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V. Caffi

Politecnico di Milano (ITALY)
This paper deals with the IT Graphics, CAAD Laboratory and Architectural Drawing Techniques integrated curricula proposed to the 1st year students of the MSc on Building Engineering and Architecture that the VI Engineering Faculty of Politecnico di Milano holds in Lecco. The MSc course was started a few years ago, aiming to prepare the students, the architects and engineers of the future, to deal with both sides of a building project: the technical, usually deemed as part of an engineer job, and the formal, or aesthetical, usually left to the architect. The IT Graphics and CAD Laboratory courses embedded in the program of the MSc since the first year, are fundamental in order to give the students the instruments useful to let them master the complexity of a project dealing with both sides just mentioned. The integrated curricula are including both traditional aspects of the architectural drawing, and very innovative and advanced issues related to the new ITs for Construction. In fact, while the students are required to understand the logics being the basics of the architectural drawing, this is finalized to a better consciousness of the goals and results they can aim to, using the modern ITs. As far as the IT and CAAD curricula are concerned, the courses have been dramatically changed during the last two years: while the ordinary program used to start with 2D CAD, in order to progressively build up the students’ competences, so far the courses start since the first few lessons presenting the concepts of BIM – Building Information Modeling – and 3D modeling. The 2D CAD, that is related to the traditional side of the Architectural drawing curriculum, is presented in a second time, as a by-product of BIM or 3D models. This concept allows the students to learn a comprehensive and holistic approach to the architectural and engineering design issues, and also to make sure that they understand better how the 3D modeling of a building is fundamental in order to master all of the construction aspects. In fact, the courses are strictly related to the entire MSc curriculum, and the students get information on how using the 3D and BIM models in order to obtain the different representations of an architecture they need along the different phases of the design and building process. To do this, the curriculum is “process” oriented rather than “tool” oriented. That’s why the instruments used inside the CAD laboratory are many, chosen among the best known and most diffused. The CAD laboratory, actually is ruled in an experimental way, in strict collaboration with some of the most important CAAD software producers; specific seminars on different products are periodically organized along the full academic year. This allows the students to get an up to date information on the last and most advanced architectural and engineering software, so that they can actually put in practice in the rest of the courses they have to attend to, what learned from the integrated curricula of IT Graphics, CAD laboratory and Architectural Drawing Techniques.