In the innovatively demanding field of architecture, complementary technology is just what architectural firms needs in bring to life ideas that will compete with some of the world-class architectural structures and designs today. ARCA Unlimited is one such firm and LG has taken the opportunity of letting ARCA Unlimited put some of its newest screen technology to the test.
ARCA Unlimited is a multidisciplinary South African design firm, specialising in architecture, interior design and brand interpretation. They take pride in the fact that their business is structured to be adaptable and flexible enough to meet the needs of diverse clients, from the clean lines of the Mercedes Benz Financial Services offices to the 50’s styling of Ed’s Diner in Centurion.
At the forefront of the industry in residential, commercial, industrial and interior architecture, ARCA is constantly growing, taking advantage of the newest and most innovative advancements. This is what made them ideal candidates to test-drive the new LG ultra-wide and curved monitors. They wanted to track the impacts and benefits of the product range in terms of providing greater visibility and multitasking capabilities to improve productivity.
Two models from the new range of LG monitors were supplied to the ARCA Unlimited headquarters; the 34″ Class 21:9 UltraWide IPS LED Monitor, provided to Associate Architect Ochert Wasserman, and the 34″ Class 21:9 UltraWide WQHD IPS Thunderbolt Curved LED Monitor, to be used by Architectural Designer Rudo Viljoen.
Both Rudo and Ochert agreed that the first thing they noticed when the screens arrived was how much more space the additional 33 per-cent screen size provided. “Panning and zooming is one thing that we do often during the drawing process,” said Rudo, “and when we saw the screens, we knew we’d be doing a lot less of it.”
He went on to describe how many of the programs that architects use, whether it’s Revit, Lumion, AutoCAD or Photoshop, can cramp the screen with toolbars and settings windows. “But with the UltraWide monitors, you have extra space on both sides of the screen. It’s also especially helpful when you’re working on large drawings that wouldn’t fully fit on a normal screen. Being able to see the entire building means you gain more time to draw, by saving time panning around and zooming in and out,” said Rudo.
In addition, he found the UltraWide monitor to be useful when working on less specialised programs such as Microsoft Excel, because it allowed him to view more cells at once, so he didn’t have to keep panning his view and losing track of columns.
Ochert took time to get used to his UltraWide monitor. “I found myself turning my head back and forth to see the entire screen from one end to the other, while I was still getting used to the extra width.” However, he confirmed he found the wider screens easier to use with time. “I usually work on two screens, and now I only had to work with one.”
Rudo admitted he was quite sceptical about the curved monitor at first, believing it to be more of a marketing gimmick. But he soon realised the benefits of it. “It’s so much more immersive. In fact, I initially found myself leaning back because it was a bit overwhelming.” Still, the more he used it, the more he liked it. “I found it corrects and counteracts much of the distortion you get working with a perspective view when the sides of the building almost start to disappear. It’s great. I couldn’t go back to a normal screen now.”
A solution to split the load
One feature Ochert said would be “particularly useful” is the four screen split function, which allows the user to split the monitor screen up to four times, either into equal parts or by prioritising a particular program or application in a larger section of the screen.
“As an architect, we work on various things, like calculations for building regulations, that our drawing programs cannot do. That means a lot of jumping between tabs and sometimes using an additional screen,” said Rudo. “The split screen removes the need for this, although you do still have the option for a second screen if you want it.”
He also liked the wow-factor that the combination of the UltraWide screen and split function offered, because clients appreciated being able to see the bigger picture on screen.
A host of other helpful features
Besides the greater visibility offered by the UltraWide screen, insight of the curved screen and multi-tasking capabilities of the split screen, ARCA Unlimited sited a number of other useful features. The higher resolution provided greater picture quality, while Freesync eliminated tearing and stuttering that occurs when a graphic card’s frame rate and monitor’s refresh rate differ.
On-Screen Control makes it easier to adjust various settings and the Dual Controller allowed ARCA to work on two PCs at once, with one mouse and keyboard. Then there was the greater viewing angle offered by the IPS screen and colour cloning. However, both architects agreed the size is definitely the standout feature with Rudo elaborating, “Sometimes less is more… but this isn’t one of those times.”
“Overall, our experience with the LG UltraWide and Curved Monitors has been an efficient and effective one. If you are looking for a monitor that addresses your architectural development needs, we would definitely recommend this product as a great investment for your firm.”