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authors Gardner, Brian M.
year 1998
title The Grid Sketcher: An AutoCAD Based Tool for Conceptual Design Processes
source Digital Design Studios: Do Computers Make a Difference? [ACADIA Conference Proceedings / ISBN 1-880250-07-1] Quťbec City (Canada) October 22-25, 1998, pp. 222-237
summary Sketching with pencil and paper is reminiscent of the varied, rich, and loosely defined formal processes associated with conceptual design. Architects actively engage such creative paradigms in their exploration and development of conceptual design solutions. The Grid Sketcher, as a conceptual sketching tool, presents one possible computer implementation for enhancing and supporting these processes. It effectively demonstrates the facility with which current technology and the computing environment can enhance and simulate sketching intents and expectations. One pervasive and troubling undercurrent, however, is the conceptual barrier between the variable processes of human thought and those indigenous to computing. Typically with respect to design, the position taken is that the two are virtually void of any fundamental commonality. A designerís thoughts are intuitive, at times irrational, and rarely follow consistently identifiable patterns. Conversely, computing requires predictability in just these endeavors. Computing is strictly an algorithmic process while thought is not always so predictable. Given these dichotomous relationships, the computing environment, as commonly defined, cannot reasonably expect to mimic the typically human domain of creative design. In this context, this thesis accentuates the computerís role as a form generator as opposed to a form evaluator. The computer, under the influence of certain contextual parameters can, however, provide the designer with a rich and elegant set of forms that respond through algorithmics to the designerís creative intents. The software presented in this thesis is written in AutoLISP and exploits AutoCADís capacious 3D environment. Designs and productions respond to a bounded framework where user selected parametric variables of size, scale, proportion, and proximity, all which reflect contextual issues, determine the characteristics of a unit form. Designer selected growth algorithms then arbitrate the spatial relationships between the unit forms and their propagation through the developing design. While the Sketcher implements only the GRID as an organizational discipline, many other paradigms are possible. Within this grid structure a robust set of editing features, supported by the computerís inherent speed, allows the designer to analyze successive productions while refining ever more complex solutions. Through creative manipulation of these algorithmic structures ideas eventually coalesce to formalize images that represent a given design problemís solution set.

series ACADIA
email jvcarch@mcione.com
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