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An Inquiry Into Computers In Design Education

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2002 Annual Conference


Montreal, Canada

Publication Date

June 16, 2002

Start Date

June 16, 2002

End Date

June 19, 2002



Conference Session

Teaching Innovations in Arch. Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

7.180.1 - 7.180.13



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Murali Paranandi

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Session: 1606

An Inquiry into Computers in Design Education

Murali Paranandi Assistant Professor Department of Architecture and Interior Design Miami University, Oxford, OH 45056 e-mail:

Introduction We are living in an increasingly computerized world. It’s often been said that computers have triggered a second industrial revolution, to characterize their impact on our lives. Driven by the notion that computer literacy is mandatory for success, computer has now become a standard tool in architectural offices across the US and around the world. Academic institutions in US are actively integrating computers into the curricula and some are even requiring their students to purchase computers. This affects all schools of architecture. Educational theorists, recognizing that computers are here to stay, caution more computerizing may not necessarily result in more learning [AHERN, 2001]. While computers’ potential for enhancing innovative exploration in the design studio is widely reported in literature, many design educators see a pressing need to establish a critical appreciation of the ways in which computer affects the student learning, teaching practices, and studio culture [BALFOUR, 2001].

Consequences for design education Dorsey & McMilan [1998] note that computers lack the fluidity and flexibility necessary for recording and exploring ideas during conceptual stages of design 1. Similarly, Yessios [1986] from a heuristic 2 and Turk [2001] from a phenomenological perspective argue that while computers replaced the drawing boards for design representation, they do not yet solve conceptual design and most of the hard design problems. The notion that computer does not adequately support design without restricting the artist’s creative process has been echoed elsewhere in design research literature [for example: HANNA & BARBER, 2001: P 261]. Greg Lynn, an avid proponent of computers in architectural design,

1 They do note that computer revolutionized drafting by enabling rapid entry and modification of design, visualization by allowing designers to walkthrough their designs with photorealistic imagery, and engineering by improving the analysis and construction of buildings. However, they consider these tasks to occur near the conclusion of a larger design process once the major artistic and design challenges are solved. 2 Yessios observes that the internal representation and operational behavior of available CAD software has not really been geared for architectural problem solving.

Proceedings of the 2002 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright Ó 2002, American Society for Engineering Education

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Paranandi, M. (2002, June), An Inquiry Into Computers In Design Education Paper presented at 2002 Annual Conference, Montreal, Canada. 10.18260/1-2--10760

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