OCEAN Design Research Association

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Computer-aided Design Techniques

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Published in the Nordic Journal of Architectural Research, Autumn 2001

The implementation of graphic computing in design practice has triggered a renewed interest in the design process and a leap in the invention and development of new design methods, strategies and techniques. Central in this endeavour stands the use of the computer as a generative design engine. This has consequently led to a temporal decline of the importance of traditional design skills and breads a generation of designers with no traditional education. These designers are basing their work on an intuitive trial and error way of applying the computer. Recently the traditional design skills appear to have a renaissance where these techniques are paralleled and combined with the computer driven techniques and where this results in a new synergy. On the other hand we can see the contours of an endeavour to discover and develop ways to surpass the trial and error stage in design computing and to reach towards more advanced strategies. In many of those cases the computer is used as a tool to apply generative material in the design process. Some computational modelling that takes advantage of the computers generative power is used to produce a more or less abstract underlay for design. Though the arguments for doing so are many and diverse, from a perspective of design methodology such generative material is meant to produce an unanticipated output that would fertilise the design process. The use of such generative material raises questions about the design process as a creative process and the position of the designer in this process.

Creativity and the internalised elements of the creative process remains a puzzling and unexplored phenomenon. Many different explanatory models contribute to the understanding of creativity. These models span from pragmatic, psychometric, cognitive, social-personality models to confluence models that try to embrace creativity as a multiple component phenomenon. Parallel to these models, which all stem from psychological research, there exists among the creative professions an intuitive and still unrecognised understanding of creativity. This perspective, based on first-hand experience rather than clinical research, might prove to be more productive for design research than the psychological ones, because one avoids entering epistemology outside the realm of design and thereby entangle in extremely complicated issues which as mentioned even within psychological ...........

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