Parallel Thinking and the BIM Imperative

By David Beach and Keith Hedges.

Published by The International Journal of Design Management and Professional Practice

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

The millennial generation is the first grouping of university students that have grown up with the Internet, advanced technology, and the word "multitasking." The reality of parallel thinking is part of their identity. As a result, the notion of designing through a series of defined phases including research, precedent, programming, concept, space, and form with a linear methodology is completely foreign in the mind of an 18 - 22 year old student. The academic reaction to this pattern manifests itself in the perception of misguided students relegating their time to social media and an infinite collection on interconnected links, and confounds educators by struggling with student learning versus technology overload. The millennial generation and subsequent generations after will not be rolling back on their inherent connection to technology. If anything, its use will become even more profound. As educators, we were to allow our perception to shift on this epidemic; however, the scenario can be reframed as the creation of a new generation of virtuoso multitasking parallel thinkers. This shift in thinking allows for an opportunity to reframe the question of teaching design methodology to a generation knotted (often encumbered) by technology. The theoretical implications of applying a process of building information modeling (BIM) within the structure of studio allows for opportunities that can attract and harness concurrent abilities that students bring to higher education. By reframing and opening a traditional linear process into a multi-threaded parallel process, design methodology can improve criticality in current (18 - 22 year old) students by engagement with technology. It allows for an improved mindset of creation and modification, using information as a means to inform the editing process of design ideas.

Keywords: Building Information Modeling, Architecture, Digital Design, Parallel Thinking

The International Journal of Design Management and Professional Practice, Volume 6, Issue 4, pp.19-26. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 551.768KB).

David Beach

Assistant Professor of Architecture, Hammons School of Architecture, Drury University, Springfield, MO, USA

A graduate of Drury University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Architecture, David Beach practiced architecture for 10 years in the American Midwest. He completed his Masters of Architecture at the University of Oklahoma while transitioning to teaching full time. He specializes in digital design, simulation, and building information modeling instruction at the Hammons School of Architecture at Drury University. With a focus on augmenting the design process by using the computer, his research focuses on three areas: 3D modeling and representation, technology for client immersion in the design process, and digital design techniques to improve criticality throughout the architectural process.

Keith Hedges

Assistant Professor, Architecture Department, Hammons School of Architecture, Drury University, Springfield, Missouri, USA

Keith is a NCARB certified architect and assistant professor at Drury University with graduate degrees in architecture and structural engineering.