|A pragmatic model for the building of an electronic architectural design curriculum which will offer students and faculty the opportunity to fully integrate information age technologies into the educational experience is becoming increasingly desirable.
The majority of architectural programs teach technology topics through content specific courses which appear as an educational sequence within the curriculum. These technology topics have traditionally included structural design, environmental systems, and construction materials and methods. Likewise, that course model has been broadly applied to the teaching of computer aided design, which is identified as a technology topic. Computer technology has resulted in a proliferation of courses which similarly introduce the student to computer graphic and design systems through a traditional course structure.
Inevitably, competition for priority arises within the curriculum, introducing the potential risk that otherwise valuable courses and/or course content will be replaced by the "'newer" technology, and providing fertile ground for faculty and administrative resistance to computerization as traditional courses are pushed aside or seem threatened.
An alternative view is that computer technology is not a "topic", but rather the medium for creating a design (and studio) environment for informed decision making.... deciding what it is we should build. Such a viewpoint urges the development of a curricular structure, through which the impact of computer technology may be understood as that medium for design decision making, as the initial step in addressing the current and future needs of architectural education.
One example of such a program currently in place at the College of Architecture and Planning, Ball State University takes an approach which overlays, like a transparent tissue, the computer aided design content (or a computer emphasis) onto the primary curriculum.
With the exception of a general introductory course at the freshman level, computer instruction and content issues may be addressed effectively within existing studio courses. The level of operational and conceptual proficiency achieved by the student, within an electronic design studio, makes the electronic design environment selfsustaining and maintainable across the entire curriculum. The ability to broadly apply computer aided design to the educational experience can be independent of the availability of many specialized computer aided design faculty.