In this new age of globalization and competition, Architects have to keep pace with the advancements in technology. In building design, computers aid in drafting, modelling, and visualization. This essay analyses building and architectural designs that would not have been possible without the use of computers and cites relevant design examples that have made use of Computer Aided Architectural Design (CAAD) software. The impact and effect of the use of computers in the development of building and architectural designs will be analyzed as well as what events and external ideas have been incorporated in the development of these architectural designs. Comparison will also be made with other designs that were practiced earlier on, citing what advantages the present methods have against the earlier ones. The way that these designs are impacting on society will also be expressed and the influence they have on the community will also be considered in the discussion. Analysis will also be based on the impact of building to environmental sustainability.
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The history of building and architectural designs is faced with a number of subsequent trends. These trends are based on the design, materials used, technologies and the buildings’ durability. Earlier on, buildings were constructed with perishable materials such as leaves and animal hides. Later, timber, brick and mortar and concrete were embraced. Currently, synthetic materials are now being used to create more daring and complex structures. There is also the trend of the construction of larger structures created with the use of extremely strong materials. Interior environmental control is also one of the trends witnessed. The need to control temperature, humidity, light and many other aspects is now becoming an inherent part of building design. ‘The practice of architecture emphasizes spatial relationships, orientation, and the support of activities to be carried out within a designed environment’ (Denison 2009). Architectural designs are mainly distinguished in terms of their uniqueness and how appropriate they are for a particular use or function (Denison 2009). The technology used in the preparation of these architectural designs will be my main point of discussion in this essay.
‘Architectural Traditionalism’ has emphasized on hand work in the preparation of building designs. This method of design is being phased out with ever evolving creative ideas crafted using the aid of computer developed architectural designs. Architectural firms are now using advanced studio software as well as on-site technology to outsmart their competition. The use of computers in the creation of designs assists architects who develop designs which gain global acceptance in terms of uniqueness, durability, function ability and environmental sustainability. The use of computers in building design has also assisted in improving the presentation and quality of architectural drawings. Adopting digitalized computer systems and programs such as CAAD will therefore see architects develop more magnificent designs and in turn reap the benefits therein (Tai 2012).
The use of computers in architectural design has made it possible for architects to make use of complex and multifaceted design information. This is possible as a result of the development of computer software which has made it possible to come up with complex designs before the actual process of construction. Computer-aided architectural design programs have resulted in more accurate designs and comprehensive records when it comes to building designs. Ever since 1960, computer aided design programs (CAD) were used by architects in coming up with architectural designs. However, this software lacked some tools which architects considered relevant during their architectural projects. This therefore resulted in the development of a distinct class of software specifically designed for use in architectural design: CAAD.
There are various architectural designs which may not have been possible without the use of computers.
Examples of architectural designs
Without going into explicit detail on the various architectural designs which have utilized computer software to be generated, a known example is the Burj Dubai project whereby the Burj Dubai tower is an architectural design which was created with the use of a computer aided architectural design software program. The Sliding House, Reflection of a Mineral, Byron Bay house, Hangar Prefab, Swiss Charlet and the Marinette Residence are some examples of architectural designs which were generated as a result of the use of computer aided architectural design (CAAD) (Bruinessen, Hopman, DeNucci & Oers 2011).
The London Gherkin is also an example of a building with a complex design structure which required the utilization of computer aided software to assist in the architectural design. The London Gherkin is known to have an unusual design structure which could not have been designed without the use of computers. It is classified among the 9 most mathematically fascinating buildings in the world. The building is round with a narrow top and a bulge at the centre. In addition to the use of CAAD, parametric modeling was also used to design the building (Josie 2011).
The Zaha Hadid building in Hong Kong is also an example of a building with a complex design structure which could not have been created without the aid of a computer software design program. The computer aided design allowed the architects to come up with various design shapes without first settling on the identified shape for the building. Despite the fact that this was a tiring task, it would not have been possible to achieve without the use of computers in the design process (design museum + British council 2007).
Another important example of a building with a complex design structure is the Frank Gehry’s Fisher center in NYC. The design of this building would not have been possible without the use of computer aided architectural design. This building was named after the architect who designed it that is; Frank Gehry. This architect is known to have indulged in various architectural designs ranging from small to larger buildings. Despite the fact that he had a lot of experience when it came to architectural design, he could not have designed the identified building without the aid of a computer. The building’s style was deconstructive post modern. In addition to this, the design ensured that the ground floor was actually wrapped around sides of his older house. The wrapping extended the house in that it reached the streets (Archinomy 2010).
The examples of designs provided above are known to have utilized complex blueprints which could not have been generated accurately without the use of computer programs. New and even more complex designs as still being generated with the help of different computer programs and CAD drafting techniques such as; AutoCAD. The design process of a building requires that the provided architectural drawing be up to date and accurate so as to enable the physical characteristics of the buildings being constructed to be easily defined.
The use of computer technology for the production of the sophisticated architectural designs is considered to be more advanced compared to the use of traditional methods since it ensures that the user is provided with input tools which ensure that the design process is streamlined, drafted and documented for an easier understanding. This makes it easier and more achievable to come up with complex architectural designs without necessarily doing all the design works in one day.
How the Work Compares With Other Practices of Design
Computer generated architectural designs make use of computer aided design and drafting (CADD) which is software that provides architectural graphics in the form of vectors. The graphics are later utilized in depicting objects and at the same time producing a raster graphic of an object which is to be designed. Comparing this to traditional or other forms of designs, computer aided architectural designs are considered to be more accurate and complex.
In addition to this, the designs which are generated through the use of computer software programs can be postponed and cleared at a future date since it requires the architect to save the work and re open it when ready to continue with the design. Other practices of design do not require the use of sophisticated software to come up with the final design product. The reason behind this is that the various design practices involved are not considered to be that complex when compared with the design of a house (Shaffie 2011).
The Impact and Effect of the Use of Computers in the Development of Building and Architectural Designs
The use of computers in the architectural sectors has reflected both negative and positive impacts when it comes to building and architectural designs. Taking into consideration the positive impact that the use of computers has brought within this sector, it is evident that the use of software has made it possible for architects to come up with more accurate designs. This comes about as a result of the fact that the computer aided software programs which are used in architectural design makes use of vector coordinates to show building measurements which are considered to be more accurate compared to if the architectural design was being designed manually without the use of a computer but through the use of a ruler and a pencil (Bruinessen, Hopman, DeNucci & Oers 2011).
In addition to the accuracy, the use of computers has ensured that the designs developed in architecture are produced faster in comparison to if the computers had not been utilized. One of the advantages associated to computers is speed. Therefore any activity carried out through the use of computers is done within a limited time period compared to if a computer had not been used to carried out the activity.
Every factor which has an advantage is also associated with various disadvantages. This is no exception when it comes to architectural design and the use of computers. For instance, for an architect to come up with a building’s design through the use of computer aided software programs, the architect must to be computer literate. This means that the architect has to spend more time and money to become computer literate so as to be able to make use of the computer software program as required. (Bruinessen, Hopman, DeNucci & Oers 2011).
Events and External Ideas Have Been Incorporated In the Development of These Architectural Designs
There are four major events which marked the early development of computer aided architectural design. The first event is the studies which were carried out by Clark and Sounder which formed the foundation of the layout which was computer aided. This event took place in the years 1963 and 1964. The second event which took place in 1965 involved the manipulation and representation of buildings which were graphical in nature as objects. The third event involved the act of laying down foundations which were used for methods of design. In 1964, this view was considered important to computers use in the architectural design. The final event involved the architectural machine idea. This event took place in the year 1972 within the field of robotics. The machine was meant to be intelligent enough in that it could be involved in any activities of design whilst cooperating with the architect involved in a dialogue (Shaffie 2011).
Computer Aided Architectural Design Impact on the Society
Concepts which are available in the applications of CAAD are known to have an impact on the creativity and innovation capabilities of the people who use them. Therefore to the society CAAD creates an opportunity for researchers, students as well as professionals, who show an interest in the identified concepts of CAAD as this assists them in building their knowledge on these concepts as they are going to be involved in debate on the various lessons from the past concerning architectural design as well as the present and future impacts on the CAAD innovation. In addition to the reason above, computer aided architectural design has also played a major societal role of ensuring that there is proper urban planning as well as city and regional planning. This plays a part in reducing the disadvantage of congestion and any security or safety risk which may be associated to it (Bruinessen, Hopman, DeNucci & Oers 2011).
Comparison to Earlier Designs
Taking into consideration various architectural designs which have been produced in the architectural field these days, it is evident that the designs produced are more complex compared to the earlier designs. Other than complexity, the designs produced through the utilization of computers are of a higher quality compared to the designs which were earlier produced without the use of computers. This has resulted in various advantages and disadvantages setting in such as: improved safety. The use of computers in architectural design has ensured that there is an improved level of human safety since the chances of buildings collapsing have also been reduced as a result of better design procedures.
Other than the advantages, there are also disadvantages associated with the use of computers in architectural design for instance; the fact that architects have to be educated on how to use computers and software is a major impediment. This means spending more time and funds to be able to make use of CAAD. More time spent on design is also a disadvantage associated with the use of computers in today’s design in comparison to earlier design. The reason behind this is that most of the architectural designs which are delivered through the use of computers are complex in nature which means architects have to pay more attention to ensure that the output design presented is accurate as desired.
Influence of Computer Aided Architectural Design on the Community
Computer Aided architectural design has greatly influenced the community in that it has promoted the existing levels of interaction among the individuals of the community in that community members identify the designs they require and the architects involved ensure that the designs are produced through the help of computers. In addition to this, it has also promoted the existing level of communication which exists in a community in that as architects meet to discuss the various building designs, they take into consideration and the various views that the members of the community may have provided with regards to the type of buildings that they want to have in their neighbourhood (Bruinessen, Hopman, DeNucci & Oers 2011).
Impact of Building to Environmental Sustainability
Green building has gained momentum as the impact of environmental sustainability has continued to rise in the community. The buildings in which people live in, work in and play in are meant to offer protection from the extremes of nature which may have a negative effect on our health and the surrounding environment in various ways. Green building, also referred to as sustainable buildings have ensured that people are living within constructions considered to be healthy and efficient when it comes to the utilized resources.
Buildings ensure sustainability depending on the construction materials used as they ensure efficiency of materials such as energy and water and at the same time ensuring that the risks posed when it comes to health are also limited (Bruinessen, Hopman, DeNucci & Oers 2011)
In summary, the use of computers within the architectural field has proved to be advantageous since it has resulted in the development of architectural designs which are complex in nature. However, architects are required to be familiar with the use of computers to be able to make use of the computer aided architectural software to come up with the complex designs which is a disadvantage.
Archinomy, 2010. Viewed from http://www.archinomy.com/case-studies/1931/frank-owen-gehry
Bruinessen, T, Hopman, H, DeNucci, T, & Oers, B 2011, ‘Generating More Valid Designs during Design Exploration. (Cover story)’, Journal Of Ship Production & Design, 27, 4, pp. 153-161, Academic Search Premier, EBSCOhost, viewed 24 April 2012.
Design museum + British council, 2007, “zaha Hadid architecture and design”. Viewed from http://designmuseum.org/design/zaha-hadid
Desinon, E, 2009, the History of Building Design. Viewed April 23, 2012 from http://www.desinon.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=50:the-history-of-building-design&catid=35:about-us
Josie, W, 2011. Trip base‘9 most mathematically interesting building in the world”. Viewed from http://www.tripbase.com/blog/9-most-mathematically-interesting-buildings-in-the-world/
Shaffie, H, 2011. ‘The Roots of computer aided architectural form generation’. Viewed in April 24, 2012, from http://faculty.ksu.edu.sa/hs/Research/COMPUTER%20APPLICATIONS%20IN%20ARCHITECTURE%20-%20FORM%20GENERATION%20TOOLS.pdf
Tai, L, 2012, LANDSCAPE JOURNAL. Assessing the Impact of Computer Use on Landscape Architecture Professional Practice: Efficiency, Effectiveness, and Design Creativity. Viewed April 23, 2012 from http://lj.uwpress.org/content/22/2/113.short
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