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DRPS : Course Catalogue : Edinburgh College of Art : Architecture and Landscape Architecture

Postgraduate Course: Computer-Aided Design after 1960: Critical Practice and Disciplinary Debates (ARCH11278)

Course Outline
SchoolEdinburgh College of Art CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryThis course focuses on developments in computer-aided design in Great Britain, the United States and elsewhere between 1960 and the present. It aims to enable students to think critically about, and develop a set of arguments and positions on the role of computers, digital media and information technology in the making and functioning of architecture and the built environment.
Course description This course considers the primary developments in computer-aided design in Great Britain and the United States primarily (to a lesser degree Japan and China) during the second half of the twentieth century. A reading seminar with weekly lectures and group discussions, the course invites students to relate and distinguish the various traditions of thought and practice that were invented and extended during this period. Through an exploration of phenomena such as the first human-machine graphical communication system for design (Ivan Sutherland's SketchPAD), and the early parametric modeling systems for the building industry (e.g. Charles Eastman's BDS system), we will seek to understand the immediate and long-term effects of computational technology and information technology on architectural practice and discourse. Through reading, writing and group discussions, we will define what it meant for designers and architects to work computationally in a range of geographic, cultural, political, socioeconomic, and material contexts. We will also familiarize ourselves with the major writings of some of the key scholars of this historically recent but rapidly emerging field.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Information for Visiting Students
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Not being delivered
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of a range of key histories, theories and practices of computer-aided design and information technology in the architecture and planning professions.
  2. Critically review and extend understanding of a particular topic of computing/computer-aided design evidencing awareness of contested, constructed discourse.
  3. Produce a coherent, well-written and illustrated piece of academic writing (following appropriate referencing conventions), that demonstrates familiarity with and a critical perspective on key primary and secondary texts addressing computer-aided design after 1960.
Reading List
Alexander, Christopher. The Question of Computers in Design. Landscape 14, no. 3 (1967), pp. 6-8.

Coons, Steven A. An Outline for the Requirements of a Computer-Aided Design System. In Proceeding AFIPS '63 (Spring), Proceedings of the May 21-23, 1963, Spring Joint Computer Conference (1963), pp. 299-304.

Cross, Nigel. Designerly Ways of Knowing: Design Discipline Versus Design Science. Design Issues 17, no. 3 (2001), pp. 49-55.

Eastman, Charles. The Use of Computers Instead of Drawings in Building Design. AIA Journal (March 1975), pp. 46-50.

Light, Jennifer S. When Computers Were Women. Technology and Culture 40 (1999), pp. 455-83.

Simon, Herbert. The Science of Design: Creating the Artificial. Design Issues 4, no. 1/2 (1988), pp. 67-82.
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Students will be able to show readiness to critically review, consolidate and extend knowledge, skills, practices and thinking in the subject.
Students will be able to communicate with peers, more senior colleagues and specialists about the topic.
Students will demonstrate leadership and/or initiative and make an identifiable contribution to change and development and/or new thinking in this field.
KeywordsComputer Aided Design,Architectural Critical Practice,Critical Media Studies
Course organiserMiss Moa Carlsson
Course secretaryMr Aidan Cole
Tel: (0131 6)50 2306
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