Computer-aided architectural design

Computer-aided architectural design (CAAD) software programs are the repository of accurate and comprehensive records of buildings and are used by architects and architectural companies.

The first program was installed back in the 1960s, to help architects save time instead of drawing their blueprints. Computer-aided design also known as CAD was originally the type of program that architects used, but since CAD couldn’t offer all the tools that architects needed to complete a project, CAAD developed as a distinct class of software.

All CAD and CAAD systems employ a database with geometric and other properties of objects; they all have some kind of graphic user interface to manipulate a visual representation rather than the database; and they are all more or less concerned with assembling designs from standard and non-standard pieces. Currently, the main distinction which causes one to speak of CAAD rather than CAD lies in the domain knowledge (architecture-specific objects, techniques, data, and process support) embedded in the system. A CAAD system differs from other CAD systems in two respects:

It has an explicit object database of building parts and construction knowledge.
It explicitly supports the creation of architectural objects.
In a more general sense, CAAD also refers to the use of any computational technique in the field of architectural design other than by means of architecture-specific software. For example, software which is specifically developed for the computer animation industry (e.g. Maya and 3DStudio Max), is also used in architectural design. These programs can produce photo realistic 3d renders and animations. Nowadays real-time rendering is being popular thanks to the developments in graphic cards. The exact distinction of what properly belongs to CAAD is not always clear. Specialized software, for example for calculating structures by means of the finite element method, is used in architectural design and in that sense may fall under CAAD. On the other hand, such software is seldom used to create new designs.

In 1974 Caad became a current word and was a common topic of commercial modernization.

The CAAD software has a database of geometric shapes associated with certain properties. In contrast to the standard CAD software, the architect can resort to building-specific objects and data. The software knows all components together with their features and supports the creative use during the design phase.

The boundaries between CAAD software and other computer-aided signing software are not always clear. For example, classic animation programs, such as 3ds Max, are used to display and present or animate architect designs. The application of the finite element method can also be part of a CAAD software, is used very seldom in the design process and is only used for mathematical proof of building structures.

The structure of typical CAAD software usually consists of at least two levels. The first level is used to calculate and display the geometric definition of the design. This inner representation may consist of 2D or 3D models, depending on the software. At this level, the charts are linked to other data such as labels, dimensions, and material properties. The results of this process can be output as plans, floor plans, sections, views, and in 3D models in spatial representations.

On a second level, these aggregated, that is to say supplemented, geometric bodies are analyzed with database operations. This can be used to create meta-information in list form, such as arealists and lists for mass determination, bills of materials, in part construction time schedules. Since the computer can perform a high computing power and thus can calculate and display technically unworkable constructions and arrangements, this level limits and monitors the selection and scope and pays attention to the functionality (technical feasibility) of the design.

Another designation of design software is AEC (Architecture, Engineering, Construction). Here, more or better developed modules for the design, static calculation and tendering of components are often included. However, the limits to the CAAD are fluid.

Three-dimensional objects
CAAD has two types of structures in its program. The first system is surface structure which provides a graphics medium to represent three-dimensional objects using two-dimensional representations. Also algorithms that allow the generation of patterns and their analysis using programmed criteria, and data banks that store information about the problem at hand and the standards and regulations that applies to it. The second system is deep structure which means that the operations performed by the computer have natural limitations. Computer hardware and machine languages that are supported by these make it easy to perform arithmetical operations quickly and accurately. Also an almost illogical number of layers of symbolic processing can be built enabling the functionalities that are found at the surface.

Graphic representation
All CAD and CAAD systems use a database with the geometry and other properties of the objects, they all have some type of graphical user interface to manipulate a visual representation instead of the database, and they are all more or less related to the design and assembly of standard and non-standard parts. The main distinction made when referring to CAAD instead of CAD is found in the domain of knowledge (specific objects of architecture, techniques, data and process support) included in the system. A CAAD system differs from other CAD systems in two aspects:

It has a database of objects specific to constructive elements and construction knowledge.
Explicitly supports the creation of architectural objects.
In a more general sense, CAAD also refers to the use of any computational technique in the field of architectural design apart from the use of specific architecture software. For example, software that is developed specifically for the animation industry (such as, Maya or 3ds Max), is also used in architectural design. The distinction that belongs properly to the CAAD is not always clear to do. Specialized software, for example, for the calculation of structures using the finite element method, is used in architectural design, so in this sense it would correspond to the CAAD. On the other hand, such software is rarely used to create new designs. In CAAD one could also find the application of techniques such as formal grammar, evolutionary computation, and expert systems. For the support of the communication process, all types of collaborative work system supported by computer (CSCW) is implemented.

Another advantage to CAAD is the two way mapping of activities and functionalities.NOS. The two instances of mapping are indicated to be between the surface structures (TM1) and the deep structures (TM2). These mappings are abstractions that are introduced in order to discuss the process of design and deployment of CAAD systems. In designing the systems the system developers usually consider TM1. Here a one-to-one mapping is the typical statement, which is to develop a computer based functionality that maps as closely as possible into a corresponding manual design activity, for example, drafting of stairs, checking spatial conflict between building systems, and generating perspectives from orthogonal views. The architectural design processes tend to integrate models isolated so far. Many different kinds of expert knowledge, tools, visualization techniques, and media are to be combined. The design process covers the complete life cycle of the building. The areas that are covered are construction, operations, reorganization, as well as destruction. Considering the shared use of digital design tools and the exchange of information and knowledge between designers and across different projects, we speak of a design continuum.

An architect’s work involves mostly visually represented data. Problems are often outlined and dealt with in a graphical approach. Only this form of expression serves as a basis for work and discussion. Therefore, the designer should have maximum visual control over the processes taking place within the design continuum. Further questions occur about navigation, associative information access, programming and communication within very large data sets.

Source From Wikipedia