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Digital Design, Bim, And Digital Fabrication: Utilization And Integration In Architectural Engineering Curriculums

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2007 Annual Conference & Exposition


Honolulu, Hawaii

Publication Date

June 24, 2007

Start Date

June 24, 2007

End Date

June 27, 2007



Conference Session

Practice/Partnership/Program Issues

Tagged Division


Page Count


Page Numbers

12.545.1 - 12.545.22



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Paper Authors


Stan Guidera Bowling Green State University

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DR. STAN GUIDERA is an Associate Professor of Architecture in the Architectural/Environmental Design Studies Program in the College of Technology at Bowling Green State University. He teaches design studios, advanced CAD courses and computer rendering and animation. He is a registered architect and has used computer-aided design extensively in professional practice.

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Digital Design, BIM, and Digital Fabrication: Utilization and Integration in Architectural Engineering Curriculums Abstract

This paper presents the findings of a study conducted to investigate both current and potential roles of computer modeling, design visualization, building information modeling, and digital fabrication in architectural engineering curriculums. Data was collected to document the current status of the utilization of architectural CAD applications in architectural engineering programs and to identify curricular areas faculty perceive as having potential for additional integration of digital media. Additionally, the paper documented the extent to which architectural engineering faculty perceived computer modeling, building information modeling, and digital fabrication skills are relevant to the professional preparation of students and the extent to which this perception correlates with other factors and variables. The findings suggested that while digital design tools were utilized over a broad range of curricular areas faculty responding to this survey did not place a high priority on skill development with BIM and that there was a very limited priority placed on course content related to fabrication.


Digital tools have taken on a central role in the architectural design and document production process as applications utilizing object oriented programming have facilitated a shift from the role of computation as a 2D documentation tool to a 3D design tool. Object oriented programming is computational ontology; a data model that represents a “domain” and is used to reason about the objects in that domain and the relations between them. Programmers define a data structure, and then define the operations that can be applied to that data structure. Therefore, the data structure is defined as an object that includes both data and functions with specified relationships between the object and other objects [1]. Consequently, architectural objects relate “intelligently” [2] and function more intuitively, enabling powerful applications to be easier and more intuitive to use. Parametric object-based design tools have become standard in architectural CAD applications and the ability to utilize parametric control of geometry and dimensional relationships has become an expectation among practitioners [3].

Many prominent architectural practices are exploiting advances in digital design technologies as a tool to conceptualize and ultimately construct complex form that, until only recently, would have been difficult to develop and largely unfeasible if not impossible to engineer and construct. ARUP and Partners use of computer modeling to translate the concept for the Sydney Opera house (Figure 1) into a physical reality is an example of a pioneering effort in utilizing digital design tools [4]. More recently, Frank Gehry’s extensive utilization of computer modeling has received considerable attention and has been documented in some detail [4]. His highly recognizable work, characterized by sculptural compositions of curving steel surfaces, is a product largely dependent upon computation. It has been argued that his critically acclaimed Guggenheim Bilboa in Barcelona, Spain (Figure 2), would have been impossible to design, engineer, and construct without computer modeling and that “computer tools were absolutely imperative for the execution of the building’s design” [5].

Guidera, S. (2007, June), Digital Design, Bim, And Digital Fabrication: Utilization And Integration In Architectural Engineering Curriculums Paper presented at 2007 Annual Conference & Exposition, Honolulu, Hawaii. 10.18260/1-2--2461

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