CAD, acronym for “Computer Aided Design”, is a type of software which has revolutionized the architectural profession in recent decades: today it is impossible to think of a professional in the building industry unrelated to a computer assisted design software, be it 2D or 3D, more or less complete, complicated or simplified.
The available CAD software are numerous: with enormous approximation, in a constantly evolving sector, the range goes from the ubiquitous Autocad (whose dwg format has become a real standard) to freeware programs that mimic it more or less happily, to the most comprehensive Archicad, Revit and Allplan.
The latter, using a vector system, define objects in the final drawing as elements to associate several additional features: not only lines, points, curves, but “walls”, “floors”, “windows”, “structural elements”, with dimensions in plan and elevation, possibility to associate other information such as finishing material, characteristic strength, cost etc.
The built object will therefore have, in addition to the strictly geometrical information, those additional data that may be useful for subsequent steps and insights, such as renderings or metric calculations and estimations. It will also be possible to intervene in the “model” created to get multiple sections, elevations, views, up to actual renderings from the same file.
It is up to the professional the choice of the most suitable CAD tool to suit his needs according to the intended use.
The advantages of CAD and the importance of creativity
CAD has replaced hand drawing over the years, with clear advantages and some setbacks.
The main advantages are summarized as follows:
A CAD drawing is in fact quick to perform (assuming the familiarity of the performer with the instrument), subject to change an infinite number of times, with the feature to keep a copy of the previous versions. In addition, a CAD drawing is accurate to the millimeter (and more!) and is controllable and verifiable any time.
CAD today is definitely a big help and is indeed essential in most cases. But in order to be of real support, it is actually necessary to know its usage, and use it well: the choice of a variety of settings preparatory to the drawing, such as layers, styles and print sizes, character and dimension styles, should be done properly and with criteria tested by field trials and experience. Only in this way the preparation of the design proceeds expeditiously without obstacles and delays caused by “shooting adjustments” that phase of work can be real “hitches” that make the job long, dispersive and fertile ground for errors and omissions.
Experience in this case plays an important role.
In addition, the CAD drawing cannot replace the “hand” (or “head”) of the professional in some steps of the design process: for instance, think of the concept phase, sketch or creation of a project.
The creative process can be aided by CAD to clarify ideas or check proportions, sizes, geometries or symmetries. But you cannot delegate the creative process to the machine: CAD does not create but parameterized ideas that should already be ours. It does not know the proportions, in fact the ability to “zoom in” from the very small to the very large often nullifies the sense of proportion of reality. In addition, there is no sense of aesthetics, it cannot distinguish what is good from what is not, and the design solution that works best. During these stages, it may be more useful to rely on samples of materials, sketches, hand-made perspectives and then possibly to move on to graphic design or support CAD renders to better verify and clarify ideas and following choices.
In this perspective, CAD is more useful and is at the best of its ability in other steps of the design process.
We can say that CAD drawing finds its ideal application, the most suited to its potential, in the stages of the final draft and of the final design.
The final design in particular receives from CAD a major help: the large amount of information required by entries of this type can find in CAD the right system to be made explicit and tidy into drawings of floor plans, elevations, sections and details at different scales, up to a scale of 1:1, with appropriate graphics and proven quality, which makes them clear, readable and immediately understandable not only to fellow architects but, above all, to who will take care of the realization of the project in the construction site.
The goal of those involved in the final design phase must first of all the clear transmission of information pointing to
- Ease of reading
The ultimate goal of final design, and guideline for those who, like Collettivo4 Outsourcing, has made of it its specialty, must be to “speak for itself”, without further explanations or comments by those who drafted the CAD drawing, explaining the design choices and making them available to all the professionals who contribute to the definition of a building in its features (structural engineers, MEPs, decorators) and all the workers operating in the pipeline and who will transform, let us never forget, the CAD drawing into a real space.