University of Utah
Graduate School of Architecture

ACADIA '99 - Salt Lake City

October 28-31 1999

Osman Ataman & Julio Bermudez
Technical Chairs & Site Coordinators




In architecture, media can be defined as a tool for selecting, gathering, organizing, storing, and conveying knowledge in representational forms. Media enable ideas to be externalized and evaluated and hence become a highly influential factor in the design process. Thus, from a theoretical viewpoint, media can be regarded as an important and influential factor in architectural design. In other words, cognitive processes and representation technologies appear to be linked. The nature and power of the media available to the designer may facilitate what s/he can conceive and accomplish. If so, limitations in design decision making can result from the limitations of the media employed. In this respect, media can be thought of as cognitive prostheses inasmuch as they serve to aid designers in their own constructive thinking, allowing them to trancend their cognitive limitations and engage in architectural operations they would not have been capable of otherwise. This primary impact of media in design may be particularly relevant during the beginning stages in the gestation of new ideas and progressively diminishes as the design process advances.
Even though this argument is widely accepted today, it does not necessarily imply that we know all the essential links between media and architectural design. Perhaps, this is partly due to the lack of enough research, and partly due to difficulties formulating the essential questions. In the past few years, there has been a steady growth in the number of studies addressing the impact of digital media on architectural design. For example, recent investigations on the use of multiple iterations between digital and traditional media have begun to shed some light on this issue. Moreover, design studies in structures and environmental controls in relation to media have started to make valuable contributions. Still, much remains to be done.

In order to accelerate systematic research and to provide a framework for their potential contributions to architectural education and practice, this conference focuses on media effects on design understanding and the design process. ACADIA'99 will look at the different dimensions of media and the ways they relate to cognition and learning at all levels of architecture. This forum will provide an opportunity to further develop the knowledge base linking media and design. In doing so, we hope to advance the existing structures and methodologies addressing the integration of digital media into architectural curricula in general, and design learning in particular.




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