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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In 1992-93, in the Department of Architecture of the 'School of Architecture and interior Design' at the University of Cincinnati, a curriculum committee was formed to review and modify the entire architecture curriculum. Since our profession and academia relate directly to each other, the author felt that while revising the curriculum, the committee should have factual information about CAD usage in the industry. Three ways to obtain such information were thought of, namely (1) conducting person to person or telephone interviews with the practitioners (2) requesting firms to give open- ended feed back and (3) surveying firms by sending a questionnaire. Of these three, the most effective, efficient and suitable method to obtain such information was an organized survey through a questionnaire. In mid December 1992, a survey was organized which was sponsored by the School of Architecture and Interior Design, the Center for the Study of the Practice of Architecture (CSPA) and the University Division of Professional Practice, all from the University of Cincinnati.
This chapter focuses on the results of this survey. A brief description of the survey design is also given. In the next section a few surveys organized in recent years are listed. In the third section the design of this survey is presented. The survey questions and their responses are given in the fourth section. The last section presents the conclusions and brief recommendations regarding computer curriculum in architecture.
The majority of architectural programs teach technology topics through content specific courses which appear as an educational sequence within the curriculum. These technology topics have traditionally included structural design, environmental systems, and construction materials and methods. Likewise, that course model has been broadly applied to the teaching of computer aided design, which is identified as a technology topic. Computer technology has resulted in a proliferation of courses which similarly introduce the student to computer graphic and design systems through a traditional course structure.
Inevitably, competition for priority arises within the curriculum, introducing the potential risk that otherwise valuable courses and/or course content will be replaced by the "'newer" technology, and providing fertile ground for faculty and administrative resistance to computerization as traditional courses are pushed aside or seem threatened.
An alternative view is that computer technology is not a "topic", but rather the medium for creating a design (and studio) environment for informed decision making.... deciding what it is we should build. Such a viewpoint urges the development of a curricular structure, through which the impact of computer technology may be understood as that medium for design decision making, as the initial step in addressing the current and future needs of architectural education.
One example of such a program currently in place at the College of Architecture and Planning, Ball State University takes an approach which overlays, like a transparent tissue, the computer aided design content (or a computer emphasis) onto the primary curriculum.
With the exception of a general introductory course at the freshman level, computer instruction and content issues may be addressed effectively within existing studio courses. The level of operational and conceptual proficiency achieved by the student, within an electronic design studio, makes the electronic design environment selfsustaining and maintainable across the entire curriculum. The ability to broadly apply computer aided design to the educational experience can be independent of the availability of many specialized computer aided design faculty.
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