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id ascaad2010_249
authors Hawker, Ronald; Dina Elkady and Thomas Tucker.
year 2010
title Not Just Another Pretty Face
source CAAD - Cities - Sustainability [5th International Conference Proceedings of the Arab Society for Computer Aided Architectural Design (ASCAAD 2010 / ISBN 978-1-907349-02-7], Fez (Morocco), 19-21 October 2010, pp. 249-260
summary Digital Heritage has gained popularity recently as means of dynamically representing and reconstructing historic buildings and cityscapes. Simultaneously this new medium of visualization affords another approach to examine human-virtual environment interaction and offers possibilities of exploiting virtual environments as educational tools. At Zayed University, a federal university primarily for women citizens of the United Arab Emirates, we have integrated student-faculty research and documented and reconstructed a number of historical buildings within the curriculum of the Department of Art and Design. We have further collaborated with the animation program at Winston Salem State University in North Carolina, utilizing the motion capture laboratory at the Center of Design Innovation to literally breathe life into these reconstructions. The primary idea is to contribute to the ongoing documentation of the country’s heritage through creating “responsive virtual heritage environments” where the spectator is actively engaged in exploring the digital space and gain certain degrees of control over the course and scheme of the dynamic experience. The process begins by introducing students to utilize the diverse capabilities of CAD and three dimensional computer applications and intertwine the technical skills they acquire to construct virtual computer models of indigenous built environments. The workflow between the different applications is crucial to stimulate students’ problem solving abilities and tame the application tools, specifically when constructing complex objects and structural details. In addition the spatial and temporal specificity different computer applications afford has proven useful in highlighting and analyzing the buildings’ function within the extreme climate of the country and their role in the political-economy, particularly in visualizing the ephemeral qualities of the architecture as they relate to passive cooling and the inter-relationships between built and natural environments. Light and time settings clarify shadow casting and explain the placement and orientation of buildings. Particle simulations demonstrate the harnessing of wind and rain both urban and rural settings. The quantitative data accumulated and charted through CAD and VR programs and geo-browsers can be integrated with qualitative data to create a more holistic analytical framework for understanding the complex nature of past settlement patterns. In addition, the dynamic nature of this integration creates a powerful educational tool. This paper reviews this ongoing research project with examples of reconstructions completed across the country, demonstrating analytical and educational possibilities through the integration of CAD programs with a range of other statistical, geographic, and visualization software.
series ASCAAD
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