Comparison of Multi-media Environments Applied in  Digital Architecture Experiments

School of Computer Science & Information Technology University of Nottingham


This research combines two research areas that intersect in a point, architecture and information technology. Accordingly, this dissertation will go through defining this point of intersection. Then, the research will overview a little about the pioneers that have had done research on the point, and their work. In addition, an over viewing of the criticizing debate of this intersection point between these two diverse areas will be discussed. 

The Research problem and aim will be defined and discussed, leading to illustration of the methods and tools used. During conducting the experiment problems and experiences were faced and solved, and that will be elaborated during the dissertation. The experiences gained during the experiment will be the basis of evolving of the conclusion. Finally, the benefit of this research and recommended future studies, in both research areas, will be discussed after the findings.
The point of research
At first, architects got acquainted with IT and using it in correlation with their work through drafting tools like Auto Desk Packages and Auto CAD. Afterwards, computer skills have grown gradually as a necessity for architects. Until this architecture-IT integration triggered a debate of architecture as a humanistic art against computation of data as materialistic science. As will be elaborated in the dissertation, the argument was about if the use of IT will change architecture into merely a form of mass production industry of non-creative buildings. [1, q]

Digital Architecture is computing architectural aspects, seeking a new digitized form. [1, q] Computing architectural experiments to enhance a new architectural digital trend, creating experimental architecture, and actually testing it, is a new architectural research area. [5] Digital architecture is the intersecting point of architecture design and information technology and it will be thoroughly defined during the research.

According to architectural design models, which will be illustrated, the design of form depends upon many things such function relations between the rooms, orientation of the building, and environmental factors. This study concentrates mainly on a very specific point, which is the environmental factors affecting the form. 

However, IT could be used in many other fields and many studies could be based on these other points of architecture, such as relationships between inner spaces, what will be held within these spaces (the function of the space), load calculations, forces affecting buildings, calculating the amount of materials used, and utility installments. This would be even more essential for buildings of irregular forms that would mathematically be hard to calculate. [1, q]

The aim of research
This dissertation is trying to achieve a certain aim, which is to allow architects develop architectural software. Since the digital architecture experiments are carried out by architects, therefore it would be logical that an architect should implement the software for computing the experiments factors.

Anther aim of the carried out research, is finding the optimum environment to implement such software according to three found that are relative to the architectural field, the IT field, and output quality. These three points are researched according to how architects think, having an environment that actually possesses computing features, and production an output that could be discussed and later on altered.

Methodology and Tools
An experiment was carried out to find the optimum solution. The experiment was conducted depending on three elements combined to create a study case. First, the researcher as an architect, which has an architectural background, as well as, a fair amount of knowledge about IT aspects. The second element is the experiment conducted which is the idea of the architectural design. The architectural idea is to deform a model according to the solar angles and cut off the sun exposure during the unfavorable times. Finally, the third element is the testing environments, in which the research will compare three of these environments in search of the optimum. The chosen environments are diverse in their philosophy, and their purpose. The environments 3D Lingo, MAXScript, and OpenGL view the problem from different prospective which gives them the diversity.

This dissertation wills mainly spreading out the main outlines of each environment, as they are the tools used for implementation. It will also go through the philosophical background of each tool which directly affects the features. Also, the advantages and disadvantages of each tool will be stated and elaborated. Then, according to the conducted experiments as well as each tools feature a comparison will be held in search for the optimum amongst these tools.

As the initial part of the dissertation, the study point has been briefly discussed followed by the aim and the methodology proposed to use. During the coming chapters, these will be discussed, studied, and elaborated in detail. Accordingly, the conclusion will be produced through the methods used, depending on the conclusion the benefits will be shown, and enhancing the research with areas that could have equal beneficial value.