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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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.
How is the research situation? Using several standard research data banks, the author collected articles and book(chapter)s on architectural psychology in German- and English-language countries from 1990 to 1996. Studies on main architecture-psychology interface problems such as user needs, housing quality evaluations, participatory planning and spatial simulation / virtual reality did not outline an “old, settled” discipline, but rather the sketchy, random surface of a field “always starting anew”. E.g., discussions at the 1995 EAEA-Conference showed that several architectural simulation studies since 1973 caused no major impact on planner's opinions (Keul&Martens, 1996). “Re-inventions of the wheel” are caused by a lack of meetings (except this one!) and of interdisciplinary infrastructure in German-language countries (contrary to Sweden or the United States). Social pressures building up on architecture nowadays by inter-European competition, budget cuts and citizen activities for informed consent in most urban projects are a new challenge for planners to cooperate efficiently with social scientists. At Salzburg, the author currently manages the Corporate Design-process for the Chamber of Architecture, Division for Upper Austria and Salzburg. A “working group for architectural psychology” (Keul-Martens-Maderthaner) has been active since 1994.
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 reality, though diminished in a simplified form, is in advance, i.e. in an anticipated way. By adapted periscope the endoscopic method develops the method of spatial modeling in new media dimension and enriches it towards creativeness by enabling the simulated space to be percepted on a traditional artificial model in natural horizon of a man. To secure the anticipation by visual simulation of spatial experience on the monitor in a trustworthy manner with respect to real reality, according to relevant aspects of the conception, the visual simulation must respect the rules of sensory perception of a man in real environment. From the procedural point of view of perception the most significant fact for the psyche is the sequence dynamics of the subject and the movement of the perceiver in space. This means that in the mind of the perceiver the most emotionally reflected is the dynamic spatial experience.
Despite the known disadvantages and technical circumstances of model building the method of spatial endoscopy proved itself in didactics, mainly in the approval phase of the aims of urbanistic composition and shaping of an urban space, especially because it enables to carry out by interactive means the sequence research and evaluation of the simulated space on the working model, directly in the studio or in laboratory conditions with relatively low expenses, and with the possibility of immediate correction and subsequent evaluation of the effect. Similarly, its audiovisually elaborated media outputs may simultaneously complete the identical model presentation within evaluating and approving continuations in professional gremiums or in making the results of urban and architectonic solutions popular in the layman public. According to an informal public opinion research on the effect of both CAD and endoscopy simulations, the later one is more popular. Is is, however, a matter of subjective evaluation and experience or a matter of commercial application.
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