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Most stages of architecture utilize the computer for increased accuracy and speed. Architects create presentations, 2-D construction documents and 3-D models in addition to typical business documents on the computer. Computers aid design understanding and implementation of complex structures through computer-solved equations and information generation.
Similar to other businesses, architecture firms and individual architects employ computers to complete business functions such as communicating with clients, keeping records and researching. Additionally, architects utilize the computer for sending images, messages and files because collaboration between the design team, engineer and construction manager is essential to a successful building proposal and construction.
Architects prepare presentations of building proposals for the clients on the computer. The presentations involve the use of the computer for creation of image boards, brochures, formal reports, slideshows and other multimedia messages. Additionally, architects utilize graphic design software to facilitate the layout of each proposal.
Blueprints, originally drawn by hand, have largely been replaced by computer-generated construction documents. According to the California Labor Occupational Guide, “most architects now use computers and computer aided design (CAD) as basic tools to create and modify structural designs.” Benefits of using CAD include consistency of graphic elements and accuracy of dimensions.
Without building a physical model, architects can illustrate either segments or entire projects for the client by creating a virtual 3-D model on the computer. Rendering options allow accurate representations of lighting, texture and color. With the ability to look extremely realistic, clients can often better understand the building proposals and discuss any problems with the architect before construction.
Computer generated designs allow the architects to know more information about the building projects without having to work out long and complex problems. Before the building is constructed, software programs can test structural and energy systems. The results allow the architect to implement changes to increase efficiency in the final structure.