Three-Dimensional CAD Use in Interior Design Education and Practice

Author: 
Michelle McConnell MFA 1 Lisa Waxman MS 1 Interior Design Educators Council

OBJECTIVE: The primary objective of the project was to compare the current use of three-dimensional (3D) computer-aided design (CAD) by practicing interior designers with what is being taught in interior design programs in colleges and universities. Information on the current state of computer use by both groups also was gathered.

RESEARCH DESIGN: A survey of interior design educators and practitioners was completed using two questionnaires. The first was mailed to 300 Interior Design Educators Council (DEC) corporate members. The second was mailed to 300 International Interior Design Association (IIDA) members. A response rate of 34|X% and 40|X% respectively was achieved.

ANALYSIS: Frequencies of responses were compared to determine similarities between the two groups.

KEY FINDINGS: Educators responded that 96|X% of their students used two-dimensional (2D) CAD software to complete all or part of their assigned projects, while 70|X% of practitioners responded that they regularly used 2D software. Sixty-five percent of educators taught students how to produce 3D objects and wireframe perspectives using CAD software while 49|X% of practitioners created 3D wireframes. Forty percent of educators and 35|X% of practitioners created computer-rendered scenes that included the addition of materials and lights. Eighty-three percent of educators and 78|X% of practitioners believed that computer-rendered perspectives were an important communication tool between interior designers and clients. Eighty-nine percent of educators and 74|X% of practitioners felt that experience with 3D CAD made students more marketable within the profession.

CONCLUSION: The majority of students appear to be adequately prepared in 2D CAD. Educators should continue educating in 3D CAD software as it appears to be a design tool valued by practitioners as well as educators.