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id c7e0
authors Maria Gabriela Caffarena Celani
year 2002
title BEYOND ANALYSIS AND REPRESENTATION IN CAD: A NEW COMPUTATIONAL APPROACH TO DESIGN EDUCATION
source Submitted to the Department of Architecture in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy in the field of Architecture: Design & Computation at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology
summary This thesis aims at changing students' attitude towards the use of computer-aided design (CAD) in architecture. It starts from the premise that CAD is used mostly for analysis and representation, and not as a real design aide, and that architecture students have a bias against learning computer programming. For this purpose, a prototypical instruction system that mixes computer-aided design and computational design theory was developed, based on a series of fundamental concepts that are common to both fields. This system was influenced by Mitchell's (1987) The Art of Computer Graphics Programming and Stiny's (1976) shape grammars. Despite being based on solid theoretical foundations, CAD has progressively become an exclusively practical tool, since its origins in the 50's and 60's, while computational design theories have been mostly restricted to the academic circles. This thesis proposes an inversion in the present situation: the study of CAD theory, and the application of computational design into practice. The system proposed provides a conceptual framework that can be adapted to different circumstances, including course formats and resources, as well as students' background and technical training. It is based on seven fundamental concepts from computational design theories that are also important to the study of shape grammars: symmetry, recursion, rule-based compositions, parameterization of shapes, generative systems, algorithmization of design procedures, and shape emergence. These concepts are introduced within a CAD context, where their practical implementation and experimentation are possible, focusing the understanding of the computational nature of design. During this research, the proposed system was tested in two case studies with students from schools that had contrary orientations in terms of the importance of CAD in the architectural curriculum. In these experimental courses, students' activities evolved from using a commercial CAD tool in an innovative way, to the use of programming techniques for creating meaningful tools. Despite not having a statistical reach, the fieldwork allowed drawing preliminary conclusions about the proposed system's efficacy, since virtually all the students reported changing their understanding of the role of CAD in architecture, while some also acknowledged a conceptual influence in other subjects and in the way they see architecture.
keywords Symmetry
series thesis:PhD
type normal paper
email celani@fec.unicamp.br
more http://www.fec.unicamp.br/~celani/
full text file.pdf (2,867,800 bytes)
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