Theater Talk
Theater Talk
Theater Talk

Automation for Architecture

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Automation for Architecture

Automation in architecture can empower people to do better work in more sustainable ways. Jeffrey McGrew shares his insights.


Automation is fundamentally changing processes and possibilities in architecture, but that can mean different things depending on what you’re trying to accomplish. It might mean robots assisting humans with dangerous or difficult construction tasks. It might mean laser scanning a spiral staircase, then using automation to design and CNC-mill a custom shelf unit that fits perfectly underneath. Or it might mean using automation to eliminate the redundancy in the construction documentation process, instead opting for real-time 3D walk-throughs for stakeholders or sending designs for large components straight to additive production. As an architect and entrepreneur, Jeffrey McGrew has been exploring the possibilities for automation in architecture for years. He sees the greatest potential not in replacing people with fully automated systems, but rather in using semi-automated systems that empower humans to build more creatively and more sustainably.

About the speaker

Jeffrey McGrew is co-founder of Because We Can, an award-winning design-build architecture studio in Oakland, California. As co-founder and lead architect, his responsibilities for design direction and digital fabrication strategies are balanced with business demands of sales, marketing, and project management. He is also co-founder of, which brings 3D-printed, user-customized designer furniture to the mass market.

Related learning

Ready to learn more about the possibilities for automation in architecture and building design? Check out this related content:

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