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Reality and Virtual Reality: ACADIA Conference Proceedings

By G. Goldman and M.S. Zdepski


During the past ten years computers in architecture have evolved from machines used for analytic and numeric calculation, to machines used for generating dynamic images, permitting the creation of photorealistic renderings, and now, in a preliminary way, permitting the simulation of virtual environments. Digital systems have evolved from increasing the speed of human operations, to providing entirely new means for creating, viewing and analyzing data. The following essays illustrate the growing spectrum of computer applications in architecture. They discuss developments in the simulation of future environments on the luminous screen and in virtual space. They investigate new methods and theories for the generation of architectural color, texture, and form. Authors address the complex technical issues of "intelligent" models and their associated analytic contents. There are attempts to categorize and make accessible architects' perceptions of various models of "reality". Much of what is presented foreshadows changes that are taking place in the areas of design theory, building sciences, architectural graphics, and computer research. The work presented is both developmental, evolving from the work done before or in other fields, and unique, exploring new themes and concepts. The application of computer technology to the practice of architecture has had a cross disciplinary effect, as computer algorithms used to generate the "unreal" environments and actors of the motion picture industry are applied to the prediction of buildings and urban landscapes not yet in existence. Buildings and places from history are archeologically "re-constructed" providing digital simulations that enable designers to study that which has previously (or never) existed. Applications of concepts from scientific visualization suggest new methods for understanding the highly interrelated aspects of the architectural sciences: structural systems, environmental control systems, building economics, etc. Simulation systems from the aerospace industry and computer media fields propose new non-physical three-dimensional worlds. Video compositing technology from the television industry and the practice of medicine are now applied to the compositing of existing environments with proposed buildings. Whether based in architectural research or practice, many authors continue to question the development of contemporary computer systems. They seek new interfaces between human and machine, new methods for simulating architectural information digitally, and new ways of conceptualizing the process of architectural design. While the practice of architecture has, of necessity, been primarily concerned with increasing productivity - and automation for improved efficiency, it is clear that university based studies and research continue to go beyond the electronic replication of manual tasks and study issues that can change the processes of architectural design - and ultimately perhaps, the products

Year: 1991
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