CumInCAD is a Cumulative Index about publications in Computer Aided Architectural Design supported by the sibling associations ACADIA, CAADRIA, eCAADe, SIGraDi, ASCAAD and CAAD futures
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Architects are creative problem solvers, primarily driven by intuition, while coming from a sense of the past and the logic of the present. Our initial attempts at integrating computing into the studio, as evidenced by this collection of papers, is very diverse, based on differing pedagogical assumptions, and the achieving of significantly different results. This would appear to be evidence of a revolutionary approach to the problem rather than a scientific evolutionary approach. Terrific! This is when we as architects are at our best. Although we reach a great number of emphatically dead ends, the successes and discoveries achieved along the way are significant.
The diversity and quality of papers submitted suggest that we are indeed pursuing the task of integration in our typical, individual, intuitive, logical manner. I commend all of the authors who submitted proposals and thank them for expanding the envelope of integration into their personal exploration.
Using color is among the more difficult of traditional studio chores -- it is not difficult on a computer. The manipulation of color can be a simple task if one is given reasonable software and a good graphic computer. Once introduced to students, the techniques for coloring elements on a computer find acceptance as a design tool. Methods can be quickly found for modifying the perception of space and form through the use of colon
Modern architecture is rooted in the study of color as a generator of form. This idea permeated the teachings of its founders. Yet modernist concern for color has over time evolved into a pedagogy of space and form at the exclusion of color, so much so that the modern movement today stands accused by its detractors as being formed in many shades of grey.
Modern architecture is not grey! This paper will illustrate how, using the modern graphic computer, color may be introduced to the studio and discovered as an element of design and as the substance of architectural form giving.
Mathematics and especially geometry have found increasing application in the computer-based design environment of our day. The computer has become the central tool in the modern design environment, replacing the brush, the paints, the pens and pencils of the artist. However, if the artist does not master the internal working of this new tool thoroughly, he can neither develop nor express his creativity. If the designer merely learns how to use a computer-based tool, he risks producing designs that appear to be created by a computer. From this perspective, many design schools have included computer courses, which teach not only the use of application programs but also programming to modify and create computer-based tools.
In the current academic educational structure, different techniques are used to show the interrelationship of design and programming to students. One of the best examples in this area is an application program that attempts to teach the programming logic to design students in a simple way. One of the earliest examples of such programs is the Topdown Programming Shell developed by Mitchell, Liggett and Tan in 1988 . The Topdown system is an educational CAD tool for architectural applications, where students program in Pascal to create architectural objects. Different examples of such educational programs have appeared since then. A recent fine example of these is the book and program called “Design by Number” by John Maeda . In that book, students are led to learn programming by coding in a simple programming language to create various graphical primitives.
However, visual programming is based largely on geometry and one cannot master the use of computer-based tools without a through understanding of the mathematical principles involved. Therefore, in a model for design education, computer-based application and creativity classes should be supported by "mathematics for design" courses. The definition of such a course and its application in the multimedia design program is the subject of this article.
We are left on the horns of a dilemma. The rapid response and exciting images of the computergenerated video environment suggest we are entering an era when architecture itself becomes electronic. The physical built-form recedes in importance, and may even become redundant. But we must also ask: Are we entering a post-computer age? Will we realize the potential profundity of our innate human biocomputers - to the point where we renounce the hard technology of the material for the soft technology of consciousness?
The basic idea is that of top-down design - beginning with a very abstract representation, and elaborating that, in step-by-step fashion, into a complete and detailed representation. The basic operations are real-time parametric variation of designs (using the mouse and slide bar) and substitution of objects. Essentially, then, a knowledge-base in Topdown implements a kind of parametric shape grammar.
The main applications of Topdown are in introductory teaching of CAD, and (since it provides a very quick and easy way for a user to develop detailed geometric models) to provide a uniform front-end for a variety of different applications. The shell, and some example knowledge-bases, are publicly available.
This paper discusses the principles of the Topdown Shell, the implementation of knowledge bases within it, and a variety of practical design applications.
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