Abigail Green

Session 3
Board Number

Testing Free Alternatives to Proprietary Software in Architectural Education

Architectural design education requires students to use software applications to achieve core tasks such as constructing digital models and producing images and drawings. As students, we have a unique perspective on this question, and we know that software can be costly. For this reason, the question of reducing software costs presented an interesting and relevant challenge. If architecture students seek to have influence within a global community following their graduation, they need to be able to demonstrate fluency in accomplishing core software tasks. However, because students have widely differing individual circumstances and varying levels of access to discretionary funding, the field is not level. By identifying free software that provides some form of equivalency to what is otherwise prohibitively costly for many, this research will directly benefit architecture students in a variety of contexts and situations around the world. In this study, we aimed to identify the fundamental functions of the software in the field and to find free alternatives to proprietary software. To achieve this goal, we defined and implemented several straightforward tests, aimed at examining whether freely available software applications could achieve a level of core functionality equivalent to that of proprietary software. At this point in our research, we have developed tests and begun testing, but have not finished all of the software. We are open to refining the tests as necessary.