Design Conceptualisation: The Rise of CAD

Design Conceptualisation: The Rise of CAD

Postby lexington » Wed Oct 19, 2005 4:12 pm

More and more, Planning Authorities demand the 'photomontage' to aid their deliberation on planning decisions. As a design aid, surely CAD is among one the most beneficial tools devised in modern years to realise the structures we permit on our landscapes - and continually, the quality, detail and realism of such tools has increased exponentially as the technology which makes it possible advances.

The emergence of many new visual rendering firms to meet the increasing demands of architects, developers and planning authorities is undoubtedly a sign on the value associated with such technology.

Established firms such as Pedersen Focus and ModelWorks, have been joined with emerging stars such as PixelLab. As the demand increases, undoubtedly so too will the competition.

I hope hear, we can develop a discussion on the use and contribution of CAD - as well as ideas on where such technology is going in terms of design. What is the next step in 3-D visual conceptualisation?

Some links may be found below to give an example of such works:

PixelLab
Pedersen Focus
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Re: Design Conceptualisation: The Rise of CAD

Postby tungstentee » Thu Oct 20, 2005 3:36 pm

i agree it does make everyones life easier in visualising in three dimensions...however there is plenty of potential to mislead with a sexy photmonatge...ie leave out the mega esb pylon in the background etc etc
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Re: Design Conceptualisation: The Rise of CAD

Postby ctesiphon » Fri Oct 21, 2005 2:42 am

Lex-
Are you suggesting that CAD should replace photomontages, or do you see them as somehow equivalent? I think there's a danger with each, as tungstentee says, of seductive images obfuscating content. Whether there is greater potential with these than with regular drawings I'm not sure.
It's late- I'll try and dream about it.
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Re: Design Conceptualisation: The Rise of CAD

Postby garethace » Fri Oct 21, 2005 8:42 pm

The trouble really is that people tend to separate things out far too much. All that you are seeing with the emergence of 3D modelling specialist firms in this country, is the misuse, of what is otherwise an interesting technology. It would be interesting if the assortment of people working as artists, designers, engineers and architects could spend more time with this stuff. But all you see with 'visualisation' nowadays, is the emergence of a way of using the technology, which is very, very ineffective. It is rather like the early days of steam where people with vast amounts of capital at their disposal - namely industries - created engines driven by steam power, and proceeded to harvest a meagre 0.5 % efficiency for the fuel consumed. Like the improvement of steam technology, it will take a good deal of lateral thinking before digital technology becomes a similar force in the economics of everyday life. I am talking here about the way steam initially used wood and later was combined with iron mines, coal mines and canals to produce the industrial revolution. Of course the 'raw materials' nowadays, to bring this technology to life, are the particular talents of human beings - rather than things you can mine straight out of the ground.

The really interesting and productive things start to happen when you get hybrids of this new and interesting digital technology with other more traditional ways of working with clay modelling, or balsawood - where you have the huge advantage of being able to manipulate the object, using precise skills the human being has learned through millenia - for using two hands in conjunction with eye-to-brain coordination. The trouble with the present method of using computers and visualisation - even with the most expensive equipment on the market - you are restricted to moving a pointer around a screen using one hand on a mouse. Even your own body knows it is wrong, because you end up with repetitive strain injury if you do it for long enough. But having said that, the mouse was one of the few 'real' breakthroughs in terms of interface with digital technology. You see the old traditional skills of weaving baskets, sculpted utilitarian objects like pots, and make vessels from planks of timber or something, in the third world, where people are still able and willing to do these things. And it is extremely interesting when you begin seeing a merger of those old ways with cheap available technology from the present. Here is one example, a fellow named Etienne Delacroix, who went to south america, and began teaching local engineers there to work more like artists - as opposed to the more common way of teaching artists to work like engineers. I know those are mounds of redundant microchips he is recycling there, but they could be bits of urban housing typologies, or something too. :-)

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Etienne Delacroix:

http://iie.fing.edu.uy/ense/asign/tap/material/FAB_Etienne.html
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Re: Design Conceptualisation: The Rise of CAD

Postby garethace » Sat Oct 22, 2005 7:15 pm

Desktop Engineer interesting article to give an idea of costs and state of technology at moment for digitising 3 dimensional objects etc.

http://www.deskeng.com/index.php?option=content&task=view&id=282

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Re: Design Conceptualisation: The Rise of CAD

Postby conos » Wed Oct 26, 2005 5:29 pm

personally i think the use of CAD visualisations brings many benefits to the whole process of construction. no matter how good your spacial reasoning is, surely all aspects of a buildings interaction with its environment can't be foreseen by just looking at flat views of each plane. it seams to me like a natural evolution/ extension of design rather than a fancy add on!
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Re: Design Conceptualisation: The Rise of CAD

Postby 3dimageworks » Sat Oct 29, 2005 7:09 pm

ctesiphon wrote:Lex-
Are you suggesting that CAD should replace photomontages


CAD visualisations/3Ds and most photomontages are essentially the same thing.
Most photomontages produced today are created with the very same software that we use to create 3D visualisations. The only difference being that on is "set in" a actual photo of the development and the other in a virtual environment.

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Re: Design Conceptualisation: The Rise of CAD

Postby ctesiphon » Sun Oct 30, 2005 5:28 pm

3dimageworks wrote:The only difference being that on is "set in" a actual photo of the development and the other in a virtual environment.

Perhaps it is the only difference, but it's a crucial difference, particularly when one of the principal purposes of such tools is to facilitate non-professional understanding of, say, the impacts of a development. Ass I said above, such tools can be dangerous in that they can deliberately or accidentally misrepresent the reality of a situation, so I'd question the use of the term 'photomontages' to describe some of the thus-titled images that often accompany planning applications.
However, and on a more general point, 'photomontages' carries with it the implication of veracity and honesty- "But look! We took the original pictures on site!", whereas anyone with even a passing familiarity with photography knows that there are too many variables in the process (lens type, exposure, focal length, etc etc)) to permit reliability. In other words, you can pretty much take any picture you require if you have the right equipment, not to mention the manipulability that comes with the digital age. Having said that, there is no single method of illustration/depiction that is fail-safe. And there is no substitute for familiarising oneself with a proposed development site by actually visiting it.

For either photomontages or 3D mock-ups to have any worth in the planning system, they should be carried out by a third party not attached to the developer. I worked in a planning consultancy and I recall one of the senior associates saying 'We can't use that one, but this one looks great! Do you think we could get [the company that produced them] to re-do these from a different angle?"
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Re: Design Conceptualisation: The Rise of CAD

Postby garethace » Sun Oct 30, 2005 5:49 pm

For either photomontages or 3D mock-ups to have any worth in the planning system, they should be carried out by a third party not attached to the developer. I worked in a planning consultancy and I recall one of the senior associates saying 'We can't use that one, but this one looks great! Do you think we could get [the company that produced them] to re-do these from a different angle?"


Current thinking about 3D visualisation seems to reflect dis-connection between designer, and digital tools. Before personal computers, laptops and palm pilots, there were mainframes and minicomputers. Noone was allowed near a mainframe computer except a special team of 'high priests' who maintained the computer and cared for it. In the post world war II era, computing was 'too expensive' to allow people direct access to. Now a computer with more power is found on a livingroom floor. But years before the Playstation became a reality, the interface with a computer, was a clerk you spoke to at a desk. If you were lucky, you were permitted to submit 'a calculation' written on punch cards. The 'high priests' who cared for 'the computer' would feed the punch cards into the computer for you. The computer would serve a whole institution, and represented a very large capital investment. After a week, you would return to the big glass building, which housed the computer, and receive the results. This often involved 'a business trip' to a different country or state, because computers were so precious, rare and valuable. Sometimes, if a punctuation mark was misplaced in the code, you would receive a useless result or perhaps no result at all. You would have to wait for another week and hope the program executed properly the next time.

Even though times have changed, architects still use 3D visualisation as if it were the 1940s. You don't need creative people involved in this process of running back and forth. All you need is a team of bureaucrats to 'go fetch'. In the old days, the trip to the big glass building, was treated like a business trip for executives working in banks etc. The bank purchased computer time on the mainframe to calculate interest rates etc. Nowadays, any member of the public, can look up interest rates on the internet. In the architectural practice in Ireland today, we hold onto the notion of the 'high priest'. Because older architects in charge are more comfortable with the separation of a designer from technology. It preserves a neat and organised view of things, appropriate in the post WWII era. The architectural designer, or masterplanner has to wait while the high priest massages the computer code into a result everyone 'is happy' with. At the end of this very long and expensive process, a kind of deal is struck, where the client goes off with the image. Having paid a computer administrator for computer time and expertise with a 'digital airbrush'. This method of computer usage, is a long ways from the interaction the architect has with other objects, like drawings or cardboard models. Where the designer can work up a solution directly and discuss it in real time with fellow designers.

Brian O' Hanlon.

http://www.open2.net/digitalplanet/souls/Script3/scriptp1.htm

http://www.open2.net/digitalplanet/souls/Script3/scriptp2.htm

http://www.open2.net/digitalplanet/souls/Script3/scriptp3.htm
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Re: Design Conceptualisation: The Rise of CAD

Postby r_mc_gowan » Mon Nov 14, 2005 3:50 pm

what do you all think of the use of advanced pre-visualisation media, such as real-time renderings and walk through animations?? is there a large demand for this??
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Re: Design Conceptualisation: The Rise of CAD

Postby ctesiphon » Mon Nov 14, 2005 7:40 pm

After reading recently that Councillors in a local authority (can't remember which one- Kerry maybe?) were taking lessons in how to use their new laptops, my hopes for new technology applications in the design, visualisation and/or planning fields would be low at best. It is some way off as yet. Also, see my posts above re the seduction of glossy images. I fear people would be seduced by them without thinking of the real-world context in which developments actually take place.

Also: garethace-
What does your response above have to do with the quote of mine that you extracted? I just saw your reply today but can't see any connection. The point I was making was that the involvement of a third party would hopefully add a measure of objectivity to the process, rather than the devil citing scripture for his own purpose, so to speak. It was nothing to do with a capability disconnection between designer and technology. Am I misreading you?
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Re: Design Conceptualisation: The Rise of CAD

Postby garethace » Tue Nov 15, 2005 11:24 pm

What does your response above have to do with the quote of mine that you extracted? I just saw your reply today but can't see any connection. The point I was making was that the involvement of a third party would hopefully add a measure of objectivity to the process, rather than the devil citing scripture for his own purpose, so to speak. It was nothing to do with a capability disconnection between designer and technology. Am I misreading you?


No, you are not misreading me, but I will take some time to draw on a few more points. Where is the budget to pay the non-objective third party visualist going to come from? Lets get the history straight here. If you do go back far enough, or know anyone involved in computer-aided visual impact assessment in the early days - I am talking about the 1980s and early 1990s - they marketed themselves to do the kind of job you describe. But they didn't get anywhere. After a while, more and more graphic designers and CG people came on the scene looking for work. Their background primarily in producing 'commerical art'. Those artists have not got the training and simply don't appreciate the distinction you are making. These later, artistically trained visualists realised it was easy to go to auctioneers, and get some of that nice juicy 'marketing' budget associated with large developments. Why wouldn't they jump at such an opportunity? But what it did, was bury that early breed of visualist who cared about the impact of the development on the environment - it became all about 'pixel pushing', and nothing to do with physical reality.

I had quite an interesting discussion with a pixel pusher on this thread:

http://www.cgarchitect.com/vb/showthread.php?t=1622

I don't know, I think the design of that facade was abominable, and I hope the planners stopped it. But when I tried to raise the point, it was a bad image to be using in the 'Finished Work' critique, I got into a much longer discussion about the purpose of visualisation in general.

But the fact remains that the world still needs renderers and that our job, usually, is to help with project marketing.


http://www.cgarchitect.com/vb/showthread.php?t=1622&page=2

But, foolishly again, I will try to make it clear to you that I do NOT really care about the input an architect made in any given rendering. You seem worried that the 'architect' will get squeezed right out of the architectural rendering. I'm fine with ural rendering. I hope to shift my client-base away from architects and towards owners/developers.


http://www.cgarchitect.com/vb/showthread.php?t=1622&page=7

The fellow I banged heads with there, is from a long family of American Architectural Illustrators, and if you take the time to read through the thead, you will get the jist of things. I appreciate where he was coming from, but I also think there are dangers in what he is saying. I will leave it up to yourself to make up your own mind though. In conclusion, Computer-aided architectural Visualisation started as a kind of third party imaging service, that would be an exact representation of the final product. This comes from the traditions of rapid prototyping in industrial and mechanical design. Where you make a first prototype version of your widget, to test out a physical object, rather than a drawing. But after a while, the artists just exchanged their watercolours and air brushes for colour printers and silicon chips. Like how digital photography is replacing film negatives. The digital artists with no appreciation for architecture often, did the work fast and cheap. They didn't understand anything about impact assessment or scale of buildings or the appearance of materials. They managed to push out the earlier kind of visualist - the one who cared about the impact of the building. The rest is history. Architects were caught badly, napping, here I feel - and they sacrificed 'market share' in the area of visualisation, to a bunch of pixel-pushers. Architects who tried to learn to push some pixels were soon pushed out of their own profession.

The biggest trouble with artistically trained Architectural Visualists, now doing the visualisation - is they need to be dictated to - by somebody. As I said, it is like the early days in computing, where you had your high priests who took care of the 'machine' and people who approached the high priests by arriving at a service counter, and dictating instructions on cards. But that stage of mainframe computing did not last for ever. Eventually the person dictating an instruction, became frustrated by this service counter 'barrier' between themselves and the machine. Eventually, that barrier was removed, and then more and more barriers became removed. Until eventually you can interact with the machine - as we have today - have a kind of basic conversation with it. We can go even further, to where the computer and the human being become one and the same. I talked to planners before at Cyburbia about visualisation, and came to the conclusion - that local authorities don't get the kind of budget necessary to use visualisation tools. Or even to employ others to undertake visualisation studies. Here is a good thread on Planners using Photoshop etc, a simple tools they seem to manage quite well:

http://www.cyburbia.org/forums/showthread.php?t=7360&highlight=visualisation

Here is a thread where I really challenged them, and got to the conclusion, as about lack of resources and what not.

I'm not sure what you are getting at. Are you trying to insult some of us? I don't think you are, but the way you wrote your post isn't exactly the best way to invite some of us to engage in a productive discussion about using Photoshop and improving our technique.


http://www.cyburbia.org/forums/showthread.php?t=7597&highlight=visualisation

But fair enough, the planners didn't appreciate much what I had suggested. But at the same time, the planners seemed to get a grip on Photoshop and Corel Draw, which is a hell of a lot more than many architects do.


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Re: Design Conceptualisation: The Rise of CAD

Postby ctesiphon » Wed Nov 16, 2005 12:19 am

Sorry garethace- I still don't see what your 30th Oct post has to do with the quote of mine you highlighted. Seems like you were just using it as a springboard for a tenuously related soliloquy (not unrelated to this thread, but unrelated to my post).

I had a look at those two Cyburbia threads, and their conclusion seemed to be that they are happy with the available technology as long as it allows them to get their message across. They see no need for separate cg artists as the artists are too expensive and ultimately unnecessary. But it has nothing to do with the point I was making about removing the task from the developer's advocates (architects or planning consultants), in the interest of objectivity. I still think the task should be done by a person/company not paid for by the developer. All about 'He who pays the piper calls the tune" (or whatever the phrase is).

Also, the threads seem to use the word 'planner' to refer to urban designers. Not the case in this country.

EDIT: You seemed to comprehensively re-write your post while I was responding to it. Now I'm not sure if my reply makes sense. It did make sense originally, I promise. :)
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Re: Design Conceptualisation: The Rise of CAD

Postby ctesiphon » Wed Nov 16, 2005 12:33 am

To respond to a point in your revised draft (don't go changing it while I'm writing now!)-

"The digital artists with no appreciation for architecture often, did the work fast and cheap. They didn't understand anything about impact assessment or scale of buildings or the appearance of materials. They managed to push out the earlier kind of visualist - the one who cared about the impact of the building."

I wonder if it wouldn't actually be better to use somebody who didn't have too much of an understanding about such things? Would it increase the objectivity? Would someone well-versed in architecture, rendering, (seduction?) be too capable of manipulating images for their client's ends, whereas someone not well-versed at all would just do the job with blinkers on (so to speak)?

I'm just thinking out loud really...
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Re: Design Conceptualisation: The Rise of CAD

Postby garethace » Wed Nov 16, 2005 12:34 am

You still haven't offered a suggestion as to who will pay the piper?

Who is going to pay the non-objective visualist?

I have offered suggestions as to how auctioneers and those associated with marketing budgets for large developments, have sponsored the work of a certain kind of visualist. And how that breed of visualist isn't necessarily someone well trained in environmental impact assessment - or even caring about such things. They just want some of the marketing money.

Also, the point about American Planners who post over at Cyburbia - is that in the States, unlike Ireland - the planners have a more integrated system - the planners there are urban designers - they have all spent 4-5 years at university, in a studio, with doing designs and drawings - in much the same way as architects do in college here in Ireland. So when you think of planner in the united states - that is a very different animal to the kind of planner you run into here in Ireland. I would argue that a lot of American planners are responsible for the design of the environment, and caring for it. They certainly seem aware of those things - if the discussion at Cyburbia is anything to judge by.

So if you take this point, about planners in the united states thinking about drawings, designs etc. It is just a natural progression for them to use a simple digital visualisation tool like Photoshop or Corel Draw. That is the extent of the ability of most architects here in Ireland anyhow - as far as the digital tools side of it goes. I tried to highlight the dis-connection between the planning and architectural 'TRADITIONS' here in this thread:

http://www.archiseek.com/content/showthread.php?t=4223

How the two traditions in Ireland seem to have forked and grown apart more and more. Which doesn't seem to be the case in other first world countries like America. I am sick and tired of Irish Planners pretending to be verbal and literary 'Code-based' professionals,... and likewise, I am just as sick and tired of Irish Architects, wearing their training in visual and pictograpahic representation, as if it were a pair of designer sneakers. While so conveniently managing to avoid the 'Code' because they call themselves 'creative' people. What is that? A 'creative' person, I mean? That we all have to bend down and pay homage to.

We still don't have a proper institution or school in this country that merges the two respective traditions of architecture and planning. The answers are to be found here - not in this wishful thinking for a third-party visualist. If you study the economics behind it - the visualist - is just an artist without any discerning capabilities or responsibilities beyond that of making money. Which in this case, comes straight out of the marketing budget for large commercial developments. The visualist I discussed this point with at CG Architect, is one of the most respected Illustrators in the United States - and quite frankly, his honestly about being in 'marketing' stands on its own. It doesn't 'try' to be anything other than what it is.


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Re: Design Conceptualisation: The Rise of CAD

Postby garethace » Wed Nov 16, 2005 12:38 am

I wonder if it wouldn't actually be better to use somebody who didn't have too much of an understanding about such things?


Thinking out loud is good, that's allowed.

But I am thinking from actually being there in the trenches, with this kind of thing.

If you leave it to people without understanding, I honestly believe, you will get building visualisations, that make no sense at all - except in the sense they are made from pixels. You could not possibly convince any client out there to spend money building this kind of balcony structure - it is like Stone Henge trying to be cool and modern. Uhhh!

http://www.cgarchitect.com/vb/showthread.php?t=1622

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Re: Design Conceptualisation: The Rise of CAD

Postby ctesiphon » Wed Nov 16, 2005 12:46 am

garethace wrote:You still haven't offered a suggestion as to who will pay the piper?

The developer pays, but doesn't get to choose. And doesn't get to manipulate the results. Or the state pays- this would be a way of increasing the chances of objectivity, and would be justifiable as large scale projects will always have an impact on the public at large.

I see the difference between the American interpretation of 'planner' and the Irish one. But you seem to be using the American one on an Irish discussion board.

garethace wrote:I am just as sick and tired of Irish Architects, wearing their training in visual and pictogrpahic representation, as if it were a pair of designer sneakers. That we all have to bend down and pay homage to. We still don't have a proper institution or school in this country that merges the two respective traditions of architecture and planning. The answers are to be found here - not in this wishful thinking for a third-party visualist.

The answers are to be found where now?

I remember reading one of your essays elsewhere on this board (maybe it was the thread you linked above) about the disconnection between planners and architects. My (tongue in cheek) response was about planning being a white slug in a dark room or something, if I remember. I disagreed then and I disagree now. I think you have a view of planners (Irish version) that you've created in order to justify your anti-planner stance, but which is not the truth at all.
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Re: Design Conceptualisation: The Rise of CAD

Postby ctesiphon » Wed Nov 16, 2005 3:24 am

Having followed your links to the other boards, which linked back to this site, it seems like you've been down this road before.
http://www.archiseek.com/content/showthread.php?t=2664

Judging by your approach on cgarchitect.com:
garethace on cgarchitect.com wrote:I am laying down a lot of smoke here on purpose

...and in the archiseek thread I linked above, I think I'll be taking a back seat in this one from now on. You seem to have an agenda of some sort that seems not to rely on dialogue.

It's funny that you're still going on about the balconies, when the other users of the cgarchitect forum repeatedly asked you to stay on topic (i.e. the quality of the rendering rather than a critique of the design). And it appears from that forum that it was the fault of the architect rather than the renderer that the balconies were so cruddy, but that doesn't fit your thesis.

Your links:
http://www.cgarchitect.com/vb/showthread.php?t=1622
http://www.cyburbia.org/forums/showthread.php?t=7360&highlight=visualisation
http://www.cyburbia.org/forums/showthread.php?t=7597&highlight=visualisation
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Re: Design Conceptualisation: The Rise of CAD

Postby conos » Thu Nov 17, 2005 10:22 pm

If you leave it to people without understanding, I honestly believe, you will get building visualisations, that make no sense at all - except in the sense they are made from pixels. You could not possibly convince any client out there to spend money building this kind of balcony structure - it is like Stone Henge trying to be cool and modern. Uhhh!



There seems to be little understanding of how these cg images are created by Garethace. you don't seem to grasp that the images aren't just randomly drawn up out of the brain of some "pixel pusher" as you so eloquently put it, but are produced solely from the drawings of the architect. As most drawings are in a digital CAD format now days, thi leaves very little to the imagination of the designer, its is simply a matter of following the instructions as laid down by the architect in his or her drawings. So if the balconies you used in your example are badly designed - it simply means the architect didn't do their job properly.
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Re: Design Conceptualisation: The Rise of CAD

Postby garethace » Sat Nov 19, 2005 2:29 pm

Dick Gleeson speaks a lot about planning applications, where 'you are not getting it'. Meaning the materials, the treatment of the facade etc, etc - that comes easier to some designers than it does to others. So based on that point of view, some planning applications would be refused, because 'you are not getting it'. Basically, it means the designer is asked to go off and 'try again' and perhaps the next time, pay a little more attention, and try and get it right. Planners are attempting to ensure, that projects receive the quality of design and use of materials, etc that the site and building project deserves.

So if the balconies you used in your example are badly designed - it simply means the architect didn't do their job properly.


I think that sentence sums it up. I would stand behind what you have said there, that the architects sometimes don't do their job properly. Even when the visualisation kind of underlines that lack of effort to work on the balcony expression or something - laziness on there part really - to try to work on something, that isn't quite there. Of course an architect could say, the client didn't give me the time and resources. But in that case, should an architect really put their name to it? That is the hard part, is the designer willing to put their name to it? Because, when the designer is willing to put their name to something that half-baked, well then, with the 'pixel-pushing' capabilities of graphic artists nowadays - literally anything will fly. Your designer, the architect is the one real safety valve you have in the entire system.

The developer pays, but doesn't get to choose. And doesn't get to manipulate the results. Or the state pays- this would be a way of increasing the chances of objectivity, and would be justifiable as large scale projects will always have an impact on the public at large.


You should realise, that the above statement speaks so loudly and clearly of someone, who can grown up in a certain kind of 'design environment', and absorbed a little too much of its patterns and thinking.

The 'White Slug' point - well, you have a forking of the two traditions in Ireland - planners knowing the code extremely well - architects supposedly knowing the visual side of it. If the planner had more visual training and the architect more code-based understanding, then they would create much better dialogue, and come up with a better end result. But since you have this forking of the traditions of planning and architecture in Ireland - with both parties setting boundaries - then you have this split. When you have two distinct parties, it is easy to make it three distinct parties, then someone else suggests four distinct parties. And so on. All the while the interfaces of collaboration between the parties are becoming more complicated, and each one speaking in their own customised language. I think your suggestion about a non-objective third party just seems to indicate somebody who has grown up in a tradition where the traditions got split. And now having made it two distinct parties, it is so easy to suggest making it three distinct parties. And on, and on, until you eventually have so many different parties, that dialogue is completely impossible.

America is a vast space, a huge terroritory. One thing we can learn from the Americans is efficiency. All of the CAD tools, this discussion thread is about - have been painstakingly grown and developed by American software engineers and masters down through the years. From the early 1960s, when Ivan Sutherland produced his 'Sketchpad' application to the present where the CAD industry is a huge American high-value software export. But the point about American efficiency that I most admire, is their effort to train the planning profession to think in terms of design as well as in code. Likewise, an architect in the United States has to think in terms of budget, costs and design. Unlike their counterparts here in Europe. The Americans have been like that from the start. Remember in Ireland, the Department of the Environment only cobbled together 'Building Regulations' in the mid 1990s. That was the very first time, architects were even asked to think about code as such. Prior to that, code was just for Boffins 'who wanted to destroy their creativity'. In the United States, at least, the planner and architect can sit down and share more of the same language together.

I think we need to think about this point in Ireland, and question what we want our planners and architects to do. To sit in completely separated compartments, on different sides of the fence - or communicate better with each other. The idea of suggesting a third split again, in addition to the splitting of architecture and planning - just seems to me, to be a suggestion from a person who has grown up, with the idea of splitting of traditions, firmly embedded in their thinking. Don't ask me, to try and speculate what advantage that way of thinking might have. Because all I see with it, is inefficiency, confusion and vulnerability to corruption and mis-dealing. Our system in Ireland is too full of holes. Your strategy of fragmentation and forking just increases the vulnerability of the system - is is not helping the system - to stay immune from most corruption. That is the basic rule of interogation that cops use, to place all of the suspects in separate rooms and bounce false stories off of each of them, until someone cracks and gives the other one away. So out in the real world, you have hit men, employed to 'take the other guy out', and basically a mobster underworld is created. With a different compartment for visualisation, architecture, planning and the 'money guys' you are leaving the system wide open for the interogation to proceed, and rip what system there is, to shreds.


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Re: Design Conceptualisation: The Rise of CAD

Postby ctesiphon » Mon Nov 21, 2005 1:24 am

Your sweeping generalisations and deep character analysis make it hard for me to keep my word on holding my tongue.

Which "certain kind of 'design environment'," have I grown up in now?
And what are the "patterns and thinking" of which I have absorbed too much?
At a guess, I suspect I have more design training and familiarity with the architectural side (as you see it) than many architects working today. Also, my suggestions come from first-hand experience of the planning consultancy side rather than from any 'design environment' as you might believe.

I can't even really dispute your forking argument as I disagree fundamentally with your characterisation of planning as some sort of 'code'. As I said before on the thread you linked above, it's not simply a mechanistic button-pushing, number-crunching exercise.
Also, I have "grown up in a tradition where the traditions got split"? Meaning they were once as one? Whatever similarities either profession has or had to some 19th century ideal, such a romantic notion has long since passed into history.

I'm not arguing that we should have infinite sub-groups in a Babel-like cacophony. You seem to think that I'm putting this option forward only to further fragment the built environment field(s), whereas the point I made above was to do with the removal of some key tasks from biased actors, nothing more than that (a bias that would be more common in a world that lacked the necessary professional separation, IMHO).
It is possible for different professions to have different areas of expertise but still to be able to communicate effectively with each other. Doctors and nurses, drivers and mechanics, solicitors and barristers to name just some off the top of my head.

I find it oddd that, on the one hand, you extol the virtues of efficiency, while on the other hand you seem wedded to the anti-specialisation argument. Don't you see this as contradictory?
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Re: Design Conceptualisation: The Rise of CAD

Postby garethace » Mon Nov 21, 2005 11:59 pm

Which "certain kind of 'design environment'," have I grown up in now?
And what are the "patterns and thinking" of which I have absorbed too much?
At a guess, I suspect I have more design training and familiarity with the architectural side (as you see it) than many architects working today. Also, my suggestions come from first-hand experience of the planning consultancy side rather than from any 'design environment' as you might believe.


Anyone who has come through the system, of being trained in one of the built environment professions - planning, surveying, highway engineering, architecture, landscape design etc, cannot be blamed for having absorbed the terriorial behaviouralisms of those organisations. Their disks have been corrupted even before the program could be installed. To really claim to know anything about urban design, I think that one has to go beyond the mere 'fenced off' mentality of those professions. Slowly but surely those groupings are losing their relevance and their meaning for modern society and ways of living.


I can't even really dispute your forking argument as I disagree fundamentally with your characterisation of planning as some sort of 'code'. As I said before on the thread you linked above, it's not simply a mechanistic button-pushing, number-crunching exercise.



It is often a mechanistic button pushing exercise. Pedestrianisation is an example of rubbish code created by people who don't deserve to be termed urbanists. Like take the xmas shopping environment at the moment - how is that a good environment? You go into a department store, which messes up the legibility of the internal circulation on purpose, so that when you get so exhausted you impulse buy, because you are so tired and confused, and surrounded by things with price tags on them. People should be given choice.

Look at the mechanistic way that Dublin Bus drivers pull into Belfield campus in the mornings and use it as a bus parking depot? If you stand at the west entrance to Belfield any morning, you can count roughly a bus every 10 seconds pulling in the university, with two or three students on it. This strange phenomena created out of two pieces of code: firstly, a decision to build a university in the middle of a whole load of surface car parking, and second a vehicular transport system like buses riding along motorways ajacent to a university campus. We are surrounded by an environment created by different bits of code, which don't fit very well together at the edges. Everyone is trying to build their own sofeware, but there is no overall operating system.


Whatever similarities either profession has or had to some 19th century ideal, such a romantic notion has long since passed into history.



I don't think it a romantic notion actually. It is assumed that no one individual can know all of the knowledge there is to know. But David Deutsch has looked at that perception and challenged it in the first chapter of 'The Fabric of Reality'. According to Deutsch, We are not moving towards fragmentation of knowledge, but rather away from it. All of the professions have indeed been organised around this notion, of greater and greater fragmentation. It was founded upon the believe that no one individual could possibly know everything. But as we move towards better and better explanations of the world, and how it functions, there is less and less need for 'many theories'.

Soon, you will have less and less theories, and maybe eventually, have one grand theory of everything. One example Deutsch gives, was when numbers changed from being Roman numerals to the Arabic system of decimals. Prior to that, the two systems for ordering numbers co-existed together, even though one was more cumbersome than the other. But when people realised the virtues of using decimal, there was simply no use for two numbering systems. In our understanding of the world, and the various people tasked with its design and building - we are moving away from specialists and towards generalists believe it or not.

I urge you to investigate that chapter in David Deutsch's book for yourself sometime.


I'm not arguing that we should have infinite sub-groups in a Babel-like cacophony. You seem to think that I'm putting this option forward only to further fragment the built environment field(s), whereas the point I made above was to do with the removal of some key tasks from biased actors, nothing more than that (a bias that would be more common in a world that lacked the necessary professional separation, IMHO).



If you believe that, then you are moving in exactly the direction, those biased actors want you to move. The reason 'biased actors' became 'biased actors' of any importance in the first place - was because they learned to melt together all of the different traditions. Separate headings like planning, surveying, highway engineering, architecture and landscape design. The real people who are supposed to own all of the talent, have become stuck and bottled up inside these 'cages' that they have created for themselves. I would compare it to when Bruce Lee managed to integrate all of the different martial arts, which grew over the centuries. Of course the various ancient martial arts traditions didn't like that either. They threatened to take his life in fact, they were so perturbed by his teaching of this new 'unified' way of looking at martial arts.


It is possible for different professions to have different areas of expertise but still to be able to communicate effectively with each other. Doctors and nurses, drivers and mechanics, solicitors and barristers to name just some off the top of my head.



Not true, as my example of pedestrianisation, shopping, dublin bus transport system and location of universities points out - everyone is busy compiling their own software. The IBM 360 project in the 1960s, was a very ambitious project in its day. What is did was, write one operating sytem, that could run across all of the IBM computer systems. That was the first time, this was ever done. It created a platform for the computer industry in the United States, that allowed it to thrive for decades afterwards. We need the IBM 360 project, for the planning and environmental design of this country. We will not get it, as long as everyone continues to exist within their own little 'product' groups. See 'The Mythical Man Month' by Frederick Brooks, published by O'Reilly for more information on writing good resilient code. Frederick was the architect and project manager on the IBM 360 operating system.

I will quote something here, from the Urban Design Group website, http://www.udg.org.uk, Issue 85. I think the book written by by Kelvin Campbell and Rob Cowan, is coming from much the same ideas and viewpoint as those expressed in the David Deutsch book, The Fabric of Reality.


Despite the fact that all of these people are shaping our towns and cities, few will receive any training in how complex urban places work.


Imagine if the medical profession trained its members to be specialists first. Some would become brain surgeons; some ear, nose and throat specialists; some paediatricians. A few would go on to do further training in the basics of physiology. Such people would be able to make the proud claim that, for example, they were not only expert in brain surgery, but that they also understood how the blood circulated and what lungs were for. The idea is crazy, of course. Such a profession would have dead bodies on its hands. But that is how the UK’s built environment professions are trained. We have dead places.


I quoted some more of that Kelvin Campbell and Rob Cowan book here:

http://www.archiseek.com/content/showthread.php?t=4463

As I said, the real trouble with Archiseek, is that is isolated into its own little world - and many parallel debates are taking place not so far away from Archiseek discussion forum, but we tend not to listen to them quite enough. That is one of my few and biggest criticism of the Archiseek discussion forum concept in general, btw.


I find it oddd that, on the one hand, you extol the virtues of efficiency, while on the other hand you seem wedded to the anti-specialisation argument. Don't you see this as contradictory?


There is a modern fascination for design by consensus and collaboration. Which has been fueled by technologies like email and personal computers. But there are also many pitfalls to look out for. One person should define the components of the project. One person should define clean interfaces for constrained collaboration. Because most of the 'bugs' in the system cluster at those interfaces. Like the phenomenon, of Dublin Bus making University College Dublin into their own private bus park.


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Re: Design Conceptualisation: The Rise of CAD

Postby ctesiphon » Tue Nov 22, 2005 2:14 am

I disagree.
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Re: Design Conceptualisation: The Rise of CAD

Postby sarcastic » Mon Dec 12, 2005 3:04 pm

All i know about making visualisations I learned all by my self. If there are enterprises that make these things- there must be a demand for them.
What is viz for? Simple- to show architecturaly uneducated people what they othervise wouldn't understand. Once I made a 3d just to prove my customer, that a green roof is a no-no in that case.
http://www.duareka.com
Some of visualisations i made. Not the best of them though. Mostly made in a rush- "I want it done yesterday" style :]
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Re: Design Conceptualisation: The Rise of CAD

Postby garethace » Mon Dec 12, 2005 11:02 pm

Thumbs up! Though the renders are simple, they are good at communicating an idea. Keep it up. I like it when designers join forces with the digital paintbrush. That normally produces a result worth looking at. Even if it lacks the professional touch of the full-time visualist. When you separate designer and visualist, all you get is the visualist's 'view of design'. It lacks some of the depth a full-time designer can draw upon. A good visualist needs a very cool rationale. The visualist will say, how many pixels do I need to render? What is the cost of producing those pixels? How much time do I have to manually fiddle around with those pixels on my screen? Same with architectural photography. A good architectural photographer must think about selling those glossy magazines covers, not creating good architecture. In other words, a sound business brain is needed to be a visualist or photographer. All credit must go to Frank McDonald and what he has managed to accomplish with his publications. But it is architecture seen through 'the lense of journalism'. Frank I realise, is in the business of selling words.

The planning community here in Ireland, have made attempts down through the years to circumvent the architectural profession. It seems with computer aided visualisation, the planner might finally succeed. Insisting that visualists, are the ones to provide a true and real impression of architecture. It is all about making the architect smaller and easier to deal with. The visualists have not complained. As long as planners continue to wage war, the bank balance of visualists is only getting bigger. Architecture itself, is the ultimate loser. It suffers from a lack of intelligent input, from both the architect and planner. The trouble with visualisation, is the planners think they can become 'designers', inadvertedly, without having to go through the pain and suffering that is Architecture School in Ireland. The digital technology of rendering images, available at competitive prices, means that planners can now insist, that every project receives the 'visual treatment' - a bucolic blast of feel-good indie pop.

Brian O' Hanlon.

In most people's vocabularies, design means veneer. It's interior decorating. It's the fabric of the curtains of the sofa. But to me, nothing could be further from the meaning of design. Design is the fundamental soul of a human-made creation that ends up expressing itself in successive outer layers of the product or service.

Steve Jobs


http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/authors/s/steve_jobs.html
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