Back in IssueThree (Laiserin'sLemmaJune 17, 2002) we wondered if "technology diminishes design" by serving "as a crutch, rather than as a supplementary tool during the design process," and by making it "more likely to make errors that will cause problems later in a project." Four of the leading design tool software vendors have weighed in with responses that provide an interesting cross-section of current industry thinking.
> Bentley Systems' Building Industry Marketing Director, North America, Huw Roberts, addresses applications, misapplications, lagging indicators, and chainsaws in the larger context of managing and sharing design information. Bentley's flagship product is Architecture for TriForma. Click
here for the Bentley response.
> auto.des.sys, Inc.'s, CEO, Chris Yessios, writes eloquently of "artificial creativity," the opportunity for humans to engage in symbiotic partnership with their design tools, creating things that neither man nor machine could develop alone. auto-des-sys' flagship product is form.Z. Click here for the form.Z perz.pective on this issue.
> Graphisoft US' Vice President for Architecture, Chris Barron, ponders the cultural issues that set architects apart from other design professionals in their choice of tools and in their adoption of advanced technology. Graphisoft's flagship product is ArchiCAD. Click here for the Graphisoft viewpoint.
> Nemetschek North America's Vice President of Integrated Products, Robert Anderson, considers the importance of matching the choice of tools to the specifics of practice in each firm, as well as the role of training in supporting "flow" between people and technology. Nemetschek North America's flagship product is VectorWorks Architect. Click here for these Nemetschek insights.
While there is diversity among these writers' points of view, naturally skewed towards the specific strengths of their respective product offerings, there also is strong unanimity that design software tools cannot make designers less creative or more prone to error, unlessand it's a big "unless"the designers choose to accept or impose upon themselves those limitations.
NOTE: A fifth vendor, Autodesk, Inc., declined to comment "at this time," according to a company spokeswoman.