Exchanging design knowledge with computers
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Exchanging design knowledge with computers book
This is not really a chapter about computer-aided design and most certainly not one about computers. There are many other books about both. The reader interested in CAD and in particular the intersection between computers and architecture would do well to refer to any of the interesting series of books by William Mitchell (1979; 1990; 1995; 1999). This chapter is about what designers know as revealed to us by this relatively recent encounter with the computer and even more recently with the Internet. Both have the potential to revolutionize designing in the way that drawing did. In fact so far the computer has not done that and the lessons from this are ones we shall examine here. Actually a very great deal of what is described as computer-aided design is in reality computer-aided drawing and is therefore of interest to us here in a similar way that manual drawing is. In fact computer-aided design has turned out to be rather a disappointment so far. There is little evidence that it has significantly improved the quality of design or made designing a better experience. As Nigel Cross (2001) so succinctly puts it: ‘Why isn’t using a CAD system a more enjoyable, and perhaps, also a more intellectually demanding experience than it has turned out to be?’ Cross argues that using CAD may in some cases be quicker but is more stressful and that there is no evidence that the results are better. Could it be possible that this has to do with the way computers and human designers manipulate knowledge? If so some study of CAD, its achievements and deficiencies may tell us quite a bit about what designers know.