The Military’s Latest Architectural Tool

Military commanders and architects are, in one key respect, on the opposite ends of the same spectrum.

Some have said that warfare is all about creating and destroying infrastructure: all the systems that make the opponent’s civilization function. This means bridges, power plants, airports, communications, etc. An army may destroy a bridge over a river only to see its opponents rapidly construct a pontoon bridge replacement.

While this is a very narrow way of looking at war, it certainly holds some truth. Where do architects fit in? Architecture is the final link of the infrastructure chain: buildings plug into all the all the water, electricity, transportation, food, and communications systems we operate. While an architect figures out how a building will fulfill social, economic, and cultural functions, a general will figure out how to most rapidly destroy or protect the infrastructure underneath it.

I’m always reminded of this dichotomy whenever I see a military tool with immediate architectural applications. Both architects and generals benefit from rapidly understanding a landscape, whether its for battles or buildings. The U.S. Army recently revealed its ARES prototype, an augmented reality tool that can rapidly digitize and visualize a miniature landscape. Read on to see what architects could do with this tool and how it highlights the difference between an architect and a general.

Link to the Article

Top Image: The ARES, via youtube.

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