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authors Potier, S., Maltret, J.L. and Zoller, J.
year 2000
title Computer graphics: assistance for archaelogical hypotheses
source Automation in Construction 9 (1) (2000) pp. 117-128
summary This paper is a contribution to the domain of computer tools for architectural and archeological restitution of ancient buildings. We describe an application of these tools to the modeling of the 14th century AD. Thermae of Constantin in Arles, south of France. It was a diploma project in School of Architecture of Marseille-Luminy, and took place in a context defined in the European ARELATE project. The general objective of this project is to emphasize the archeological and architectural heritage of the city of Arles; it aims, in particular, to equip the museum of ancient Arles with a computer tool enabling the storage and consultation of archaeological archives, the communication of information and exchange by specialized networks, and the creation of a virtual museum allowing a redescription of the monuments and a "virtual" visit of ancient Arles. Our approach involves a multidisciplinary approach, calling on architecture, archeology and computer science. The archeologist's work is to collect information and interpret it; this is the starting point of the architect's work who, using these elements, suggests an architectural reconstruction. This synthesis contains the functioning analysis of the structure and building. The potential provided by the computer as a tool (in this case, the POV-Ray software) with access to several three-dimensional visualizations, according to hypotheses formulated by the architect and archaeologists, necessitates the use of evolutive models which, thanks to the parametrization of dimensions of a building and its elements, can be adapted to all the changes desired by the architect. The specific contribution of POV-Ray in architectural reconstruction of thermae finds its expression in four forms of this modeling program, which correspond to the objectives set by the architect in agreement with archeologists: (a) The parametrization of dimensions, which contributes significantly in simplifying the reintervention process of the architectural data base; (b) Hierarchy and links between variables, allowing "grouped" modifications of modelized elements in order to preserve the consistency of the architectural building's morphology; (c) The levels of modeling (with or without facing, for example), which admit of the exploration of all structural and architectural trails (relationship form/function); and, (d) The "model-type", facilitating the setting up of hypotheses by simple scaling and transformation of these models (e.g., roofing models) on an already modelled structure. The methodological validation of this modeling software's particular use in architectural formulation of hypotheses shows that the software is the principal graphical medium of discussion between architect and archaeologist, thus confirming the hypotheses formulated at the beginning of this project.
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