Computing helps with the complex design of modern architecture

Federation-Square-AtriumThis laid the foundation for computer aided design (CAD), which, over the next 60 years, replaced the drafting pen and tracing paper with the mouse and monitor in most architectural practices.

But while, for most, computing in architecture is a replacement technology, there are always rebels who want to experiment as discussed by The Conversation.

Architects think and draw at the same time, at the design stage as well as detailing the building for construction. And it quickly became apparent that no software can think or design as fast as a doodle on paper (or the infamous napkin). Nor could a program replace the lateral problem solving ability of a human.

All CAD software has limitations. Developers simply cannot program enough tools within the software environment to cater for all the possible applications, let alone to condition creative and lateral thinking.

But why only work within the software written by others when you can write your own? Since the 1970s, a number of pioneering architects and designers have taken it on themselves to be both programmer and designer. In other words, they started to program design.

What emerges at first are the use of algorithms in design to develop forms and spatial organisation through programming logic. With advancement of software and interjection from other disciplines such as film, aerospace and product engineering, architects are now designing ever more complex geometries to explore unprecedented spatial conditions and relationships.

A built example is the Atrium at the Federation Square, in Melbourne, Victoria, by LAB architecture studio. This urban atrium not only constructs new relationships between the city and the river, it also creates a multi-layered space for social encounter and art installation. Structures like these are difficult to conceive in the human mind.

From the straight line of early CAD software to free form geometry, computing has liberated the creativity of the profession in the past 60 years. The impact of computing in architecture is immense and this will continue to shape the future of our cities. To read more at the Conversation click here.

The 9th International Urban Design Conference will be held in Melbourne in November.  Registrations are now open, CLICK HERE to register for the Conference.

Authors or organisations interested in presenting at the 9th International Urban Design Conference are invited to submit an abstract. To submit an abstract CLICK HERE.

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