Digital Prototyping and Augmented Reality Models for Studies of Architectural Design
The communication of an architectural design project by default is the selling point of any idea when it is being presented to the clients. The use of advanced digital prototyping and virtual 3D models can facilitate the process of presentation significantly, because these technologies allow understanding features that are hard or impossible to present in drawings or pure renderings. CAD/CAM paradigm has set new standards in the field of teaching architectural design, as the contemporary practice has raised the demands for standard skillset expected from future architects once they graduate and enter the design offices. Digital systems that allow designing directly for manufacturing has returned the production and responsibility for giving engineering solutions back to architects. And parametricism in contemporary academic environment is one of the main driving forces of architecture that exercises the exploration of complexity, possible only through 3D modeling tools. Therefore the use of technology in representing complex ideas becomes a standard procedure.The author explores the implementation of physical and virtual models in architectural design curriculum – CNC and rapid prototyping or pure virtual models in format of augmented reality experience. Despite the time-intense learning curve of the additional specific tools and methods involved, there are more advantages to support the efforts of implementing new workflows in the studies of architectural design in as early stage as possible. Students who mastered these skills were able to reach better understanding of tangible and more logical structures in the way they conceptualized, and demonstrated to have more advanced 3D thinking and independence on making formal decisions. Both the physical and virtual models have their own strengths and weaknesses and neither one of them will totally eliminate the necessity of usage of each other.
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