Featured Article: THE TOOLS OF DIGITALIA

Architecture culture is infatuated with and steeped in the

DIGITAL

, but not in the ways that most people outside of architecture imagine.

If you ever see a form of software that designs a building for you, it's unlikely that any architect had anything to do with it. Most architects use digital tools to draw buildings in two dimensions, as you would on a

drafting board

; to model buildings in three dimensions so you can look at them from many sides; to embed models with data so the software "knows" what all those lines represent; or to render models in still or animated views so you can see and understand them better. Architects have used digital tools in these ways for over 20 years for designs created outside of the computer.

But digital tools are also now used to create or fabricate architecture projects from the first moment of design. In many cases, architects use software that was originally developed for other disciplines — like for industrial, automotive, or aeronautic design or special effects for film. These other disciplines invented tools that have expanded the ways that architects think about buildings.

Architecture students quickly learn about using digital technology — for instance, how it rarely saves time, how it can change the design

process

, and how learning the logic of programs is more important than learning specific software because something new is always right around the corner. Like any tool, software suggests ways of working, but inevitably, you're the designer and you make the choices about what you want within the context of the whole project. No magic buttons here! This is hard and thoughful work.

"PUSH A BUTTON, GET A HOUSE? THE TOOLS OF DIGITALIA"