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authors Colajanni, B., Pellitteri, G. and Scianna, A.
year 1992
title Two Approaches to Teaching Computers in Architecture: The Experience in the Faculty of Engineering in Palermo, Italy
source CAAD Instruction: The New Teaching of an Architect? [eCAADe Conference Proceedings] Barcelona (Spain) 12-14 November 1992, pp. 295-306
summary Teaching the use of computers in architecture poses the same kind of problems as teaching mathematics. To both there are two possible approaches. The first presents the discipline as a tool of which the merely instrumental aspect is emphasized. Teaching is limited to show the results obtainable by existing programs and how to get them. The second approach, on the contrary emphasizes the autonomous nature of the discipline, mathematics as much as computing, on the basis of the convincement that the maximum of instrumental usefulness can be obtained through the knowledge at the highest degree of generality and, then, of abstraction. The first approach changes little in the mind of the student. He simply learns that is possible, and then worthy doing, a certain amount of operations, mainly checks of performances (and not only the control of the aspect, now easy with one of the many existing CAD) or searches of technical informations in some database. The second approach gives the student the consciousness of the manageability of abstract structures of relationships. He acquires then the idea of creating by himself particular structures of relationships and managing them. This can modify the very idea of the design procedure giving the student the consciousness that he can intervene directly in every segment of the design procedure, reshaping it to some extent in a way better suited to the particular problem he is dealing with. Of course this second approach implies learning not only a language but also the capability of coming to terms with languages. And again it is a cultural acquisition that can be very useful when referred to the languages of architecture. Furthermore the capability of simulating on the computer also a small segment of the design process gives the student a better understanding both of the particular problem he is dealing with and of the very nature of design. As for the first effect, it happens whenever a translation is done from a language to another one. One is obliged to get to the core of the matter in order to overcome the difficulties rising from the different bias of the two languages. The second effect comes from the necessity of placing the studied segment in the general flow of the design process. The organisation in a linear sequence of action to be accomplished recursively in an order always varying in any design occasion is an extremely useful exercise to understand the signification and the techniques of formalisation of design problems.
series eCAADe
email bcolajan@mbox.unipa.it
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