In defense of AutoCAD!

From (I think) "Les Animaux," by Jean Ignace Isidore Gérard Grandville, 1803-1847. (

From (I think) “Les Animaux,” by Jean Ignace Isidore Gérard Grandville, 1803-1847. (

My post on CAD – which I wish I’d called “CAD or cad?” – has drawn some comment on TradArch from the technique’s defenders. Among the most eloquent and entertaining is Nathaniel Walker’s assertion that computer aided design is just another kind of pencil. I agree, and perhaps my post seemed too hard on poor CAD. Here is his riposte:

CAD is awesome for any modular design grammar.  Rough on Picturesque Contrived Irregular Gothic, maybe, but fantastic for Classicism.  It’s ultimately just a different kind of pencil, gee whiz.

Are all the Garden Party conservatives as hung up on musical technology as they are on architectural technology?  Just curious.  I told Patrick the other day that I have a little test: if a Classicist only listens to Classical music, I get very very suspicious.  If they only feast on Classical music that was recorded on analog tape, not least so that no digital editing was possible, then I politely recuse myself and start to run.  If they refuse recording technology entirely and listen only to live cellists wearing powdered wigs and harboring imperial racist impulses, I know that running is futile, and begin to discreetly bend my silverware so that I can immobilize the bastards with a couple of Chinese Fork Ties before my iPhone buzzes and they fly into a murderous rage.

I have never used CAD, or even seen it in operation, and I can’t draw my way out of a paper bag (even though I once took an art class at the Corcoran in D.C.). But I do listen to music on the best technology that “modernism” has to offer. I listen mainly to classical and the more bluesy jazz, or jazzy blues, or whatever – more Billie Holiday than John Coltrane*, though Trane is the tits, as my oldest friend and jazz musician might put it. And, of course, I almost forgot to add, classical rock ‘n’ roll.

* Rather than the Trane, a better representative of the type of jazz I’m thinking of (and avoiding) is Ornette Coleman.

About David Brussat

This blog was begun in 2009 as a feature of the Providence Journal, where I was on the editorial board and wrote a weekly column of architecture criticism for three decades. Architecture Here and There fights the style wars for classical architecture and against modern architecture, no holds barred. History Press asked me to write and in August 2017 published my first book, "Lost Providence." I am now writing my second book. My freelance writing on architecture and other topics addresses issues of design and culture locally and globally. I am a member of the board of the New England chapter of the Institute of Classical Architecture & Art, which bestowed an Arthur Ross Award on me in 2002. I work from Providence, R.I., where I live with my wife Victoria, my son Billy and our cat Gato. If you would like to employ my writing and editing to improve your work, please email me at my consultancy,, or call 401.351.0457. Testimonial: "Your work is so wonderful - you now enter my mind and write what I would have written." - Nikos Salingaros, mathematician at the University of Texas, architectural theorist and author of many books.
This entry was posted in Architecture, Art and design, Humor, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to In defense of AutoCAD!

  1. Erik Bootsma says:

    I’m all about classical, but I’ve branched out into old country, or at least old style country.

    One need not be a luddite, classicism is true no matter what made it!


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