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.
Two approaches to the integration of artificial intelligence and knowledge-based systems into architectural design practice are currently dominant. One attempts to create systems which can on their own produce designs, the other provides intelligent support for those doing design. It was, in part, the recognition of limitations in the ability of traditional CAD systems and building modelers to reflect what designers actually do that led to explorations into the idea of intelligent assistants. Development of such assistants was aided by research into the act and process of design through protocol and other studies. Although some work is currently being done in the development of artificial intelligence and knowledge based applications in architecture, and work continues to be done on the study of design methodologies, the bulk of available information in each of these areas remains in the realm of design disciplines related to but outside of architecture and do not reflect the explicit role of architectural design in the embodiment and expression of culture.
The relationship of intelligence to culture has resulted in some skepticism regarding the ultimate capacity of neural nets and symbolically programmed computers in general. Significant work has been done questioning the rational tradition in computer development for its failure to address phenomena which are not easily subject to scientific analysis. Further skepticism regarding the role of artificial intelligence and knowledge-based or expert systems in architectural design has been emerging recently. Such criticism tends to focus on two issues: the nature of drawing as an activity which involves both the generation and interpretation of graphic artifacts, and the nature of the human designer as an active agent in the design process.
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