THE CODER LAB @ THE BAC
The Boston Architectural College provides various design-related technologies dedicated to supporting teaching and learning, aligning technological advances with strategies and appropriate plans towards addressing innovation and their implementation.
The Computation Design Research Lab (CODER) is open to and intended for self-driven, informal, ad-hoc, experiential and un-structured teaching and learning wherein users can explore new and emerging design-related technologies, tools and methods – computing hardware, input and output peripherals and design software – complemented and supported by a library of video and text support materials for creating, analyzing, testing, and executing design ideas. Whereas formal curricular instruction happens in all other teaching and learning spaces and no formal course-instruction may occur in the Open Computing Lab, CODER is effectively available to the BAC community – students, practice and academic faculty and staff – subject to certain terms of access and conditions of use.
The Computation Design Research Lab is located in Room 405, 320 Newbury Street; is managed by the Coordinator of Education Applications and Support, and supported by two Application Support Specialists – all of whom have expertise in various domains of design technology.
CODER’s mission is to extend the BAC’s formal educational agenda by providing access to innovative solutions and next-generation design-technologies ultimately affording a knowledgeable decision-making towards their implementation and praxis, and thus opening newfound opportunities for professional networking and outreach.
This resource provides the immediate BAC community open access to technology, which due to its ‘beta-test’ nature, specificity and depth of focus, makes it unsuitable for full implementation or extensive as part of the formal curricula and design instruction. Setting aside these characteristics, the scope and purpose of the CODER Lab is to address the community’s needs thus allowing to experience and experiment with such technologies irrespective of their development status and, in so doing, raise the awareness, increase the learning opportunities, the knowledgeable decision-making and provide means of support of the well-informed and successful implementation of such solutions, if not as cutting-edge at least ahead of the mainstream adoption curve.
Equipment and Resources
The Lab is home to eight workstations, five of which are setup with dual-display and especially configured with high-end processors and graphics, large memory space and special-purpose peripherals.
These include the following hardware for input, processing and output:
• Three-Dimensional /space-navigation devices (four different types)
• Three-Dimensional laser scanner
• LCD tablets (two large and one small) with stylus
• Wired tablet with stylus and mouse (one large and one small)
• Three-Dimensional force-feedback input devices (2x)
• Audio/video-conferencing equipment (VoIP – Voice over Internet Protocol, at each workstation)
Through the Lab the BAC provides user-training to a render-farm – a series of workstations setup and exclusively dedicated to collaborate in executing rendering tasks. The render-farm is available to students in certain elective courses as well as upon special request.
There are currently 125 different software applications installed the lab; organized and installed across the ten workstations according to the following generic categories and sub-categories:
• Design Modeling
o Two-Dimensional Computer-Aided Design & Vector Illustration
o Three-Dimensional Modeling
o Three-Dimensional Displacement Modeling
o Computer-Aided Architectural Design / Building Information Modeling
o Character/Ergonomic Modeling
o Natural Environments Scenery/Vegetation Modeling
o City-CAD/Planning & Geographic Information Systems
o Algorithmic / Procedural & Generative Modeling
o Procedural Textures/Shaders
o Image Processing
o Non Photo-Realistic
o Two-Dimensional Painting
o Three-Dimensional Painting (on 3D models)
• Publishing and Presentation
o Multi-Dimensional Interactive/Performance/Simulation
The following are some of the proof-of-concept projects intended to eventually enhance the reach and use of design technologies across the campus. These include green-computing, affording better and more efficient access via server-based virtualized technologies, remote desktops, and tiered-devices; digital fabrication and modeling capabilities via additive and subtractive processes; adding multi-user digital exhibiting and interactive display capabilities; data-gathering and information warehousing in support of landscape, urban planning and decision-making in retail; improving user-interface experiences, including gesture, voice recognition and video capture; real-time imaging and rendering; computational photography, photogrammetric, scanning, panoramic and high dynamic range capture.