I was watching an interview with a classic rock musician and he was stating the differences between recording music 20 years ago and today. His most surprising comment was that most music is not even played anymore — it is computer generated. I guess I should understand this since two troopers from Star Wars won this year’s Grammy for best record.

We live in a virtual world and technology in this area is advancing at rapid pace. ARW is a creation of the virtual world and webinars often take the place of in-person events.

Architects and designers have always been on the forefront of digital technology. We have moved from handwritten drawings to CADD to 3CD and beyond. I still remember the advent of digital cameras in the mid-90s (they were as big as laptops) and the amazement we had when we started incorporating site detail photographs on the plans. Now we take photos with our phones and instant message them during conversations.

It is possible to design a building and produce plans without ever going to the site. In today’s world we can have project meetings and review as-built conditions without ever going on the site.

The only thing we can’t do virtually is complete the construction. I spent two weeks in Mississippi this last month on a remedial roof project. I was at the site, inspecting the conditions and the workmanship. I was able to touch the final product and discuss the process with the workers. It reminded me that anything can be done on paper (or a computer, phone or note pad screen), but it might not work on the actual site.

The best education a designer can get is by actually inspecting the work and discussing methods with the workers that have to complete the task.

My opinion is that musicians that cannot play the music will not be around long.