Since architecture software is taught in university programs, Charles said the firm’s software choice is largely based on standard academic curriculum. Natoma considers new software based on the designs that interviewees and job candidates include in their application portfolios. If new hires can show that software unlocks new design capabilities, the firm would be open to trying it out.
Cross-functional collaboration tools: Facilitate more and better feedback from the owner, architects, contractors, and engineers on the final design spec. Today, despite the complexity of the spec (a passive PDF that contains somewhere between 1 and 50 CAD files), collaboration and communication between happens over email.
In-context rendering: Today, to illustrate what the building will look like in context and how it will affect the nearby landscape., Natoma hires photographers to take photos of the surrounding area and uses Photoshop to merge the photos with high-fidelity renderings of the building designs. Software could help produce these visualizations by combining the building rendering with satellite imagery.
Distribution for architecture-specific software would most likely have to happen in schools. Architects don't usually Google the software that they need - instead they learn it while they are in school, and then in industry stick to the tools that they are most familiar with. Thus, creating a products that architecture students love and can carry into industry might be the best way for innovation in this sector.