The concept of the digital twin is a tenet of digitalization across fields and has been gaining popularity in digital construction and architecture as well. Yet, as with any new terminology, there is still ambiguity when it comes to defining what a digital twin is, how one should be constructed, and most importantly, where it can be useful. In this chapter, through a systematic review of the literature of 113 research papers, we map and summarize the state of the art of digital twins in architecture. Our findings show that digital twins are an ecology of practices and understandings and the notion means different things for the different fields that make up architecture. We contribute with a map of this ecology that shows the studies on two axes: space (the scale of the twin - ranging from building element to city scale) and time (moment in a building’s life). We then discuss how no matter how accurate, digital twins will never be twins, how twins need to engage critically with data and conceptually consider the infrastructures of data storage and processing they make use of as well as the life-span of a twin and how it correlates to that of its physical counterpart.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationHandbook of Digital Twins
EditorsZhihan Lv
PublisherCRC Press
Publication statusAccepted/In press - Apr 2024


  • Digital Twin
  • Architecture
  • Technology
  • Architectural Theory
  • Computational design
  • Digital construction


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