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May 6, 2014

The Changing Landscape of Architecture + Technology

You may remember a while back that we shared a blog post about how Surface Pro and technology are changing the architecture profession more than ever before. Surface Pro 2 and Surface Pro have the ability and power to run programs like Autodesk’s Revit, AutoCAD, Rhino 3D and even parametric modeling using applications such as CATIA 3DS by Dassault; because of this, architects, construction site managers, developers and engineers can all collaborate and complete their work on the go in real time. An architect who’s using Surface Pro 2 doesn’t replace their rendering machine in the office, and doesn’t have to lug around a 15 pound binder of blue prints to their construction site. They don’t need to make paper edits and then spend hours back at their desk digitizing their notes and making changes to building models. By using Surface Pro 2 with a pressure sensitive stylus and having all the same programs they have at their disposal in the studio they can be productive – anytime, anywhere.  Whether it’s on the hood of a truck or on a plane to a customer meeting, today’s architects using Surface Pro 2 have all the tools they need right at their fingertips.

Microsoft Surface is a proud sponsor of this year’s A+ Awards

Today, I want to share with you the first in a series of posts that present the finalists of the Architecture + Technology category. Each of these projects showcases how the changing landscape of architecture is driven by changes in technology.

At 468 meters tall, Chengdu Greenland Tower will produce the southwestern China region’s tallest building and the fourth tallest in the nation. It is located in the center of Chengdu’s booming Dongcun district.


Its design was inspired by the unique ice mountain topography around Chengdu, which symbolizes the city’s growth and promising future. Like the mountain ridges reflecting the light of the sky and the valleys reflecting light from the earth, the iconic tower will perform as a light sculpture to diffuse light from 360 degrees, creating a connection between sky and earth.


The design for the complex—including the main tower, two small towers and six-story podium interprets and integrates Chengdu’s urban structure, local culture and Chinese traditional feng shui theory in a modern form. Since this skyscraper is located in an area of high seismic activity, its design is multifaceted and the execution requires the latest in parametric modeling and building technologies.


When we think about the many factors that influence the design and material decisions made by the architectural team and engineers in designing the Chengdu Greenland Tower, we draw parallels to our own engineering team working on the Surface device family.  From material decisions, to design, usability, and interface considerations – using the right process, workflow, and supporting technologies is critical.


Last month we connected our lead designer, Ralf Groene with the team at Architizer to talk about the Surface design process. You can check out the full story here.