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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Within contemporary digital environments, there are increasing
opportunities to explore and evaluate design proposals which integrate
both architectural and landscape aspects. The production of integrated
design solutions exploring buildings and their surrounding context is now
possible through the design development of shared 3-D and 4-D virtual
environments, in which buildings no longer float in space.
The scope of landscape design has expanded through the application of
techniques such as GIS allowing interpretations that include social,
economic and environmental dimensions. In architecture, for example,
object-oriented CAD environments now make it feasible to integrate
conventional modelling techniques with analytical evaluations such as
energy calculations and lighting simulations. These were all ambitions of
architects and landscape designers in the 70s when computer power
restricted the successful implementation of these ideas. Instead, the
commercial trend at that time moved towards isolated specialist design
tools in particular areas. Prior to recent innovations in computing, the
closely related disciplines of architecture and landscape have been
separated through the unnecessary development, in our view, of their
own symbolic representations, and the subsequent computer
applications. This has led to an unnatural separation between what were
once closely related disciplines.
Significant increases in the performance of computers are now making it
possible to move on from symbolic representations towards more
contextual and meaningful representations. For example, the application
of realistic materials textures to CAD-generated building models can then
be linked to energy calculations using the chosen materials. It is now
possible for a tree to look like a tree, to have leaves and even to be
botanicaly identifiable. The building and landscape can be rendered from
a common database of digital samples taken from the real world. The
complete model may be viewed in a more meaningful way either through
stills or animation, or better still, through a total simulation of the lifecycle
of the design proposal. The model may also be used to explore
environmental/energy considerations and changes in the balance
between the building and its context most immediately through the growth
simulation of vegetation but also as part of a larger planning model.
The Internet has a key role to play in facilitating this emerging
collaborative design process. Design professionals are now able via the
net to work on a shared model and to explore and test designs through the
development of VRML, JAVA, whiteboarding and video conferencing. The
end product may potentially be something that can be more easily viewed
by the client/user. The ideas presented in this paper form the basis for the
development of a dual course in landscape and architecture. This will
create new teaching opportunities for exploring the design of buildings
and sites through the shared development of a common computer model.
From overall curriculum planning to specific exercises, language
study provides a model for building a learner-centered education.
Educating students about the learning process, such as the variety
of metacognitive, cognitive and social/affective strategies can
improve learning. At an introductory level, providing a conceptual
framework and enhancing resource-finding, brainstorming and
coping abilities can lead to threshold competence. Using
kit-of-parts problems helps students to focus on technique and
content in successive steps, with mimetic and generative work
appealing to different learning styles.
Practicing learning strategies on realistic projects hones the ability to connect concepts to actual situations,
drawing on resource-usage, task management, and problem management skills. Including collaborative
aspects in these projects provides the motivation of a real audience and while linking academic study to
practical concerns. Examples from architectural education illustrate how the approach can be implemented.
Pairs of participants were set a design problem and asked to solve it in face-to-face settings. The same problem was then tackled by participants in settings using two different modes of computer-supported communication: email and an electronic whiteboard. Protocols were collected and analyzed in terms of the constraints of each tool relative to the task and to each other. The GOMS methodology was used as a way to represent the collaborative design process in a way that yields information on both the productivity and performance of participants in each of the three experimental conditions. It also yielded information on the component elements of the design process, the basic cognitive building-blocks of design, thereby suggesting fundamentally new tools that might be created for interaction in virtual environments.
A further goal of the study was to explore the nature of task differences in relation to alternative platforms for communication. It was hypothesized that design processes involving significant negotiation would be less aided by computer support than straight forward design problems. The latter involve cooperative knowledge application by both participants and are therefore facilitated by information-rich forms of computer support. The former, on the other hand, requires conflict resolution and is inhibited by non face-to-face interaction. The results of this study point to the fact that the success of collaboration in virtual space is not just dependent on the nature of the tools but also on the specific nature of the collaborative task.
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