CumInCAD is a Cumulative Index about publications in Computer Aided Architectural Design supported by the sibling associations ACADIA, CAADRIA, eCAADe, SIGraDi, ASCAAD and CAAD futures
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Environmental psychologists specializing in architectural psychology offer "user needs' assessments" and "post occupancy evaluations" to facilitate communication between users and experts. To compare the efficiency of building descriptions, building walkthroughs, regular plans, simulation, and direct, long-time exposition, evaluation has to be evaluated.
Computer visualizations and virtual realities grow more important, but studies on the effects of simulation techniques upon experts and users are rare. As a contribution to the field of architectural simulation, an expert - user comparison of CAD versus endoscopy/model simulations of a Vienna city project was realized in 1995. The Department for Spatial Simulation at the Vienna University of Technology provided diaslides of the planned city development at Aspern showing a) CAD and b) endoscopy photos of small-scale polystyrol models. In an experimental design, they were presented uncommented as images of "PROJECT A" versus "PROJECT B" to student groups of architects and non-architects at Vienna and Salzburg (n= 95) and assessed by semantic differentials. Two contradictory hypotheses were tested: 1. The "selective framing hypothesis" (SFH) as the subjective theory of planners, postulating different judgement effects (measured by item means of the semantic differential) through selective attention of the planners versus material- and context-bound perception of the untrained users. 2. The "general framing hypothesis" (GFH) postulates typical framing and distraction effects of all simulation techniques affecting experts as well as non-experts.
The experiment showed that -counter-intuitive to expert opinions- framing and distraction were prominent both for experts and lay people (= GFH). A position effect (assessment interaction of CAD and endoscopy) was present with experts and non-experts, too. With empirical evidence for "the medium is the message", a more cautious attitude has to be adopted towards simulation products as powerful framing (i.e. perception- and opinion-shaping) devices.
The four projects which together make up this research programme deal with perception (understanding) and conception (designing and imaging) of urban space: “the architecture of the city”. Specific aspects are the effects of primary and secondary spatial boundaries and the systematic structuring of simulation of visual information. The programme will further concentrate on the development and implementation of relevant techniques (besides “traditional” ones such as the drawing and the architectural model, on multimedia techniques such as endoscopy, computer visualization and development of virtual reality systems), both in education and in design practice.
By means of analysis, the creation of visual models of choice and the setting up of experiments, the programme aims at the furthering of theoretical knowledge and at acquiring better insights into the effects of design decisions at an urban level, both for designers and for other participants in the design process. Further development of existing laboratory facilities towards a comprehensive Design Simulation Laboratory is an important aspect of the programme.
Within the media research process the Aspern location master plan has been considered as a case study, the findings of which will be presented separately in the workshop sessions.
Decisions taken in the ‘private design space’ of the design team or ‘actor’ are closely related to the type of support that can be provided by a Collaborative Design system: automatic checks performed by activating procedures and methods, reporting of 'local' conflicts, methods and knowledge for the resolution of ‘local’ conflicts, creation of new IT objects/ building components, who the objects must refer to (the ‘owner’), 'situated' aspects (Gero and Reffat, 2001) of the IT objects/building components.
Decisions taken in the ‘shared design space’ involve aspects that are typical of networked design and that are partially present in the ‘private’ design space. Cross-checking, reporting of ‘global’ conflicts to all those concerned, even those who are unaware they are concerned, methods for their resolution, the modification of data structure and interface according to the actors interacting with it and the design phase, the definition of a 'dominus' for every IT object (i.e. the decision-maker, according to the design phase and the creation of the object).
All this is made possible both by the model for representing the building (Carrara and Fioravanti, 2001), and by the type of IT representation of the individual building components, using the methods and techniques of Knowledge Engineering through a structured set of Knowledge Bases, Inference Engines and Databases.
The aim is to develop suitable tools for supporting integrated Process/Product design activity by means of a effective and innovative representation of building entities (technical components, constraints, methods) in order to manage and resolve conflicts generated during the design activity.
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