Computer Graphics and Architecture: State of the A r t and Outlook for the Future Julie Dorsey Leonard McMillan
profession. Computer graphics has revolutionized the drafting process, enabling the rapid entry and modification of designs (see Musachusetts Instbitute o f Technology Figure I). In addition, modeling and rendering systems have proven to be invaluable aids in Introduction the visualization process, allowing designers During the three decades since Ivan to walk through their designs with photorealSutherland introduced the Skerchpad system istic imagery (see Figure 2) [6, 2, 3]. , there has been an outpouring of computComputer graphics systems have also demoner graphics systems for use in architecture [3, strated utility for capturing engineering infor5]. In response to this development, most of mation, greatly simplifying the analysis and the major architectural firms around the construction of proposed designs. However, it world have embraced the idea that computer is important to consider that all of these literacy is mandatory for success. We would tasks occur near the conclusion of a larger argue, however, that most of these recent design process. In fact, most of the artistic developments have failed to tap the potential and intellectual challenges of an architectural design have already been resolved by the time the designer sits down in front of a computer. In seeking insight into the design process, it is generally of little use to revisit the various computer archives kLE:I ~ L~. ' ~ ~ ~ and backups. Instead, it ~. , ~i¸" ,iiI, is best to explore the reams of sketches and crude balsa models that fill the trash cans of any architectural studio. Rlure h Hidden line axonemetric view of the Tenerife House. Designed by Ann In architecture, as in Pendleton-Jullian;modeled byJack de Valpine and Ben Black,V/SARCInc.,Boston,MIL most other fields, the See page 99/or/map In full co/or. initial success of computerization has been in of the computer as a design tool. Instead, areas where it frees humans from tedious and computers have been relegated largely to the mundane tasks.This includes the redrawing of status of drafting instruments, so that the "D" floor plans after minor modifications, the genin CAD stands for drafting rather than design. eration of largely redundant, yet subtly differIt is important that future architectural design eat engineering drawings and the generation systems consider design as a continuous of perspective renderings. process rather than an eventual outcome. We believe that there is a largely untapped The advent of computer graphics technolopotential for computer graphics as a tool in gy has had an impact on the architectural the earlier phases of the design process. In this essay, we argue that computer graphics might play a larger role via applications that aid and amplify the creative process.
Nature of the Architectural
Design Process and
Architectural design is an iterative, visual process -- one that involves thinking and exploring in pictorial or symbolic representations. $teven Coons described the creative and complex acrivity of design as follows: "It is typical of the design process that such iterations -- from concept, through analysis, evaluatJon of the analysis, decision to modify the concept, and finally to a new concept -- form loops that are traversed again and again, until eventually the designer judges the design adequate to satisfy some sca/eor scales of value judgment" [I] Throughout the design process, designers employ a range of representational media and conventions to explore, assess and refine their ideas. Initially, these representations may be small diagrammatic sketches intended to stimulate the imagination, test initial thoughts and concepts and generate a series of alternatives. As a design concept is selected for clarification and development, the representations chat designers employ to study the idea also become more...
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