Next week’s TECH+ Forum and Expo at the Line Hotel in Koreatown (Thursday, February 6th) will unite top professionals from the worlds of design, research and tech to consider how multi-industry collaborations might contribute to and shape L.A.’s unique architectural landscape. In advance of the event, and as a conference media sponsor, the LA Forum talked to Susan Kramer, Programming and Events Coordinator for TECH+ and Architect’s Newspaper, about data bombardment and other new realities in the building industry at large, like finding ways to harness the power of emerging platforms towards enhanced operability in practice.

This interview was conducted on January 29, 2020.


Tell us about TECH+ FORUM and EXPO and what attendees might expect at the symposium?

The architects, engineers, designers and construction and real estate professionals who attend TECH+ will hear from a high caliber of leaders from across all these industries in individual presentations and three panels, all taking a deep dive into the lightning-quick changes they’ll need to understand in order to keep their practices relevant and ahead of the curve. Many of the speakers — like Kerenza Harris from Morphosis and SCI-Arc — have a tandem academic career, so are at the forefront of research and design innovations. Several of the presenters have developed their own platforms which create a collaborative and efficient workflow, facilitating creativity in design and conservation of man hours and materials. There will be hands-on demos at the expo adjacent to the forum.

Why is it important for L.A.’s designers to engage in tech-related topics right now in 2020?

With the sea-change washing over the AEC industries, one can’t afford to be a late-adopter. Just in the last couple of years, construction is seeing immediate ROI by utilizing digital surveying tools and specialized BIM platforms, with architects needing to be onboard in order to be in sync. TECH+ shares this knowledge across platforms and industries, creating a dialogue and offering opportunities for new relationships locally, regionally and worldwide.

What group of presenters are you most looking forward to and why?

Our keynote, Dr. Upali Nanda, Director of Research for HKS and professor at University of Michigan, will lay out the groundwork for how we can best utilize all the data we’re being bombarded with, without losing our humanity and purpose. She will explore the links between data, design and experience, and reminds us that whatever is built is in the service of the occupant. (Please see our interview with Dr. Nanda here: And of course the underlying topic today across the board is how architects are responding to climate change, so I am especially looking forward to hearing from our last panel, Reaching for Net Zero with Smart & Responsive Building Materials. There are some real innovators and leaders on this panel — like Doris Sung from USC, Director of Sustainability with Skanska Stacy Smedley, and Kate Diamond of HDR — who are setting the necessary high standards to change the methods and materials we are building with, hopefully to change the world for the better. I find them to be very inspiring, and I think our audience will feel the same.
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