Designer Spotlight: Jonathan Bartling, AIA, LEED AP BD+C

Jonathan Bartling recently won the 2016 AIA Minnesota Young Architects Award for his leadership in digital design technology. As Director of the Digital Practice Group at HGA, he specializes in leading BIM, Computation, Visualization and Fabrication across the firm's eight design offices.

Since joining HGA as a project architect in 2005, Bartling quickly positioned himself as a leader in emerging technology. He established HGA's first BIM Implementation Manual, led firm-wide BIM training programs, participated in the co-development of the Stanford University Center for Integrated Facilities Engineering (CIFE), and presented BIM training programs at regional and national conferences. Most significantly, he authored the project standards, implementation plan, BIM model setup, protocols, training and hardware/software infrastructure requirements to streamline design processes for the 806,000 square-foot Lucile Packard Children's Hospital (LPCH) Stanford under construction.

Looking forward, Bartling envisions the Digital Practice Group as a multidisciplinary incubator for new tools that support design exploration and documentation. Here, Bartling talks about his interest in digital technology and passion for design excellence. 


Technology is an opportunity to have a profound impact on the profession. From the start of my career, I have been interested in exploring the space where design, technology, sustainability and the human experience converge. I started my career as a designer of single buildings. Now I am designing systems, infrastructure and tools that empower us to enhance the built environment.

Technology has augmented the architecture/engineering/construction (AEC) industry in profound ways over the last decade. Traditionally, architecture was practiced in much the same way for generations. But now the proliferation of digital tools has given us the ability to transcend traditional practice. This has resulted in a monumental paradigm shift in the AEC industry.

We are living in an opportune time where architects are the new change-agents. As design becomes commoditized and specialization becomes the norm, technology is the design differentiator. Leveraging technology, data streams and new processes has moved our profession into the new millennium.


Technology allows us to see beyond what is already there. This is not a new concept for architects, but how we manifest our ideas and translate them into the built environment has been and will continue to be dramatically impacted by technology. We are modeling, simulating and calculating in an effort to respond to our local context. High-performance design is driving aesthetics, and the migration of these ideas ultimately fosters innovation, which is the philosophy behind HGA's Digital Practice Group. Our team is pursuing innovative solutions that include more than just physical buildings. We are focusing on data, interoperability, efficiency and automation--all which leads to a more profound understanding of the built environment and elevate design excellence.


Digital technology is a tool that improves the design process and delivers a positive experience for facility owners. It makes the design process easier, faster, and more cost-effective. By building digital models, owners are able to experience the building as never before, whether through walk-throughs or virtual reality that informs their understanding of the design and potential problems. Technology also enables owners to more precisely target sustainable goals and net zero energy outcomes. Through computational modeling, we are able to test energy performance and modify the design to achieve targeted results. Also, technology is instrumental in building a digital archive that can be leveraged over a building's life-cycle, which accounts for 80 percent of the building cost.


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Topics: Technology