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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Cyberspace is an electronic extension of this cognitive space. Designers of virtual environments already
know the power these spaces have on the imagination. Computers are no longer just tools for projecting
buildings. They change the very substance of design. Cyberspace is itself a subject for design. With
computers architects can design space both for physical and non-physical media. A conscious integration of
cognitive and physical space in architecture can affect construction and maintenance costs, and the impact
on natural and urban environments.
This paper is about the convergence of physical and electronic space and its potential effects on
architecture. The first part of the paper will define cognitive space and its relationship to cyberspace. The
second part will relate cyberspace to the production of architecture. Finally, a recent project done at the
University of Michigan Graduate School of Architecture will illustrate the integration of physical and
Together these features offer a broader horizon to architectural design. New source of inspiration can
be found in virtual reality that makes visible what does not really exist, permitting design to suggest itself
with its primordial image. We mean a kind of architectural imprint, where the first three-dimensional lines
suggest in some way the designer with their shape, and encourage the definition process.
Through the visualisation of some images, it is possible to show the modifications of language and style,
to examine the transformation modalities of the design process and to propose an essay of the new
methods to communicate architecture.
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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