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
authors Tweed, Christopher
year 1999
title Prescribing Designs
source Architectural Computing from Turing to 2000 [eCAADe Conference Proceedings / ISBN 0-9523687-5-7] Liverpool (UK) 15-17 September 1999, pp. 51-57
summary Much of the debate and argument among CAAD researchers has turned on the degree to which CAAD systems limit the ways in which designers can express themselves. By defining representations for design objects and design functions, systems determine what it is possible to describe. Aart Bijl used the term 'prescriptiveness' to refer to this property of systems, and the need to overcome it was a major preoccupation of research at EdCAAD during the 1980s, including the development of the MOLE (Modelling Objects with Logic Expressions) system. But in trying to offer designers the freedom that was judged to be essential to evolving design practices, MOLE transferred much of the burden of programming from system developers to end-users - you can have any design objects you want, as long as you write the code. Close examination of MOLE's logic reveals that it too had to rely on fundamental definitions that, even if not domain-specific, are certainly historically contingent. This paper will return to the issue of prescriptiveness, summarising the lessons learned from the MOLE 'experiment,' and identifying new prescriptions that are deciding what designs can be. Looking beyond computer representations, we find that designs are shaped by much larger, and arguably more powerful, historical, social and cultural forces surrounding design practice. These forces are shaping the way CAAD is used and how new systems are conceived and developed.
keywords Bijl, Prescriptiveness
series eCAADe
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