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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The curriculum of the Faculty has been radically revised over the last two years and is now based on the concept of "Problem-Based Learning". The subject matter taught is divided thematically into specific issues that are taught in six week blocks. The vehicles for these blocks are specially selected and adapted case studies prepared by teams of staff members. These provide a focus for integrating specialist subjects around a studio based design theme. In the case of second year this studio is largely computer-based: many drawings are produced by computer and several specially written computer applications are used in association with the specialist inputs.
This paper describes the "block structure" used in second year, giving examples of the special computer programs used, but also raises a number of broader educational issues. Introduction of the block system arose as a method of curriculum integration in response to difficulties emerging from the independent functioning of strong discipline areas in the traditional work groups. The need for a greater level of selfdirected learning was recognised as opposed to the "passive information model" of student learning in which the students are seen as empty vessels to be filled with knowledge - which they are then usually unable to apply in design related contexts in the studio. Furthermore, the value of electives had been questioned: whilst enabling some diversity of choice, they may also be seen as diverting attention and resources from the real problems of teaching architecture.
This process is only delayed by the scarcity of material resources, and by the slowness with which a sufficient number of teachers are adopting these methods.
ECAADE has set out to analyze the state of this issue during its next conference, and it will be discussed from various points of view. From this confrontation of ideas will come, surely, the guidelines for progress in the years to come.
The different sessions will be grouped together following these four themes:
(A.) Multimedia and Course Work / State of the art of the synthesis of graphical and textual information favored by new available multimedia computer programs. Their repercussions on academic programs. (B.) The New Design Studio / Physical characteristics, data concentration and accessibility of a computerized studio can be better approached in a computerized workshop. (C.) How to manage the new education system /
Problems and possibilities raised, from the practical and organizational points of view, of architectural education by the introduction of computers in the classrooms. (D.) CAAI. Formal versus informal structure / How will the traditional teaching structure be affected by the incidence of these new systems in which the access to knowledge and information can be obtained in a random way and guided by personal and subjective criteria.
When trying to understand how designers work, it is tempting to examine design products in order to come up with the principles or norms behind them. The problem with such an approach is that it may lead to a purely syntactical analysis of design artifacts, failing to capture the knowledge of the designer in an explicit way, and ignoring the interaction between the designer and the evolving design. We will present a theory about design activity based on the observation that knowledge is brought into play during a design task by a process of interpretation of the design document. By treating an evolving design in terms of the meanings and rules proper to a given way of seeing, a designer can reduce the complexity of a task by focusing on certain of its aspects, and can manipulate abstract elements in a meaningful way.
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