Digital Design Grows in Education
by B.J. Novitski
Does the computer education received by today's architecture students provide them with the skills sought by employers?
Architects and educators have long disagreed about which skills should be taught in architecture schools and which, if any, are best taught later, during apprenticeships.
Many professors emphasize design and theory, believing that the more practical skills are better taught in a professional context. Many fear that offering more skills-oriented training would turn the professional institutions into vocational schools.
Meanwhile, practitioners frequently complain that recent graduates come to them unprepared for real work. This disagreement continues in the age of the computer. Schools increasingly focus technology on design applications, and firms grumble when young graduates can't do computer drafting.
Yet some interns are entering firms with a computer-aided design (CAD) skills that far outstrip those of their employers. Technology has been adopted in some architecture schools in ways so radical that the curriculum is being transformed.
Leading the Transition
Schools such as the New Jersey Institute of Technology and the University of Oregon have integrated computers in design studios for over a decade. Many others have now followed suit, including Miami University in Oxford, Ohio.