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

authors Russell, Peter
year 2001
title Visualising Non-Visual Building Information
source Architectural Information Management [19th eCAADe Conference Proceedings / ISBN 0-9523687-8-1] Helsinki (Finland) 29-31 August 2001, pp. 546-551
summary Architecture can be understood as a process and as an object. In both forms, it consists of a complex of mass, monetary, energy and information flows that occur over time scales ranging from hours and days to centuries. The parts or elements making up buildings and the processes involved in producing, maintaining, using and disposing of them are highly intertwined and multi-dimensional. The field of Architecture can range from complete building stocks down to individual buildings, their elements, and the materials and processes making up these elements. What is more, it is also necessary to introduce time as a dimension in order to model the complete life cycle of buildings. Current CAD systems concentrate primarily on the replication of the traditional drawing process (sometimes in three dimensions) and the visualisation of the finished building. While these models describe the geometry and visual appearance of buildings, the bulk of the information about the building remains unseen. Recently developed systems such as the German LEGOE system have combined a materials database with specification and CAD systems, which allows for a more comprehensive description of the building. However, this additional information is displayed either rudimentarily or as lists of numbers. The information describing the position or visual quality of building elements is, in fact, minuscule in comparison to that describing the properties of the materials involved, their production methods, the energy needed to produce, transport and install the elements, and information concerning toxicology and environmental issues. What is more, these materials are not simply in situ, but can be considered to flow through the building. These flows also occur at widely varying rates according to the type of material and the type of building. The view is taken that buildings are actually temporary repositories of various “flows” which occupy the building during its lifetime. Thus seen, the various aspects of a building at a certain stage of its life are taken to be the total sum of its inputs and outputs at any given time. Currently, its complexity and the lack of cognitive assistance in its presentation limit the understanding of this information. The author postulates that to better understand this information, visual displays of this “non-visual” building information are needed, at least for those who, like architects, are more visually inclined. The paper describes attempts made to go beyond conventional two-dimensional charts, which have tended to only complicate understanding. This is partly due to the need to display a high number of dimensions in one space. Examples are shown of experimental visual displays using three-dimensional graphs created in VRML as well as a “remodelling” of the building based on statistical rather than spatial information to form a building “artefact”. The remodelled artefacts are based on a null-value three-dimensional form and are then modified according to the specific database information without changing their topology. These artefacts are initially somewhat idiosyncratic, but become more useful when a large enough population has been created. With sufficient numbers, it is possible to compare and classify the artefacts according to their visually discernible attributes. The classification of the artefacts is useful in understanding building types independent of their formal “architectural” or spatial qualities, particularly with age-use-classes. The paper also describes initial attempts to create building information landscapes that unfold from the artefacts allowing detailed views of the summarised information displayed by the individual artefacts.
keywords Building Information, Visualisation, VRML, Life Cycle Analysis
series eCAADe
email peter.russell@ifib.uni-karlsruhe.de
full text file.pdf (81,719 bytes)
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100%; open Couture, L.A. and Rashid, N. (2000) Find in CUMINCAD The State of The Union Made Visual and Interactive , Wired 8.02, Feb. 2000
100%; open Kohler, N. and Russell, P. (2000) Find in CUMINCAD Research in the Field of Architecture: Objects and Methods , Proceedings of the 2nd ARCC-EAAE Conference, Paris
100%; open Kohler, N. (1997) Find in CUMINCAD Life Cycle Models Of Buildings , A new approach in CAAD Futures ‘97 - Munich
100%; open Tufte, E.R. (1983) Find in CUMINCAD The Visual Display of Qualitative Information , Chesire, Connecticut, Graphics Press

last changed 2001/08/06 20:38
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