Monday, October 1, 2007

Digital Technology at Architecture institutes

It has now almost become unavoidable to ignore the fact that DT (Digital Technology) has created new challenges for Architecture education ahead. Digital Technology has forced the governing bodies and authorities to think of new ways and new systems for Architecture education. I, personally strongly feel that this discussion would help us formulate new systems for opening front doors of education for DT and also improving education systems altogether. The presence of Internet in education itself has shown us remarkable changes in the system. Say for instance, being able to communicate with design faculty outside the country was never so easy or getting an opportunity to look at foreign student's work was not so often. We need to discuss the DT at various levels of education. Most important level is the students, then the faculty and third is system of the institute. For institutes, the dilemma still exists, whether to allow conventional skills like sketching, manual drawing and painting to be nourished or to accept “computers only” as a new tool. The dilemma is unnecessary and has no grounds to exist. These both things are totally different and have to be looked in a different way. This discussion is not to discard the conventional means of communication or drawing, but it is initiated with an intention to peep into the future of design education.

Institutes need to be more sensitive towards the infrastructure today. The list which till now talked about building, faculty, library of books only today needs to consider and incorporate computers and reprographic facilities also. Adequate training to faculty is must, to ensure that DT penetrates as a core belief, and not only as a subject worth 50 marks or so and that DT becomes an integral part of teaching and learning process. The scenario where Architectural curriculum is of five years, generally language and grammar is talked about in first year or in some universities in first two years. DT shall be introduced at the same time. This language or skill will help students perform more efficiently in further years.

Next, Peer learning has its advantages. Its imperative to understand the varying background of student participants and faculty needs to encourage and train the tech savvies to lead and guide other students to comfortably adopt the new tool. Students of generations ahead are fortunate that their faculty may not talk to them about designs in the compartments of plans, sections and elevations that happened in many institutes for many years. To reach fruition, a digital design sensibility must pervade the school culture. A positive learning community is crucial to making computers effective in architectural education.

Computing shall not be restricted to design or graphics subject, the use of DT shall pervade the entire education culture. It’s necessary for faculty and administration to come out of “technology phobia” and become a part of paradigm shift.

Further, the role of computers is not restricted to drafting assistant only, for Architects and computers have evolved as systems in the design culture, where DT has been effectively used for simulations, modelling, management and estimations. The potential of DT has been successfully exploited in various areas of Architecture.

The future of DT now totally depends on the systems of the institute. We have to see to what extent institutes agree that the DT can become the process of design thinking.

Monday, August 6, 2007

No Room for Windows

Its been almost one and a half now, we at IDEA decided to ask students to use only Linux as the OS on their computers. Since then, We @ IDEA are trying our best to understand Linux environment. IDEA might be the only Architecture institute in India, which has the OS policy and dares not to use the conventional and popular software. Kudos! I am trying to understand the way Linux works, we opted for the popular distro "Ubuntu", oh! what a humanity! The splash screen itself was amazing and did motivate me to explore it. The more I explore it, the more I love it! No doubt, like many others we are also facing teething problems, which are short lived. Thanks to highly energetic Ubuntu Community.

Now the big question, Have we (IDEA) decided to shift to Ubuntu because it is free or because it is open source? Have we understood the difference between open source and free software? Will we continue to use Linux, if it comes for the same cost as windows?

Let me try to answer it. I don't know what IDEA thinks about Linux, but even if I have to pay some cost (not more than windows) for Linux, I would prefer it over Windows. Why? may be for the sake of being different from others! Windows comes as a "readymade and troublefree package", but Linux has to be customized to suit the needs, you go for what you need and keep your hard disk "junkfree".
I have understood the difference between, a free and open source software. For instance, progesoft's Progecad was free but did not give access to the source code so was not a open source software. RedHAT comes for a cost, but gives access to its source code so it is an open source software. correct me if I am wrong here.

Now, I wonder, why Google does not come up with Sketchup which runs on Linux? Though it already has many utilities like google earth, which run smoothly on Linux. Similarilty, Companies like Autodesk, can come up with AutoCAD for Linux, it may be a paid software, isn't it? So in short, you have programs which run on both platforms smoothly and do not have any difference in UI even like blender. I am waiting for the day and believe me I will be with Linux!

May be I am so much impressed with "Linux" policies, that I don't want to see any "room for windows"!

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

ArchiCAD 11

The all new power packed ArchiCAD 11.0

ArchiCAD, although the software was not new to me. but when I started looking for an alternative to popular drafting software being used in most of the offices in India. I came across the new version of it! then ArchiCAD 9.0.

The concept itself was killer, software by Architects, for Architects, sounds something like fundamental on which Indian democracy is based. Isn’t it!
Parametric software, allows your entire focus on design and takes up all the pains of co-coordinating between different drawings.

Architects, have always believed in the concept of “visualizing a building as a whole”, but it was not seen happening during the process of design in their offices, may be a limitation with available software.

ArchiCAD was here to solve this issue. It’s a BIM, Building Information Modelling.

The main concern of Graphisoft is to allow Architects’ to “focus on design”, rather than tweaking around 2D drawings! or fighting day and night with contractors and engineers for solving the conflicts.

And soon followed version 10 and now version 11.0.

As compared to version 9.0 there has been tremendous development in the software, majorly its interface, which has become more intuitive. Architects, although, willing to migrate to this new technology, were not able to devote time for learn this new software. But I found, many features that I loved in that popular software, are now also available with ArchiCAD 10. Say for instance “polar tracking”, which saved lot of my drafting time; with ArchiCAD 10 it came as improved snapping, “The power of snap”. Tracker and guidelines are some more features which made drafting experiences easy for Architects.

So if you have not upgraded to ArchiCAD 10 from 9.0, don’t do it. Its time for jumping to version 11.0 and if you have still not invested in the new power pack called ArchiCAD, keep waiting till the prices reach the sky. I would like to remind you about the pricing issue also, price of ArchiCAD in India is almost 30% of its actual price in the international market. Still thinking? Keep reading this article, you fill find more reasons for migrating to ArchiCAD.

So what’s new in ArchiCAD 11.00?

To quickly summarize we have a small list of new powerful features:

  1. Virtual Trace / Visual Compare
  2. Interior elevations
  3. Complex geometry
  4. Line work and fill consolidation
  5. Quality documentation

So how does it help Architects, isn’t that the question in your mind? I will try to answer it, let’s begin with Virtual Trace!

Virtual Trace (VT)

So like me, you were also trained to place a sheet containing “plan view” below the Section sheet for the sake of reference? Then VT is for you. May be some of you love to work with 2D drawings but create model with the reference of the section. VT is for you too.

Virtual reference is like a drawing placed below transparent sheet, which can be displaced, rotated etc.etc.

Above all, you also have total control over reference’s colour and intensity your for better visibility. Further decide what you want to see and what you don’t want to see as a reference. Isn’t it a game?

“Trace and reference” dialogue box, further makes the process easy. Download the trial version of ArchiCAD and get started to experience the power.

Further more, you can switch between active and reference drawings with simple click of a mouse button.

This powerful feature, can be further exploited for creating professional looking layouts, for example, wouldn’t you like your plan, section and elevation views properly aligned to each other on your sheet. Use virtual trace and get the professional looking documents with few clicks only.

Splitter option is like sliding a active tracing sheet for better view of reference sheet underneath. I am sure most of us would love to only slide the onscreen sheet for first few minutes. It’s so enjoyable.

So, there is no reason, why should there be any conflict between two drawings! Unless you were simultaneously watching fashion TV while creating these drawings in ArchiCAD!

Interior elevations

It’s different from creating sections. Architects and Interior designers would definitely love this feature as it can be efficiently used for creating unfolded elevation views of the interior spaces!

ArchiCAD has a dedicated tool that is optimized for creating interior elevations of interior spaces. Your interior elevation view line may be rectangular, polygonal or rotated and is easily editable also. So next time, you may just want to present an unfolded view of your entire scheme instead of four or five different elevations.

Complex geometry

If you are version 10 user, you have already enjoyed the feature called slanting walls, if not, version 11 has more to offer, when it comes to complex wall geometry. Just imagine, you wanted a complex geometry around a curved path (to put it simply, compare it to “extrude to path” in AutoCAD). ArchiCAD 11.0 allows that too. So one more feather in the cap!

Line work and Fill consolidation

Still stuck to that old powerful cad software? Good that you have started calling those DWGs to ArchiCAD for modeling purpose at least. Are you shocked to see more than billion lines overlapping each other, or number of dashed and dotted lines making your life difficult?

Use line work consolidation feature to simplify the process, it takes care of overlapping objects, split lines and overlapped special line types imported from software like AutoCAD!

Now fill consolidation, though it is clubbed with line consolidation here, it is a different command altogether and also pops up a new setting dialogue box. Use it for fine-tuning fills and hatches for better editing experience.

Quality Documentation

ArchiCAD says “Pen Sets are assigned to the views (as a result model views will be WYSYWYG (what you see is what you get)”. This simple means that you get to see the document as it is going to be printed or published and thus allowing easier editing of the selected pens used in the project.

These were only few of the features that would impress the user. Apart from all these, there are few improvements like visually better PDFs (without having to install amyuni PDF writer), AutoCAD 2007 support and last but not the least, drag a model directly from 3D warehouse of google (plug-in required, available on Graphisoft website) in ArchiCAD project (restricted to pan view).

With all this, I am sure most of the Architects are thinking of migrating to ArchiCAD. No doubt, you will need initial training, and that’s also freely available in the form of interactive videos from Graphisoft website.

Need one more good reason to migrate, here it is. ArchiCAD is made available to students and teachers at no cost, yes, no cost. So you don’t have to worry about trained man power.

Very soon I am planning to post some tutorials on this blog, which will definitely help most of the beginners. Like me.

Copyrights: Rajesh Advani.
The document or its content shall not be printed / published, distributed without the written permission from author.
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Monday, March 19, 2007

'media' 'kills' woolmer

Morning 8.00 'O' clock...the breaking news on Star News "woolmer nahin rahe" (woolmer no more)..

Whatever may be the reason, it might be an accident, murder or a suicide...reports have still to come. One thing is for sure "there is immense pressure on every player and coach for performance".

Lets try and find out from where this pressure comes..

If you watch TV very closely, every alternate news channel is airing talk shows, discussing cricket, every pop singer is trying to create one song for nation (is it?), every advertisemnet revolves around cricket and world cup...we call it fever..yes fever!

Last world cup one news channel had story title as "world cup India aayega?" (world cup will come to India?)...but when it was being read by the reader...they always intentionally neglected the questionmark..changing the whole meaning of the statement. This kind of behaviour raises the hope in every Indian cricket fan sitting at home and watcing the news.

Astrologers, tarrot card readers, and public polls have started guessing about India's perfomance in this world cup.

Come on media....."Let INDIA just Play"

All the shows, interviews, build up fever (unnecessarily), which in turn becomes pressure on players and team in some or other way. These pressures become prestige issues for nations and make Players more concious about their performance.

Their LOSS becomes nations' LOSS!! rediculous!!

Every body wants to win...somebody has to loose why not just play instead of making it a prestige issue and making lives difficult for players.


IDEA (Institute of Design Environment and Architecture, Goa), as a policy decided to encourage the use of Linux, for various good reasons. One of them is "getting rid of Piracy". I too decided to explore linux for all its good things talked about. I decided to start with using ubuntu. I ordered free ubuntu ( CDs and to my surprise i received 10 CDs within 15 days. I was very glad and happy to see the form of humanity shown by ubuntu.

Although I had an licensed windows XP, i decided to install ubuntu on one of the partitions.

and guys, it was not so easy:

I own an ACER Travelmate with ATI Mobility Radeon X700 graphics card. The graphics card was not supported by ubuntu
9or needed some tingering). After too many failed attempts, i decided to get help from various ubuntu forums (, orkut etc.), special thanks to RAVI (BOFH). I got ubuntu working on my laptop somehow.

After few days Ubuntu's new distro was launched called "edgy". I decided to upgrade to edgy, to see my system crashed.

And it was again taking same amount of energy and afforts to go back to ubuntu 6.0.6. I decided to give it up for some time and switched back to XP.

Since last few days i am again trying to install ubuntu 6.06 on the same laptop. but till now all my efforts see to be in vain.

I have come across people having similar issues and also people getting different solutions to it from other users.

But some how, these solutions have not worked for me. But at the same time "i have decided not to give up". Hope to see ubuntu working on my laptop soon.

Moral of the story:

Want linux on Laptops and PCs to work? make sure you have an access to internet, preferably broadband. and also keep lot of stressbusters (pop corns, humors..on side table...), as you might get frustrated with all strange troubles you come across. But ultimately you learn to do things on your own.

Love spoonfeeding and no control on what OS is doing to your systems..go for M$ Win XP. frequent crashes and viruses come free.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Shahrukh khan V/s Shahrukh Khan V/s Amitabh Bachhan

Title gives you all the clues about what i am going to write. But still, I have a strong opinion which I would like to pen down. I was very curious to see how will be Shahrukh Khan (SRK) as a (kaun banega Crorepati) KBC host. And yes, he started well! and almost through out the first episode, he "tried very hard" not to be Amitabh Bacchan (Big B). Freeze it, Compaq da, alat palat, hug me if you want to quit..etc etc..are things that SRK very strongly says for the sake of not being Big B.

Over the time, KBC has started losing its charm, because of quality of questions and secondly SRK's stupid sense of humor. SRK "tries" to be very humorous and somewhere in between shows his false respect to audience, and contestant. Also he "forces" contestants to say his name repeatedly. Example, he tells contestants to say loudly"Shaheukh freeze kar do". When he presents the cheque to contestants, he emphasizes that his name is also written on the leaf, "is cheque par shahrukh khan likha hai" ("On the leaf Sharrukh Khan is written").

He blushes if somebody praises him or his movies, and SRK loves to hear that contestant has seen his movies and "likes" him.

KBC has not only become very commercial but it is becoming very filmy too.
Shahrukh should try to become Shahrukh Khan, instead of "trying not to become Amitabh Bachhan".
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