I think we need to be more careful about what and when we agree to draw-model new buildings.

As our populations have grown the number of buildings have also grown. This has generated a growth in traffic, and where buildings are too close to one another, it has also generated a growth in congestion. We are even seeing gridlock in some locations. Given present trends this situation will probably get worse over time.

When computers and the Internet emerged, people began to get together not just in buildings but by online connections, and very quickly some of the stress brought on by traffic was relieved. This release has been so quick that in some instances the anticipated needs for more buildings have been over estimated, sometimes grossly so, resulting in an oversupply of buildings in some locations, but the overall trend appears to be toward increased traffic and increased congestion.

One could argue that these new online connections form a sort of new architecture. We might refer to this as “virtual architecture”, but if it IS architecture one is left to wonder where the architects for this new architecture might be. For example, who were the architects, who designed Amazon, Ebay or Linkedin or many more? People are finding increasing numbers of methods to manage the affairs of their lives online without having to resort to use of “buildings”.

Nevertheless, there are architectural components to these online connections just as surely as there are partitions between rooms in physical buildings. Curiously, while much of the rest of the world is moving aggressively to embrace online connections, architects remain mostly committed to and rooted in physical work spaces, totally setting aside any notion of doing their work online.