Review – Architectural Record – "Apps for Architects"

« Smart phone applications that relate to architecture are on the rise, but they’re not always easy to track down

By C. J. Hughes

Architects cannot design an entire building on a smart phone just yet. But increasingly, there are applications, or “apps,” for Blackberries, iPhones, and other mobile devices that might appeal to architects, and in some cases, enable them to do their job while on the go.

“These are very powerful little computers,” says architect Kent Larson, the director of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s House_n research group, which develops apps, though none specific to designers thus far. “It clearly will be the interface to our world in the future.”

In a sea of some 100,000 apps, finding ones that are relevant to architects isn’t always a cinch. Browsing the “architecture” heading in the iTunes Store, the online marketplace from Apple where most apps are found, for example, yields a hefty 138 offerings.

But some apps, which usually run on iPhones and iPod Touches, but also on mobile devices with an Android operating system, are tangentially related to the profession, like, say, Makayama’s Architecture ($3.99), which profiles landmarks in 270 world cities, or Raza Enterprise’s Free Boston ($.99), which lists free tours at Massachusetts addresses like MIT.

The shopping experience is made more challenging by the fact that some apps are categorized under multiple headings, like Home Interior Layout Design, from MOC Interior Design ($2.99). This app, which lets users situate cabinets and sofas on a floor plan, is found under both “architecture” and “productivity.” Crossover offerings under “utilities,” “education,” and “business” are also common. »

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(Source: Architectural Record)

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