A common argument in recent research is that computer aided manufacturing (CAM), rapid-prototyping (RP) and three-dimensional printing are all changing the future of architectural design in positive ways. Parallel arguments were raised in support of computer aided drafting (CAD) and building information models (BIM) in the previous decade as well. While collectively CAD/BIM and RP/CAM offer new variations on existing design tools and increased efficiency, arguments about improvements in design quality remain unconvincing. Certainly if quality is narrowly defined, as a function of financial predictability, controlled accountability and minimised time, then it may be possible to equate the rise of CAD/CAM with improvements in the practice of architecture. However, if quality is measured in terms of the finished product- a building that responds to human needs, evokes delight and has the capacity to support social and cultural practices- then CAD/CAM has been unable to consistently demonstrate a positive impact on architecture.
Homo Faber: Modelling, Identity and the Post Digital p. 175-185