The information age is upon us. Computers are an essential part of our lives. We interact with computer technology on a daily basis and it has significantly affected the way we do things. Current trends show that it will continue to do so.
The rapid developmental rate of new technology has made powerful computer based tools available to architects at affordable prices. Despite the efficiencies and claimed productivity benefits of these tools, some architects have resisted their use. Others have embraced them with vigour. To see and use CAD purely as a drafting tool is to underrate it's capabilities. More and more architects are seeing the benefits of using CAD as a design tool. New demands have been placed on architectural practices, which traditionally never had to manage computer technology. As well as changing the way architects communicate their ideas, computers have changed the expectations of the clients.
This thesis determines how the nature of CAD itself has changed over time and its effects on the practice of architecture. A series of interviews, involving selected architectural firms, was conducted in order to establish these factors. Firstly, the views of two key authorities in architectural computing were reviewed to demonstrate the past situation of CAD in architectural practice. Local Brisbane firms were then asked a series of questions in regard to their current computer systems, their attitudes, and their CAD experiences. A chronicle of the current CAD situation was developed. Interstate firms, who were participants in an early study, were also interviewed.
All of the interviews showed that there is a CAD culture evolving amongst architectural practices. The level of CAD integration in architectural practices is dependant on the attitudes of the architects, particularly the directors, and the length of time for which computers have been used within the practice. CAD is only one part of the computing equation. The integration and intelligent use of computers will provide architects with the mechanism to redefine the future of architectural practice.