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Education and Research

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DESIGN COURSE DOES DIGITAL

The goals and aspirations of teaching a digital design process vary widely between different educational institutions, as well as between academia and the profession.

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SIGGRAPH PRESENTS THE FUTURE OF COMPUTER GRAPHICS

Peek into a kid's world of video games and you may see the future of computing technology for architects. Despite the differences between the realms of work and play, the fact is that games and movies are fueling the economy and the direction of serious computer graphics research and development.

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NEW VIRTUAL REALITY THEATER SUPPORTS ARCHITECTURAL RESEARCH

Architecture students at Iowa State University (ISU) can walk into a magical environment and take on seemingly super powers. They can explore the architecture of the Roman Empire, sculpt architectural forms with their hands, and test structures in the process of design.

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VIRTUAL CRANBROOK UNITES TRADITION AND TECHNOLOGY

In the 1920s and 30s, the famous Finnish architect Eliel Saarinen committed both his talent and his spirit to the Cranbrook Academy of Art . This pioneer of the Arts and Crafts movement served as campus architect and president of the art school in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan. His goal was to create an environment for master artisans and students to live and work together.

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ENERGY SOFTWARE TO LINK DESIGN AND SCIENCE

For decades, research scientists have been developing extremely sophisticated analysis tools to study the energy performance of buildings. These tools have been effectively unusable among architects, however, because the interface is cumbersome, the output is largely numeric, and the input requires mechanical engineering data normally associated with the end of the architectural design process.

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DESIGN BY PHYSICS: INNOVATIVE SPACE PLANNING TOOL

In the Department of Architecture at Texas A&M University in College Station, Scott Arvin, working with professor Donald House, has developed a system for "physically based space planning." Arvin's computer prototype accepts building program parameters (square footages, adjacency and separation requirements) and constructs viable floor plans.

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THE RIGHT TOOL AT THE RIGHT TIME

Many architects can recall a favorite design instructor who could glance at their drawings then pull down the perfect reference book to help in further developing an idea. If humans can infer design intent from sketches, maybe computers can too.

So reasoned Ellen Yi-Luen Do, now a professor at the University of Washington. For her dissertation for a Ph.D. from the Georgia Institute of Technology, she investigated whether a computer could be as insightful as that helpful instructor.

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HAND-CRAFTED DIGITAL MODELS

From Brazil comes good news for anyone who has ever felt like they have one hand tied behind their back when manipulating 3D forms with a 2D drawing instrument.

University of Brasilia architecture professor Edison Pratini has been developing the "3D SketchMaker," which relies on natural, expressive hand gestures for creating 3D computer models. This process makes form-giving easier and removes the discontinuity between conceiving a form and translating it into a digital model.

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TURNING TODAY'S RESEARCH INTO TOMORROW'S SOFTWARE

Over the past four weeks, a series of articles in ArchitectureWeek has looked at four examples of university research projects that may some day become commonplace design tools for architects. Each of the four demonstrates a narrowly focused capability that is desirable but missing from current practice.

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COMPUTER VISUALIZATION AS A TOOL FOR CRITICAL ANALYSIS

For decades, critics have analyzed Frank Lloyd Wright's Darwin D. Martin House based on direct observation and 2D architectural drawings. But their conclusions lack the insight made visible by 3D computer visualizations. This study uses CAD techniques more commonly applied to design and presentation and re-evaluates both the house and the critical statements traditionally accepted about Wright's design.

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ARCHITECTURAL DESIGN AND VIRTUAL WORLDS

The creation of "virtual worlds" has emerged as a new design field, a rapidly expanding area of study, and possibly even a new profession. As these worlds become increasingly important in our living environment, architectural practitioners and students need to rise to the challenge. But until now "living in the virtual realm" has raised more attention among philosophers and social scientists than among architects. To stimulate a needed debate, we ask: what are the implications of architectural design in virtual worlds?

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