ID4350 Computer Aided Design 2, is the second in a series of three electronic design courses required by the Interior Design program at Georgia State University. This class continues the exploration of how multiple computer software programs can be used to communicate design intent. We focus primarily on Autodesk Revit for building modeling and analysis, while the Adobe Creative Suite is used for presentation purposes. Students are also encouraged to incorporate their previous skills with programs like SketchUp, AutoCAD, and others. In CAD1, the students learn basics of using AutoCAD and Revit for design communication including a fundamental understanding of how interior designers can leverage Building Information Modeling concepts in their work. This class builds upon that knowledge by looking at how Revit can be used for conceptual exploration through massing, building analysis through solar studies and walk throughs, renderings, and custom component creation.
Capitalizing on the excitement of the 2012 presidential election season as well as the controversy surrounding perceptions of voter suppression, I had the students design small, temporary polling places that could be assembled on sites that were either far from existing polling locations or were serving a unique population. Click here for a look at the full project brief. The students first researched sites based on need and then developed aesthetic and function concepts through hand sketching. The hand sketches were translated into conceptual masses using Revit. Options were considered, and a design finalized. This design solution included a custom component family and was visualized using renderings and walk throughs. Crucial to the deliverable was manipulating the photo-realistic Revit renderings into a composition that spoke to the project’s concept as well as the designer’s voice. The students also produced solar studies of their designs, showing how the sunlight and shadows would impact the use of their design at their chosen geographic location.
All of their efforts in design and analysis of the temporary polling place were compiled into final composition (see slideshow below), the design and size of which was determined by their project. The goal of this composition was to show the iterative process and analysis used in developing this small project.
Using an actual project — however small in scope — that is unique to the CAD lecture class, as opposed to working supplementary to a concurrent studio class project has proven successful. I have found that the students possess a willingness to be much more experimental with techniques when they are not fearful of taking a risk on a more complex studio project. Using a small project like the temporary polling place allows the students to quickly move through the design process so that they are able to see how these technical tools can be used throughout the process.
For more information about specifc assignments, sample class demos, and more student work examples, please visit the Class Blog.