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Daylighting is an energy-conserving strategy and a lost architectural art. The Windows and Daylighting Group has extensively researched the energy implications of daylighting, and after developing a number of conventional design tools, has recently been considering new electronic design tools to promote its practice. Daylight as a topic sits at the junction of key quantitative and qualitative design issues and works well as an energy-conserving strategy when incorporated into buildings early in the design process.
The application of microcomputer tools in building design has been limited to date, as has been acceptance of such tools among architectural professionals. While computer-aided drafting systems are becoming more and more popular, computer-based design tools are rarely seen. This reluctance in the design world towards the use of computers in the design process itself may begin to turn around with the development of friendlier computers and software, and particularly with the increasing interest in and use of hypermedia. The arrival of both the Macintosh microcomputer and its accompanying hypertext program HyperCard opens new opportunities for design applications. The Macintosh has been successful in dispelling computer phobia, and hypermedia has potential as a replacement for traditional methods of presenting, accessing, synthesizing and evaluating information pertinent to the design process.
HyperCard can be described as a new electronic information system, more powerful and flexible than traditional written methods. It is characterized by its unique abilities to interlink data in non-linear sequences, radically altering how we use reference tools. Part of the genesis of this software is in a recognized global need for the sharing of information; the parallel to architectural design is immediately seen, as ever increasing demands on the profession highlight a growing need for accessible reference information.
The Windows and Daylighting Group is currently developing a daylight design guide in HyperCard. The intent is to first supplement, and eventually replace, written manuals and other references, which, by their size or structure, are too cumbersome or otherwise forbidding to be used in a typical design process. The tool is intended to be a guide for both design and educational tasks. Currently in the early stages of development, the tool will ultimately take advantage of state-of-the-art multimedia hardware while the software will combine data and expert guidance into a fluid and dynamic design tool.