1 Of sails and sieves and sticky tape
This chapter concentrates on creative conceptual design and will not deal with downstream issues of detailed technical development or the generation of production information. The title of the Distributed Intelligence in Design symposium used only the word ‘design’. It is not until we got into the description of the conference theme that the word ‘production’ appeared. From then on ‘design’ and ‘production’ were as inexorably linked like ‘love and marriage’, as the song would have it. I challenge that assumption, all the more dangerous because it is implicit rather than explicit. In particular, I am concerned about the dangers of developing knowledge structures and applications for the production stages of construction that then wash back into design.
In a paper very well known in the design research world, Nigel Cross asked us: ‘Why isn’t using a CAD system a more enjoyable, and perhaps, also more intellectually demanding experience than it has turned out to be?’ Nigel argued that CAD may in some cases be quicker, but it is more stressful and there is no evidence that the results are better (Cross 2001).
I have taught in schools of architecture that are privileged to have the most able students of their generation. Whether in Sheffield, in Singapore and China, in Holland and Norway, in Sydney or America, I find the same thing. Students no longer think computers are either difficult or extraordinary; they are just a fact of everyday ...