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Five Disruptive Thoughts Shared at GRAPHISOFT’S User Conference


The architecture industry has largely escaped dramatic disruption despite a huge influx of new technologies in the building industry. But the expectation is mounting for it to happen.

Architects as a species are risk-adverse, as one participant noted during a Q&A at Marc Kushner’s keynote. Yet, throughout both keynotes held this last week—by BIG firm partner Kai-Uwe Bergmann and Architizer founder and architect, Marc Kushner—participants at this year’s BIMCON event in Las Vegas, seemed glued to what these two architects had to say.

And for good reason.

Both Bergmann’s and Kushner’s talks co-related across numerous themes that impact the way in which architects see themselves and in the value in the work they provide to society and the planet. Set against this context of larger themes, GRAPHISOFT’s users networked and learned in a wide range of sessions, teaching each other as much as informing the company that makes the product they stand behind.

Below are five of the statements that caught my attention—and they didn’t all belong to the two big stars.

Five Disruptive Thoughts, Queries, Or Curiosities


“We told Audi they are the future of designing cities.” — Kai-Uwe Bergmann, Partner, BIG, during his keynote.

Stated during Kai’s keynote talk, BIG is already highly involved with Audi in re-constituting how the German automaker thinks of themselves, not as a car company but a “mobility company.” Innovations such as smart streets made up of new types of surfaces index the type of disruptive innovation that is underway in the consulting work between Audi and BIG.


“Google forced two architects to work together; they hired architects before and did not like the ‘single architect’ approach.” — Kai-Uwe Bergmann, Partner, BIG, during his keynote.

Bergmann explained that Google lives inside an “engineering culture” and in an engineering culture you put 10 engineers into a room and mandate them to solve the problem collectively. “Sure there is ego,” said Bergmann, but it is subservient in engineering culture where getting tough problems solved—period is highly prized. The BIG partner explained that architects can learn much from this type of thinking, implying that the industry needs to award architects for solving truly tough social problems. “There is no XPRIZE for architects,” said Bergmann. 

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