Page T2.2 . 13 September 2000                     
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    QUIZ

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    Virtual Jerusalem

    (continued)

    As a second step, using MicroStation/J, the lines are brought to the height of the roofs and closed, to create polygons.

    Then these polygons are extruded to make them three-dimensional solids and added to the topographical model. Here Ariel's team uses MicroStation TriForma, a platform for 3D building and plant applications, including modeling and documentation. "The easy-to-use modeling tools allow us to quickly sculpt, modify, and visualize our city model," says Ben-Hamo.

    Next come roads, streets, and traffic islands. For a while they hover in the air until they are brought down in place to their correct height on the topographical model. This step also involves carving and pasting such details as niches, tiled roofs, external stepped balconies, fences, and so on. Both MicroStation/J and MicroStation Modeler are used for this.

    Then follows the apportionment of textures, such as brick, stone, stucco, or rough plaster. These are assigned to exterior and interior walls. Michal allots different colors to the different elements that make up the picture on the screen.

    And, finally, specific buildings are "taken apart." Details such as facades, doors, and windows complete the design. Required for this process are digital photos—taken both from the air and at ground level—which are then pasted as a raster image onto the 3D model.

    Ariel's computer team has now concluded work on 20 maps of the center of town, an area of 1.25 miles square (2 kilometers square).

    Managing the Size and Scope

    What is unique about MicroStation? Ariel says: "Other software can document houses or, at the most, neighborhoods. MicroStation is designed for large-scale engineering across the Internet and incorporates 3D modeling and photorealistic visualization and animation. MicroStation", he adds, "is, in effect, the only software able to deal with all aspects of a city model. On one hand, it can work on the smallest architectural details; on the other hand, it has the ability to work on huge areas—compounds, neighborhoods, entire cities."

    MicroStation is currently also being used successfully in creating city models in Sydney, Tokyo, and six cities in the United States (Washington, D.C., New York, Philadelphia, Boston, Orlando, Florida, and Charlotte, North Carolina). Plans are afoot to create virtual city models in cities across the U.S. and Central America.

    Prominent edifices such as historic structures, public buildings, churches, synagogues, and high rises get special treatment. They receive a 3D facade plus texture and colors. While ordinary buildings remain as cubes, those somewhat more important get 2D facades.

    The Jerusalem YMCA one of the more prominent buildings. It has two things in common with the Empire State Building in New York: each was the tallest structure in its city at the time it was built, and both were designed by architect Arthur Louis Harmon.

    "When we connect our model to a database," states Ariel, "partly GIS, partly our own, it will permit the retrieval of cross sections of different periods, styles, functions, and individual architects." It will also offer visual cross sections of skylines, perspectives from a pedestrian eye level, and changes of sun and shade at different seasons and different hours.

    In addition to documenting existing city features, he explains, "Our model is used for architectural visualization and evaluation for both existing and future construction. When a new building is proposed, we take the architect's 2D drawings—plans, sections, elevations, details, specifications—and transform them into 3D models."

    A Symbol of Many Cultures

    The Jerusalem YMCA is a combination of Byzantine, Romanesque, Gothic, and neo-Moorish architecture. It is, above all, a symbolic building, meant to evoke early architectural traditions of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. Thus, the foundation contains stones from quarries believed to have been used in the construction of the Second Temple; the Christian aspect is evident in the Romanesque and Gothic styles, exemplified, inter alia, by the vaulted ceilings; while a large dome and painted arabesques at the entrance hall are typical Islamic elements. On the lobby floor is an excellent mosaic replica of the famed Madaba map. (The original mosaic is in Jordan).

    Continuing the symbolism, 40 columns in the forecourt arcade represent 40 years of the Jews' wandering in the desert and the 40 days of the temptation of Jesus. Twelve huge windows in the auditorium and twelve cypress trees in the garden are meant to signify the twelve tribes, the twelve disciples of Jesus, and the twelve followers of Mohammed.

    From the top of the 16-foot (5-meter) tower, one has a panoramic view of Jerusalem and surroundings. Ariel, too, has a far-reaching vision: he wants, eventually, to make the city model and its information available on the Web in the public domain "for professional use of architects wherever they may be, for better planning."

    Lili Eylon is a freelance journalist based in Jeruselem.

    This article was first published in the Spring 2000 issue of CAD Rit-Nytt magazine, Malmo, Sweden.

     

    AW

    ArchWeek Photo

    The Jerusalem YMCA, a combination of Byzantine, Romanesque, Gothic, and neo-Moorish architecture, was designed by architect Arthur Louis Harmon
    Image: Jerusalem Center of Planning in Historic Cities

    ArchWeek Photo

    The Jerusalem YMCA, bottom left, shown in its site context.
    Image: Jerusalem Center of Planning in Historic Cities

    ArchWeek Photo

    An aerial view of the model, as developed to date.
    Image: Jerusalem Center of Planning in Historic Cities

    ArchWeek Photo

    A downtown portion of the model.
    Image: Jerusalem Center of Planning in Historic Cities

    ArchWeek Photo

    The 3D model can be rendered for any time of day and year. Here, the shade and shadows are displayed on the Jaffa Road as seen on a June morning.
    Image: Jerusalem Center of Planning in Historic Cities

    ArchWeek Photo

    Shade and shadows on the Jaffa Road as seen on a December morning.
    Image: Jerusalem Center of Planning in Historic Cities

    ArchWeek Photo

    Morning shadows on Ben Yehuda Street.
    Image: Jerusalem Center of Planning in Historic Cities

    ArchWeek Photo

    Evening shadows on Ben Yehuda Street.
    Image: Jerusalem Center of Planning in Historic Cities

     

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