by Lira Luis, FRIBA, AIA, NCARB, CeM, LEED AP BD+C
As the US House of Representatives announced today (March 7th) that they are "preparing to allow staff to telework as concerns grow over the global coronavirus outbreak" I have been amplifying the benefits of teleworking for the architecture industry beyond a "Virtual Practice" into a "Virtual Practice on Blockchain Technology".
Last year at the 2019 Chicago Build conference, I underscored the importance of making your practice relevant to accommodate a Virtual Practice on Blockchain Technology. In light of the coronavirus pandemic (within the physical workplace), the virtual workspace -- in other words the ability for remote work, is now inevitable. And as public entities such as the US House of Representatives and private entities such as Amazon, Google, Facebook, and Microsoft, etc. have asked their staff to work remotely, I have been sharing the benefits of a Virtual Practice to the architecture industry since 2017 at the Chicago Architecture Biennial, in preparation for extraordinary economic events -- in our current global situation, a coronavirus-impacted one.
When most public and private sectors switch to remote work, then privacy and trust (2 features at the core of blockchain) will become all the more important in a Virtual Practice. In a coronavirus-impacted economy, you'll be dealing with both biological (coronavirus, for example) and virtual (cyber attack) viruses. This is where the value and difference of a Virtual Practice on Blockchain Technology come into play -- from simply that of a Virtual Practice.
Last year in June, at my presentation in the 2019 American Institute of Architects Conference on Architecture, I gave this prediction:
Global business analysts and executives alike predict that by 2020 -- that’s as soon as next year, more than half of employees will work remotely... Just one more thing: Virtual Practice on Blockchain Technology is applicable and replicable regardless of building type or focus... Are you ready when they become mainstream soon?
So today, in the first quarter of 2020, when the US House of Representatives, including major private companies have adopted remote work to stay on top... that prediction I shared last year? It came true. And it is safe to say, now mainstream.
Here's how to get your practice started or advanced to a Virtual Practice on Blockchain Technology: (Download Cheat Sheet)
My presentation (from 2019 Chicago Build) looked at how blockchain technology can help avoid loss of privacy, data, and accountability including where they add value, in architecture and cities. I bet you’re a bit like me — when I first heard the word “blockchain”, I didn’t know where it could add value to architecture or cities. Most people think the only application of blockchain is through Bitcoin, a kind of cryptocurrency that is difficult to understand. Bitcoin is just a fraction of the by-product of blockchain technology. This presentation discussed how blockchains work and their core limitations — and the systems that now exist on blockchain technology… because most will be integrated into our online interactions sooner than you think. Satoshi Nakamoto, a pseudonym of the person or persons who developed Bitcoin, published a white paper in 2008 that proposed a system for electronic transactions without relying on “trust”. And thus the first blockchain-run database was born for Bitcoin. You can read the white paper in detail at bitcoin.org/
Vladimir Goncharoff, PhD, a five-time recipient of the University of Illinois at Chicago’s (UIC) Silver Circle Award for Excellence in Teaching at Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, said this about my presentation on Virtual Practice on Blockchain Technology:
“I’m a lecturer of electrical computer engineering at University of Illinois in Chicago and what I found very interesting at the conference was Lira’s presentation on blockchain and its use in managing an architectural and building project. From a technical point of view I’m very interested in the algorithms and implementation of blockchain, but here I found a practical use I didn’t know yet, existed. So I’m really excited by that — I’m gonna try out all the three apps that she mentioned in her talk.”
Lira Luis is a 2020 Fellow of the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA). She is principal architect at ALLL/Leapfrog Project, delivers presentations at national conferences named in the "Gold 100 Listing of the world's largest and most successful trade shows” for the past 20 years. She organized and led the AIA national Practice Management’s (PMKC) A’19 session "Virtual Architectural Practice: Alternate Realities for the Emerging Gig Economy" and “Virtual Practices: The Impact of Technology and Transience on New Histories in Practice” partner program at the 2017 Chicago Architecture Biennial, subsequently co-authored a resulting white paper with AIA Trust “An Architect's Guide to Virtual Practice” that reached more than 30,000 AIA members, and moderated the webinar “Virtual Architectural Practice – An Alternate Reality”. At A’16 Conference on Architecture she shared solutions about the gig economy and potential for Virtual Practices in “Rethinking the Workplace: Co-Working Spaces for Architects”. She brings more than 25 years of architecture experience and is emeritus chair of AIA national PMKC. After graduating from the Frank Lloyd Wright School of Architecture (FLWSA), working in firms in the USA and abroad, earning NCARB certification, she runs a Virtual Practice on Blockchain Technology.