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

authors Jordan, J. Peter (Ed.)
year 1990
title From Research to Practice [Conference Proceedings]
source ACADIA Conference Proceedings / Big Sky (Montana - USA) 4-6 October 1990, 231 p.
summary For the tenth time in as many years, the Association for Computer-Aided Design in Architecture (ACADIA) has invited architectural educators and professionals to discuss their activities and interests related to computer-aided architectural design. This annual meeting has grown from a small group representing a handful of schools to a conference with international participation. For the fifth time, the papers presented at this annual conference have been collected and published in a bound volume as the conference proceedings. In organizing these meetings, ACADIA must be viewed has having firmly established itself as a valuable forum for those who are interested and active in this area. Moreover, the proceedings of these conferences have become an important record for documenting the progress of ideas and activities in this field. This organization and its annual conferences have been a critical influence on my own professional development. The first conference I attended, ACADIA '86, confirmed a nagging suspicion that courses in computer-aided design (CAD) offered at the university level should be more than vendor training. Papers and conversations at subsequent conferences have reinforced this conviction and strengthened my commitment to CAD education which does more than convey electronic drawing technology. At the same time, I have been frustrated at the apparent lack of communication between those involved in these activities in architectural education and the average professional practice. With some notable exceptions, architects are only beginning to make basic computer-aided drafting pay for itself. In many small offices, "The CAD Computer" remains more decoration and status symbol than useful tool. While it can be argued that the economics of computer-aided drafting have only recently become attractive, it must be admitted that many members of ACADIA are actively involved in the development and use of computer applications which are significantly more challenging. In the short run, most of these activities will go largely unnoticed by the community of practicing architects. This situation raises a number of questions on the value of the work produced by members of ACADIA. One can (and many do) challenge the worth of "design" research produced by academia to those in professional practice. However, it is a fundamental mistake to insist that such work be of immediate and direct relevance to the profession. In fact, some presentations at the ACADIA conferences have focused solely on the pedagogical environment (which may be of some intellectual interest) but do not even attempt to address professional design issues. Other work may serve as the basis for further activities which may result in useful applications at some future point in time. Such work is strategic in nature and should not be expected to bear fruit for many years. These are the *natural" products of a university environment and, indeed, may be what the university does best. Still, design professionals remain indifferent (if not somewhat hostile) to these endeavors. The central dilemma resides in the ongoing debate about the fundamental goals of professional education. A number of design professionals believe that architectural education should follow more of a “trade school” model where a professional degree program becomes solely a process of acquiring (and practicing) a set of skills which are directly and immediately useful upon graduation. Today these people stiR closely examine the drafting skill of any recent graduate, but they are also likely to demanding expertise on AutoCAD. It is my view that this position tends to deprecate the image of architects and depreciate the economic status of the profession. On the other hand, there is a similar minority in architectural academia who teach because they are unable or unwilling to deal with the very real complexities and challenges of professional practice. These instructors tend to focus on obscure theory and academic credentials while discounting the importance of professional development. For most who participate in this discussion, it is becoming increasingly clear that professional competency must be founded on an effective marriage of intellectual theory and practical expertise. This must lead to the conclusion that CAD research must recognize and give serious consideration to the professional agenda in a substantive manner without abandoning those activities which deal with strategic and pedagogical issues.
series ACADIA
email jpjordan@flash.net
more http://www.acadia.org
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