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authors Catalano, Fernando
year 1990
title The Computerized Design Firm
source The Electronic Design Studio: Architectural Knowledge and Media in the Computer Era [CAAD Futures 89 Conference Proceedings / ISBN 0-262-13254-0] Cambridge (Massachusetts / USA), 1989, pp. 317-332
summary This paper is not just about the future of computerized design practice. It is about what to do today in contemplation of tomorrow-the issues of computercentered practice and the courses of action open to us can be discerned by the careful observer. The realities of computerized design practice are different from the issues on which design education still fixes its attention. To educators, the present paper recommends further clinical research on computerized design firms and suggests that case studies on the matter be developed and utilized as teaching material. Research conducted by the author of this paper indicates that a new form of design firm is emerging-the computerized design firm-totally supported and augmented by the new information technology. The present paper proceeds by introducing an abridged case study of an actual totally electronic, computerized design practice. Then, the paper concentrates on modelling the computerized design firm as an intelligent system, indicating non-trivial changes in its structure and strategy brought about by the introduction of the new information technology into its operations - among other considerations, different strategies and diverse conceptions of management and workgroup roles are highlighted. In particular, this paper points out that these structural and strategic changes reflect back on the technology of information with pressures to redirect present emphasis on the individual designer, working alone in an isolated workstation, to a more realistic conception of the designer as a member of an electronic workgroup. Finally, the paper underlines that this non-trivial conception demands that new hardware and software be developed to meet the needs of the electronic workgroup - which raises issues of human-machine interface. Further, it raises the key issues of how to represent and expose knowledge to users in intelligent information - sharing systems, designed to include not only good user interfaces for supporting problem-solving activities of individuals, but also good organizational interfaces for supporting the problem-solving activities of groups. The paper closes by charting promising directions for further research and with a few remarks about the computerized design firm's (near) future.
series CAAD Futures
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