12 Questions with Kais Al-Rawi
Welcome to 12 Questions, a Q&A series where we pose the same set of 12 questions to intriguing folks at the intersection of insurance, risk management, commercial real estate, and digital innovation.
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1. What is the most interesting idea you’ve encountered in your world lately?
See my next answer.
2. Where do you think no one is looking right now?
The ability to 3D print buildings from renewable biomaterials. We see many initiatives in the 3D printing realm, some of which are looking at bio-material at a small scale, but rarely on a building scale. The design opportunities within 3D printing are very exciting, and similarly, the ability to use renewable resources is very important, combined with ambitions for our industry to become carbon-neutral and the potential to even be carbon-negative. Technologically, 3D printing is advancing at a steady pace, however, it still faces challenges for implementation, some of which lie within positioning and mobility systems of 3D printers on construction sites.
3. If you had a magic wand, what would you change about your industry?
Transform our delivery methods from 2D to 3D on all projects. We are gradually implementing the use of 3D models as deliverables in projects, however, we face both regulatory and administrative challenges. While there will always be a necessity for 2D documentations at certain stages, 3D deliverables hold the opportunity to bridge many gaps in the project delivery process – we often see contractors recreating models when design teams can be providing high fidelity models that transition to construction without a gap in knowledge transfer.
4. What’s the most rewarding part of what you do?
Working with talented designers, architects, and engineers to solve design challenges of unique and complex projects at various scales, and to then see these projects through construction and realization.
5. What do you envision the next 12 months will bring?
The last 12 months have taught us that anything is possible in both a negative and positive way. I am optimistic that we have a great year ahead of us if we can take the lessons learned, and the positives from the past year, and make our future decisions with resilience in mind.
6. What’s your favorite building?
At the moment, SoFi Stadium. It is a project that exemplifies the architectural ingenuity of our time through many ways from design technology, complexity, coordination, collaboration, and also materials, scale, and systems – ultimately all leading to a fan and visitor experience which is like no other. I’ve had the privilege to be part of this project over six years of my career.
7. Please dispel a myth or misconception about your work.
There is no such thing as a ‘press play’ solution within algorithmic design and parametric workflows in architecture and engineering. The designer’s intervention within these workflows is crucial to successful implementation
8. What are the tools, apps, or gadgets that you just can’t live without?
Rhinoceros 3D and Grasshopper Visual Programming Plugin – our team utilizes them on anything from a quick geometrical study, a workflow, to the development of highly complex, highly detailed 3D models.
9. What’s your biggest pleasant surprise related to remote work?
It’s shown us how we can work effectively and sustainably anywhere in the world.
10. What’s your favorite productivity tip for staying motivated and getting work done?
Diversify the tasks you do in a day and do not spend too much time on a single one – circle back to it if it takes too long.
11. What or who do you read/watch to keep informed?
I enjoy conferences and forums that tie our niche industry around the world, this includes the Façade Tectonics Institute (FTI), International Association for Shell and Spatial Structures (IASS), and Advanced Building Skins (ABS) among others.
12. Please nominate folks who should answer this next.
- Alvin Huang, of Synthesis DNA and USC School of Architecture, for his digital innovation expertise in both design-research practice and education.
- Matthew Fineout, of Smart Architecture, a process and technology-driven architecture firm established by architects and engineers who have worked at the interface of digital technologies and the architecture and construction industry for over thirty years.
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Written by Kais Al-Rawi
Kais focuses primarily on the façades and specialty structures of complex projects at a multitude of scales, ranging from artwork and stadia to airports and museums. His expertise has been leveraged on several high-profile projects in the U.S. He is a licensed Architect in California and holds a Master’s degree in Emergent Technologies and Design from the Architectural Association in London.