Computing resources for architecture and design students
The Imaging Laboratory
A long-time leader in the integration of CAD/graphics into the design curriculum, the Hillier College of Architecture and Design (HCAD) has offered electronic/paperless digital design studios with 3D modeling and color since 1985. Our decentralized Imaging Laboratory, established in 1991, operates throughout the College. An in-house IT staff manages the HCAD network and works with the approximately 1,000 computer users in the College.
The Imaging Laboratory is a decentralized facility that organizes, maintains, and operates the information technology resources at the College. The facilities include the network and IT infrastructure that encompass all computers in the design studios as well as specialized laboratories and equipment including the Architecture and Art + Design Teaching Labs, Art + Design Foundation Labs, Animation Lab, Physical Computing Lab, and digital fabrication equipment (3D printing, laser cutting, etc.) located throughout the College. Auxiliary support is provided to the Print Room, the Littman Library, and administrative computers in HCAD. Imaging Lab personnel are “the first line of defense” when individual IT and computer-related problems occur with College of Architecture and Design specified personal computers and implement the twice-annual imaging process that provides students access to the wide range of software applications available at the College. The directors of the Imaging Laboratory represent the College interests within the university and externally, and evaluate academic-related requests for IT resources. They are also charged with the solicitation of external support for the College via the Imaging Laboratory.
We focus on the incorporation of digital media and information technology into all aspects involving the process and products of design from the very first semester a student attends NJIT. Students use up-to-date applications most relevant to their specific disciplines and all students are given opportunities to expand their use of multiple media in cross- and inter-disciplinary applications. Moreover, a robust relationship between the computer industry and the Imaging Laboratory faculty and staff provides students with access to new and developing software.
In general, access is provided to the primary classes of software used in the various disciplines: building information modeling, solid modeling, visualization, character modeling and design (both two- and three-dimensional), drawing, painting, compositing, illustration, image processing and photo manipulation, non-linear video editing, game design, sound recording, and more. Some applications are universal and access is provided to all students at their desks in studio (like Autodesk’s Revit, Maya, and 3DS Max, McNeel & Associates Rhino, and the Corel Draw Graphic Suite and Painter), while other applications are installed in specialized labs and facilities.
Student Computer Requirement
Students at the College of Architecture and Design use their computers as professional tools during the course of their studies. The study and practice of all design disciplines in the twenty-first century requires extensive use of the computer. As graphics-intensive machines, the demands placed on them are high. A typical CAD/graphics workstation has to be much more powerful than a computer that is primarily used for business applications – or even for many computer programming tasks. The creation and manipulation of graphics (including animation) on a computer are among the most demanding applications that can be run. As such, it is important for the computers used in the College of Architecture and Design to be able to accommodate the tasks students are assigned. Students are required to purchase a computer suitable for these needs for use in the design studio. Specifications are released late spring in time for purchase prior to the start of the fall semester. Architecture students are expected to purchase their computers prior to matriculation. Freshmen in the Foundation Year in the School of Art + Design have lab-based classes so Interior Design and Industrial Design students are required to purchase their computers prior to the start of sophomore studios, and Digital Design students are required to purchase their computers prior to the start of their third year design studios. Students with the specified computer are provided access to most software through the HCAD/Imaging Laboratory network. Some classes may require the purchase or subscription of specific applications for use on the student’s computer.