we doan need no steenkin computers part 2

inkognitoMarch 31, 2011

In a recent article by Witold Rybczynski about how computers have changed architecture by increasing the speed but reducing the thinking he uses this obscure quote from Renzo Piano The bad thing about computers is that they make everything run very fast, so fast that you can have a baby in nine weeks instead of nine months. But you still need nine months, not nine weeks, to make a baby. Sometimes I think the way a computer is used in landscape design thinking is bypassed altogether.

Here is a link that might be useful: Witold

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woodyoak zone 5 Canada(5b)

Having just yesterday submitted the last assignment for the CAD course I took through the University of Guelph's on-line distance education program, I'm thoroughly fed up with the computer design program at the moment! No doubt it would get better with time as you became more familiar with the program but I found it VERY irritating that I was changing the design and the planting in ways that made it easier to draw or label using the program! And it bothered me a lot that the instructor kept saying 'this is a CAD course, not a design course', wanting to keep the discussion focussed on how to use the program. I figured the program is a tool to help draw the design - yes, you need to master the technical aspects of the program, but it should be in the context of aiding you to design. I did not enjoy the class! (My marks are good - so far at least - but the program is quirky/finicky and a general PITA :-) I'm sure 'fast' happens eventually but it was very, very time-consuming at this stage of learning the program.

Thinking is not by-passed, but I found I was thinking about the wrong things.

    Bookmark   March 31, 2011 at 12:34PM
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We had similar discussions when I worked for an architectural firm. You would present a drawing to a client. After CAD, the clients felt just fine with having walls and other objects moved because it was just a line on a drawing. When it's hand drawn, the clients thought much more thought went into the plan.

    Bookmark   March 31, 2011 at 2:50PM
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Disagree. All a computer is in the design process is a tool. If the user is thinking less, that is the fault of the user - not the tool. Some amazing stone sculptors now use air chisels in their work. Is what they do any less thought out and beautiful? No, they have simply embraced a technology that allows them to be more efficient.

    Bookmark   April 1, 2011 at 8:43AM
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I think you misunderstood. I was saying the amount of thinking going into a computer drawing versus a hand drawing is the same. The clients don't always see it that way.

    Bookmark   April 1, 2011 at 10:21AM
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That is interesting tanowicki. A design drawing is a sales tool amongst other things so if its perceived value is higher if hand drawn this is something to consider. I would agree with marcinde although I wonder if a photo-shopped image could ever be more than a teaser or perhaps an additional visual aid like a sketch might be to the sculptor.

    Bookmark   April 1, 2011 at 11:31AM
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tanowicki - sorry, I was expressing my general disagreement w/ the article. Although I will say that I encounter the opposite issue you describe - when I present a CAD-drafted plan to a client they see it as "this is it, fin, no mas. Take this singular concept or go elsewhere." Conversely, if it's a hand sketch (or even a 3D computer render processed with a sketchy or watercolor style) they're more apt to say "I like the overall vibe, but does that have to be orange? Or could that change like so?" It helps keep dialogue going, at least in my experience.

ink, you raise an altogether different point with Photoshopped images. So far I have resisted doing them because at their best, they're a crude collage that sort of represents what it will look like, but they somehow manage to not evoke the feel of the finished space. From kind of an elitist perspective, they also look more like an "oh anyone can do that" sort of thing which makes it harder to reinforce our value with the client.

    Bookmark   April 1, 2011 at 12:37PM
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My experience is that the hand drawings make more of an impression; but there is a tremendous value to CAD when you can download the actual property lines and work with it to make a plan. I think Woody makes a great point, the program I have used for CAD increases the work for me and reduces the focus on the design. I find it limiting also. If it were a matter of equal effort for me, I am not sure which I would use, but I find it much much easier to do hand drawings. I understand that someone else might struggle with the hand drawings and prefer to use CAD.

One time I toured a potential client around an existing clients gardens. The existing client said to the potential client that one of the things she liked the most about working with me was the artistic plans I presented her with. She saved them all. I don't mean to toot my own horn - but I found it interesting that the plans were one of her favorite things. She was a client for whom I had done extensive work and I was surprised to hear her talk about the plans as opposed to any other part of the experience of working with me.

Dont get me started on photoshop - i think everyone knows where i stand :)

    Bookmark   April 1, 2011 at 2:27PM
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