Design today is intended as a specific methodological path activated by several actors and, at the same time, digitally mediated. This path is characterized by a growing cultural awareness that is shaping up around the axis data-digital-design (D³). Thanks to this axis, the contemporary paradigm shift in architectural design and product design are manifested through the digitalization of processes which is able to structure the data into useful information for the project according to evolved design optimization principles.
The paradigm shift gets its innovative drive through the symbiotic integration of two disciplines, Information Technology and Architectural Design. The common ground of encounter between them is represented by the Computational Design and its specific workflows to transpose the meta-design theoretical assumptions into the executive project. Pursuing the culture of computational thinking allows developing procedural strategies to think about the problem in systemic terms. The breakdown strategy is valid for thinking about the problem in terms of components as parts of the whole.
The importance that the digital architect will have in the future of the AEC industry will be proportional to his ability to empower and adapt his real soft skills (the problem-solving is exactly one of them) rather than his hard skills. Furthermore, the BIM philosophy has introduced lots of innovative elements regarding management and collaboration aspects by rapidly changing the role and responsibilities of the designer in the building process.
The business world has already been consolidated in the use of digital tools and advanced methodologies so that Academies have to face the cultural problem of integrating such innovations into their curricula. However, in the Digital Age, not all the progress steps can be traced back to a real paradigm shift and it is for this reason that a computational approach to design would open up the designers to new professional roles ensuring a work position qualitatively more responsive to its natural vocations.