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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This paper reports on a SHEFC funded project jointly carried out by the Department of Civil Engineering, University of Paisley, the Mackintosh School of Architecture, and Lamp Software. The project aims to build a computer-assisted learning package on the response of structures to load. The software will be used as an interactive teaching tool for both architectural and engineering students.
The package has three levels: Beginners (Level 1), Intermediate (Level 2) and Advanced (Level 3). The first two levels have been completed after continuous feedback from both institutions. Level 1 is geared towards architectural and engineering students to help them understand structural behaviour of building components, such as deflection. Level 2 is a graphical editor that enables students to draw precisely the structure of their designs, investigate the deflection of structural members and identify areas of tension and compression. Level 3 is a design tool aimed at architectural and civil engineering students where they can design and analyse realistic structures by choosing structural members from a library, and specify materials and multiple loads.
Prior to its final release, the software package was appraised by students from both institutions. Analysis of results from questionnaires revealed that students expressed a great deal of 'satisfaction' with many of its teaching and learning attributes. The outcome of this project will promote and enhance students’ understanding of the response of structures to load; it will also help students grasp the impact of varying building materials and cross sectional properties on the structural form.
The education of architects in the use of computers has lead me to try to
find "the roots of education of architects" in general. A collegue of mine in a
bookshelf of course litterature in Informatics found and put into my hands
"Educating the reflective practitioner" by Donald Schön. It lead to an
interesting process of personal reflection and discussion within our CAAD
We think by the way that the theme of the conference points to the heart of
the message in Donald Schöns book and we are inviting him as a key note
speaker at the Conference.
This paper describes the process of the project and the reflections of the participants. It will discuss problems from the teachers point of view.
1. How do architects currently use CAD systems to produce drawings?
2. What are the effects of current CAD usage on product and performance?
3. What are the possible causes of current CAD usage?
4. What are the capabilities of the CAD medium and how can they be used efficiently?
The above four questions were addressed through the qualitative, quantitative, and cognitive analysis of data collected during an ethnographic study of architects working in their natural environment. The qualitative and quantitative analysis revealed that users missed many opportunities to use strategies that delegated iteration to the computer. The cognitive analysis revealed that missed opportunities to use such delegation strategies caused an increase in execution time, and an increase in errors many of which went undetected leading to the production of inaccurate drawings. These analyses pointed to plausible cognitive and contextual explanations for the inefficient use of CAD systems, and to a framework to identify and teach efficient CAD strategies. The above results were found to be neither unique to the CAD domain, nor to the office where the data were collected. The generality of these results motivated the identification of seven claims towards a general theory to explain and identify efficient strategies for a wide range of devices. This thesis contributes to the field of architecture by providing a detailed analysis of real-world CAD usage, and an approach to improve the performance of CAD users. The thesis also contributes to the field of human-computer interaction by demonstrating the generality of these results and by laying the framework for a general theory of efficient strategies which could be used to improve the performance of users of current and future computer applications.
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