The Possibilities of Touch

New applications make the iPad increasingly useful for architects and designers.


Spark Digital Media


IPad-toting architects now have some exciting ways to use their tablet devices for work, thanks to three recently released applications. The first turns the iPad into an interactive catalog. Arborite’s self-titled program has been “rendering sample chips practically obsolete since 2011,” according to the Canadian producer of high-pressure laminate surfaces. Rendering colors accurately on a digital device is tough enough, but Arborite’s app, designed by Toast Studio, ups the ante by adding textural representation. All of the company’s laminates are available in multiple textures, making for a vast number of possible combinations. Luckily for users, each variant comes with an explanatory Tech Specs menu full of current information.

Spark Digital Media’s New Expression on Housing is an interactive architecture publication that makes use of the tablet’s capabilities to integrate sound, video, and graphics into its updatable format. The editor, Carlos Pedro Sant’Ana, opens the first issue with a guide to New Expression that shows users how to navigate articles, change images, and link to more content on the Web. But the real potential for the app is in the back matter: detailed blueprints and elevations appear for each structure featured in the publication, which alone are worth the cost of the download.

The Morpholio Project, which launched in a beta version last December, breaks new ground with an iPad-as-portfolio application. Created by Jeff Kenoff, Mark Collins, Toru Hasegawa, and Anna Kenoff, Morpholio provides a flexible interface for architects to upload, arrange, and share work, which clients or collaborators can be invited to view and comment on. It tracks the number of views and the length of time users spend on an image, allowing for quantified feedback on projects. The capacity to record voice comments and to submit overlay drawings or response drafts will be added in a forthcoming update. Morpholio is designed for continued expansion, says Anna Kenoff, “flattening space and time, making crowd-sourcing easy and powerful.”

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