Tomorrow's architectural practitioners seemingly need to gain an overview of, if not master, a wide range of computer aided architectural design applications, from image making to Building Information Modelling (BIM) to digital fabrication. However, we are sceptical whether there is wide recognition that there is value in a broader appreciation of the underlying principles that organize these applications. CAAD software, once an exploration of architectural ideas, has become a commodity. But as digital tools have become more ubiquitous the relationship between practice and research has, broadly speaking, become more ambivalent. What has been lost, and what gained, in this change?