Laptop Computer Program

The School of Architecture requires all first-year architecture and interior architecture students to purchase their own laptop computers beginning in the fall of 2013.  This laptop initiative is being undertaken with belief that computers function as important digital tools in the design process. As computer software becomes more varied and sophisticated, offering programs ranging from 2-D drafting and 3-D modeling to rendering and energy performance analysis, the computers required to run these programs demand certain specifications for optimal performance.

Importantly, we do not believe that the computer should ever eliminate hand drawing/sketching in the design process. While the computer has enormous capabilities and has become an essential tool in contemporary architectural practice, we also believe that hand drawing instruments are invaluable in design exploration, discovery and understanding. In the end, design inquiry must be a reflective process that engages a number of stimuli, sequences, methods and iterations.  Accordingly, our curricula support the use of both hand and digital tools for design and presentation.

Our laptop program is similar to that in many schools of architecture and ensures that students will be suitably equipped with a flexible, portable means of basic computing in the classroom, dormitory and/or apartment, as well as in the studio to work on digital-based design projects. We have also redesigned the student desk storage modules so that they have an adjustable shelf for the secure storage of your laptop. Each student workspace in the design studio is equipped with data ports for direct connection to the Internet and to the printers, scanners and plotters in the School's CAD Lab. The mobility of your laptop will enable you to set up very quickly in a variety of environments.

Partnership with Dell

Marywood University has partnered with Dell Computer to offer special student pricing on this mobile workstation: the Dell Precision M4800 (with a 15" display). The 15" display format will allow for easy mobility and setup in limited space, but may also necessitate the later purchase of a larger external display when working on highly detailed drawings or visualizations. The 15" workstation may be used with a larger external display screen.  Other screen options are available through Dell (M6800).

Why PC?

We have selected PC units rather than Macs because they best suit the University's PC-oriented computing platforms across the campus and because the majority of architectural offices are currently PC-based. The School's required Digital Media classes are all PC-based. It is strongly recommended that students acquire the stipulated configuration rather than purchasing a consumer-grade device at a "big box" retailer. The Dell mobile workstations being specified will come standard with a three-year warranty and a 1-800 phone number for service and technical support. The University's Help Desk will be familiar with your hardware setup and will be able to quickly address operational questions that may arise. Should you acquire a Mac or any other manufacturer's laptop, the Help Desk may be unable to assist you.

Neither the School of Architecture nor Marywood University receives any financial benefit from the sales of the hardware and/or software described herein. This Laptop Computer program is designed only to provide each student with more advantageous pricing through educational bulk discount rates.

Please see the FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)  for additional information.