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

PDF papers
id acadia16_130
authors Koschitz, Duks; Ramagosa, Bernat; Rosenbaum, Eric
year 2016
title Beetle Blocks: A New Visual Language for Designers and Makers
source ACADIA // 2016: POSTHUMAN FRONTIERS: Data, Designers, and Cognitive Machines [Proceedings of the 36th Annual Conference of the Association for Computer Aided Design in Architecture (ACADIA) ISBN 978-0-692-77095-5] Ann Arbor 27-29 October, 2016, pp. 130-139
summary We are introducing a new teaching tool to show designers, architects, and artists procedural ways of constructing objects and space. Computational algorithms have been used in design for quite some time, but not all tools are very accessible to novice programmers, especially undergraduate students. ‘Beetle Blocks’ ( is a software environment that combines an easy-to-use graphical programming language with a generative model for 3D space, drawing on ‘turtle geometry,’ a geometry paradigm introduced by Abelson and Disessa, that uses a relative as opposed to an absolute coordinate system. With Beetle Blocks, designers are able to learn computational concepts and use them for their designs with more ease, as individual computational steps are made visually explicit. The beetle, the relative coordinate system, follows instructions as it moves about in 3D space. Anecdotal evidence from studio teaching in undergraduate programs shows that despite the early introduction of digital media and tools, architecture students still struggle with learning formal languages today. Beetle Blocks can significantly simplify the teaching of complex geometric ideas and we explain how this can be achieved via several examples. The blocks-based programming language can also be used to teach fundamental concepts of manufacturing and digital fabrication and we elucidate in this paper which possibilities are conducive for 2D and 3D designs. This project was previously implemented in other languages such as Flash, Processing and Scratch, but is now developed on top of Berkeley’s ‘Snap!’
keywords generative design, design pedagogy, digital fabrication, tool-building, pedagogical tools
series ACADIA
type paper
full text file.pdf (978,933 bytes)
references Content-type: text/plain
Details Citation Select
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