Page N3.2 . 29 November 2000                     
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  • ACADIA Reports Progress in Research and Education
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    ACADIA Reports Progress in Research and Education


    Computer Support for Design Work

    One of the conference presenters seeks to improve on conventional wisdom about the ergonomic capabilities of the elderly and people with disabilities. The Anthropometric Measurement and Modeling Project being conducted by John Jay Miller, Weidong Wang, and Gavin Jenkins at Mississippi State University measures human arm mobility and represents it in ways directly applicable in the design process. Their animations show an individual's reach more clearly than still images can. Shown in the context of a 3D model, they demonstrate how much of a workstation, for example, is actually within reach of the user.

    Often, research projects presented at these conferences are inspired by observing the frustrations of students struggling to learn architecture. To help overcome the difficulties are, for example, the "Structural Gizmos" developed by Samir Abdelmawla and his colleagues at the Illinois Institute of Technology.

    As visual thinkers, many architecture students have difficulty relating to the conventional math- and physics-based approach to learning about how structures work. Understanding stresses within a truss, for example, is beyond the capability of simple logic or intuition. Abdlemawla has developed animations and interactive learning modules that introduce students to the concepts in ways that will instill knowledge more effectively than mathematical formulas ever could.

    Competition Results

    Highlighting the conference were the announcements of student and professional award winners. ACADIA sponsored a juried, on-line competition, organized by architect, author, and ArchitectureWeek contributing editor Darlene Brady. She has compiled the winners into the Digital Media Exhibit.

    The competition's goal is to examine the potential of digital media and the Web to link content and presentation. As in any design presentation, an effective delivery involves conveying the idea behind the design. But in this case, it also requires that the medium be made accessible to the viewer.

    One of the student winners is Rodrigo Paraizo of the Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro in Brazil. His project, "CMC2000—Internet-Aided Design," is a Web-based "hyperdocument" for developing an architecture project.

    Paraizo explores a low-cost, low-maintenance way for architects to present a design-in-progress and solicit feedback from clients, future users, contractors, or other colleagues. In his example, a K-12 elementary school is displayed in its development, and children submit their own drawings and comments on the design.

    "As a future development," Paraizo speculates, "the Web site might serve as an ever-growing reference center for further projects on school design, as well as a Web resource for presentation tools and techniques."

    In the professional category of the Digital Media Exhibit is Brady's own project. "The Mind's Eye" combines metaphor, imagination, memory, materials, light, and movement through space and time to create "A Place For Contemplation," an urban adaptive reuse project.

    "The point of this process," says Brady, "is to identify appropriate concepts and to interpret the ideas visually as forms which evoke, rather than illustrate, the concepts architecturally; whether the ideas come from a work of literature or the building program."

    From the Joint Study Program

    Another set of imaginative works emerged from the student competition sponsored by auto-des-sys, maker of the 3D modeler form-Z. In this eighth annual Joint Study Awards event, the winner in the architectural design category is Daniel Barney, a recent graduate of Miami University.

    Barney's thesis project, a floating oceanic research facility, incorporates a space frame structural system. "My primary goal," he says, "was to insert the program into a structure such that inhabitants and structure coexisted in a functional manner. But the spaces within the project were extremely difficult to envision." He reports that the structural mechanics of the design could not have been readily, clearly, or efficiently displayed in three dimensions without the modeler.

    Going Global

    Just as the Internet has brought people of many nationalities closer over the past few years, so has ACADIA brought together architectural-computing academics. ACADIA and European sister organization eCAADe have been joined by their Asian counterpart CAADRIA and, most recently, SIGRADI, from Latin America.

    ACADIA president Clayton says that these four groups are planning work on an international journal and a joint conference in 2003. "We're hoping to bring together all architects, educators, and researchers who are intensely interested in computing, digital media, and information technology."



    ArchWeek Photo

    "The Mind's Eye," an award winner in the Digital Media Exhibit, explores displaying time and space simultaneously.
    Image: Darlene Brady

    ArchWeek Photo

    A comparison of traditional ergonomic data with computer-generatedmodeling, shown here in the heavy dots.
    Image: John Jay Miller, Weidong Wang, and Gavin Jenkins

    ArchWeek Photo

    A student winner in the Digital Media Exhibit is Rodrigo Paraizo of the Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro. His school-design process was posted on the Web to solicit feedback.
    Image: Rodrigo Paraizo

    ArchWeek Photo

    An urban school in Rio de Janeiro received design input from children.
    Image: Rodrigo Paraizo

    ArchWeek Photo

    Entry court to the school in Rio de Janeiro.
    Image: Rodrigo Paraizo

    ArchWeek Photo

    Fourth graders added their own thoughts to the school design project.
    Image: Daniel Cordeiro

    ArchWeek Photo

    Structure and spaces were tightly integrated in the floating oceanic research facility design project.
    Image: Daniel Barney

    ArchWeek Photo

    Working out the research facility in three dimensions would have been virtually impossible with a 3D modeler.
    Image: Daniel Barney


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