Architectural Technology

Future High-Speed Rail Between Rochester and Minneapolis

Zip Rail


Zip Rail


Each quarter, the American Institute of Architects published the ABI or Architectural Billing Index which tracks the amount of work that architects around the country are billing out.  Historically, the ABI has served as a great economic indicator for the building industry, and the entire economy.  Since the architect is the beginning of any building project, the changes in the ABI can show us where the building industry will be in 6-18 months.

In 2007, the ABI started to plummet sharply, one year before the building industry started to fall and the Great Recession began.  From then, until last August, the ABI has remained low.  Now, the ABI is as strong as it’s been in nearly three years.

An even more promising discovery in the last quarter was the significant number of firms looking to hire, but unable to find qualified applicants.  With the rapidly evolving technologies like Building Integrated Management, Archviz, rapid prototyping, and parametric modeling, the field of available employees with these skillsets is very small.

At DCTC, this is our pedagogical focus, creating qualified applicants with a broad ranges of skills in all the most relevant and emerging technologies that are in the highest demand in the architectural profession.

Read more about the strong, current growth in the architecture profession here.

Learn more about the ABI as an economic indicator here.



One of the many technological revolutions in architecture today is the capacity for rapid prototyping through a seamless integration of design software and manufacturing.  In year two, we explore the capabilities and possibilities of Rhino, a parametric modeller that produces files which can be digitally sent to 3d printers, laser cutters, CNC routers, and other digital fabrication devices.

To learn more about digital fabrication and the impact it’s having on the professions of architecture and industrial design, check out the wikipedia page



In the second year of your architectural technology experience at DCTC, you will unleash the power of Vray, an incredibly realistic rendering engine.  Architectural visualization, or archviz, is a rapidly emerging industry.  Photographers, graphic artists, architects and even painters have delved deep into its possibilities with extraordinary results.  What used to take a team of people and a room of computers can now be quickly and effectively accomplished by one person.

Archviz is rapidly becoming a valuable and desired skillset in the architectural community with a great range of professional possibilities beyond it.  To see some of the world’s best, check out Peter Guthrie, Bertrand Benoit, and the blog of Ronen Bekerman.

USGBC Student Chapter


Is It Really Green?

Is it Green?

Starbucks’ LEED certified drive-through coffee shop in Colorado makes one wonder if it is truly “green”.  On the surface it would appear to be a good example of sustainable building since it is built from reclaimed materials sourced from within a 500-mile radius of the building’s location. But it is in a location that encourages the use of cars which seems to contradict the intention to be green.

“The green building boom has evolved to the point where questioning whether or not to retrofit the ideas behind these buildings rather than simply the structures themselves has come into play.

Green building is about much more than energy efficiency or renewable energy. It is about promoting a an ideology and lifestyle process, and that is not something that can simply be squeezed into the mold of every traditional mainstream construct.”

By Emily D’Alterio

Tower Concept for Nantes, France‎

The tower will have stainless steel tubes running along the facade  for the plants to grow in. The plant varieties that were selected for the project naturally have the ability to grow in rocky crevices, which the narrow tubes will simulate. An experiment to see how well the plants thrive in the design has been in progress. With little water  consumption, the results indicate that they have been growing remarkably well .

The base of the tower will have retail stores, offices and parking. The rest of the tower will be for residential housing, which has a plan to include elliptical balconies that shift. The design was introduced by the French architect, Edouard François.

Starbucks Shipping Container

A different kind of Starbucks opened in Tukwila, Washington. The building is made out of shipping containers; three of the containers are 40′ long, and one is 20′ long.

Not only was this a decision to be green, but it also served the purpose of using containers in the design, which deliver their coffees and teas from other countries.

Rainwater is collected from the roof and used for the landscape around the building. The plants that were used require less water, as well.

There is outdoor seating, a drive thru, and a walk to window. No indoor seating was provided.

This is not only a step toward the green motion for the company, but it is also an inspiration for other businesses as well.

Amazing Pictures

Wow.  I can’t imagine how many shots it took to make this.  A lot of folks might think it is time lapse, but it is individual pictures stitched together!

DCTC is Focus of Design Competition

Natural Talent Design Competition

The 2012 challenge calls for designing a Sustainable Learning Center
in Rosemount, Minnesota on the Dakota County Technical College campus.
This new Sustainable Learning Center will act as a gathering place to
educate and enlighten students and community members about sustainable
design and technology. It is intended to be a working demonstration of a
net zero energy, innovative/low water use, zero waste, zero emissions

I look forward to being on the panel of judges.