This is an archived SimAUD Conference website from 2010.

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Symposium on Simulation for Architecture and Urban Design

  Monday Tuesday Wednesday
Session: Keynote Life Support Augmented Reality
8:30 AM Keynote (TBA) Integrating Building Information Modeling & Cell-DEVS Simulation DeskCube: using Physical Zones to Select and Control Combinations of 3D Navigation Operations
9:00 AM Keynote (TBA) A Method for Simulating NOx Dispersion in an Urban Area Using ENVI-met Input Devices for Interactive Architectural Visualization
9:30 AM Keynote (TBA) Space Perception and Luminance Contrast: Investigation and Design Applications through Perceptually Based Computer Simulations Augmented Reality Framework supporting Conceptual Urban Planning, enhancing the Awareness for Environmental Impact
Coffee Break
Session: Keynote Architect-oriented Transportation
10:30 AM Keynote (TBA) Toward Architect-friendly Energy Evaluation Tools Supporting Outdoor Mixed Reality Applications for Architecture and Cultural Heritage
11:00 AM Keynote (TBA) Schedule-Calibrated Occupant Behavior Simulation Conversion of One- to Two-Way Streets in Birmingham Downtown: A Feasibility Study
11:30 AM Keynote (TBA) Finding Synergy in Simulation, Modeling by Architects and Engineers in Conceptual Design Virtual Driving and Eco-Simulation
Lunch Break
Session: Beyond Simulation The Power of Data Superstructure
1:30 PM SimAUD Welcome 210 King Street: A Dataset for Integrated Performance Assessment Associative modelling of Multiscale Fibre Composite Adaptive Systems
2:00 PM Multi-Objective Optimization In Architectural Design Intuitive Structures: Applications of Dynamic Simulations in Early Design Stage LibreArchi: Library of Interactive Architectural Models Containing Exploratory and Didactic Simulations
2:30 PM Beyond Simulation: Designing For Uncertainty And Robust Solutions Exploring Parametric BIM as a Conceptual Tool for Design and Building Technology Teaching BIM-based Building Performance Monitor
Project Metropolis: Digital Cities
Coffee Break
Session: Generative Approaches Community Panel #1 Community Panel #2
3:30 PM Real-Time Design Feedback: Coupling Performance-Knowledge With Design    
4:00 PM Explorations of Agent-Based Simulation for Architectural Design    
4:30 PM Programming in the Model: Contextualizing Computer Programming in CAD Models    

Abstracts — Beyond Simulation Session

Multi-Objective Optimization In Architectural Design

Ian Keough and David Benjamin
Buro Happold Consulting Engineers & Columbia University Graduate School of Architecture, Planning, and Preservation

The challenge of the architect is to create a high-performing building design that is the result of often competing objectives. There are programmatic requirements, aesthetic objectives, and structural criteria which must all be carefully balanced. This paper describes the creation of an automated workflow using parametric modeling, links to structural analysis and a multi-objective optimization engine to act as a tool for the exploration of a wide design space, and as an aid in the decision making process. The design of our custom software CatBot for the linking of Catia and Robot is described, and the further challenge of generalizing the structural inputs, as a set of Catia parameters, to be accessible by students while still providing rigorous structural results is also described. The defining characteristic of this workflow, the ability to trigger topological variation of the model as part of the optimization, is exemplified by Living Light in Seoul, South Korea, by the Living Architecture Lab at Columbia University Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation. This project is presented as a case study.

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Beyond Simulation: Designing For Uncertainty And Robust Solutions

Sean Hanna, Lars Hesselgren, Victor Gonzalez and Ignacio Vargas
University College London, PLP Architecture, Next Limit Technologies

Simulation is an increasingly essential tool in the design of our environment, but any model is only as good as the initial assumptions on which it is built. This paper aims to outline some of the limits and potential dangers of reliance on simulation, and suggests how to make our models, and our buildings, more robust with respect to the uncertainty we face in design. It argues that the single analyses provided by most simulations display too precise and too narrow a result to be maximally useful in design, and instead a broader description is required, as might be provided by many differing simulations. Increased computing power now allows this in many areas. Suggestions are made for the further development of simulation tools for design, in that these increased resources should be dedicated not simply to the accuracy of single solutions, but to a bigger picture that takes account of a design's robustness to change, multiple phenomena that cannot be predicted, and the wider range of possible solutions. Methods for doing so, including statistical methods, adaptive modeling, machine learning and pattern recognition algorithms for identifying persistent structures in models, will be identified. We propose a number of avenues for future research and how these fit into design process, particularly in the case of the design of very large buildings.

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Abstracts — Generative Approaches Session

Real-Time Design Feedback: Coupling Performance-Knowledge With Design

Paola Sanguinetti, Marcelo Bernal, Maher El-Khaldi and Matthew Erwin
Georgia Institute of Technology

Many commercial environmental analysis tools support the evaluation of a building model based on parameters assigned in the design process. However interoperability issues between different data exchange formats hinder the iteration between design and analysis. Because the engineering calculations involved in analysis and evaluation are not integrated with architectural design parameters, evaluation takes place after the design is already defined, and analysis in real-time is not possible. In this project we integrate architectural design and engineering constraints to support design evolution and decision making by using a set of performance objectives. We propose a framework for coupling performance knowledge with generative synthesis to address multidisciplinary design challenges in the Architecture, Engineering, and Construction (AEC) industry. We develop a tool to support design evaluation based on performance criteria: energy consumption, comfort, and cost. Results show real-time information exchange as links between architectural geometry and engineering parameters. The outcomes of this research describe workflows and methods to evaluate alternative design proposals at early stages in real time.

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Explorations of Agent-Based Simulation for Architectural Design

Nick Puckett
University of Kentucky

With most forms of computational or Information – based architectural design the 2D scale drawing is often treated as an automated output of a complex system to translate information to builders or fabricators in an understandable format. We present a case study for a new typology of scale drawing which serves as the input and design control to rule-based component systems. This type of drawing serves as a construction document between the designer and the digital construction logic setup within the system and draws on the history and robustness of the scale drawing as a means of encoding information to develop a stronger design interface with complex component systems. The cases presented examine the potential of fuzzy logic as a method of control for component systems, and specifically how the logic graphs can become an "active scaled drawing" for designing system rules.

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Programming in the Model: Contextualizing Computer Programming in CAD Models

Maryam M. Maleki and Robert F. Woodbury
School of Interactive Arts and Technology, Simon Fraser University

Programming in the model locates programming elements and tasks contiguous with computer aided design (CAD) models. It aims to reduce the separation between acts of programming, modeling and design, using both spatial coincidence to reduce task shifting and common CAD techniques to simplify the expression of code. Using techniques from visual programming, parametric modeling and CAD selection we demonstrate how programming in the model can express the core steps in a very simple simulation algorithm.

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Abstracts — Life Support Session

Integrating Building Information Modeling & Cell-DEVS Simulation

Ahmed Sayed Ahmed, Gabriel Wainer and Samy Mahmoud
Carleton University

We present the development of an Interactive Environment System (IES). The IES is used for simulating Cell-DEVS models built in CD++ that interact with a Building Information Modeling(BIM) system using Autodesk Revit architecture and Autodesk 3ds Max. CD++ is a modeling and simulation tool that was created to study complex systems by using a discrete event cell-based approach. It was successfully employed to define a variety of models for complex applications using a cell-based approach. The system developed has a highly modular collection of software packages designed to facilitate the creation of device independent simulation for BIM. The integration of the proposed system is investigated via the simulation of Diffusion Limited Aggregation (DLA) which represents the growth of mold in a building wall. The results affirmed the potential of the (IES) system for interactive simulation application.

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A Method for Simulating NOx Dispersion in an Urban Area Using ENVI-met

Francisco Rasia and Eduardo Krüger
Federal Technological University of Paraná

This paper explores a method for the simulation of oxides of nitrogen (NOx) in an urban environment. A section of downtown Curitiba, Brazil has been modeled, using data gathered from city plans, satellite photographs and visual surveys; weather data at street level have been gathered by means of field monitoring and used for calibration of the model, focusing on the wind speeds within the urban canyon. Roadside noise level measurements and vehicle counting have been used to determine hourly traffic patterns. NOX emissions from vehicle exhaust were modeled using ENVI-met's dispersion modeling functions. The model construction and calibration workflow is discussed in detail, and the results of three different simulation scenarios are analyzed and discussed in relation to Brazilian air quality standards.

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Space Perception and Luminance Contrast: Investigation and Design Applications through Perceptually Based Computer Simulations

Nan-Ching Tai and Mehlika Inanici
University of Washington, Department of Architecture

Pictorial cues are the visual information gathered from 3D scenes; and they provide depth perception in the physical world. Pictorial cues are also used to create the illusion of depth on planar media. Planar media are a common platform for architects to visually examine the spatial qualities of their designs. Therefore, knowledge of pictorial cues can be used as a design strategy to enrich the spatial experience. In this paper, luminance contrast is proposed as an effective depth cue and design strategy. Lighting based perceptual studies are challenged by the dynamics of the luminous environments in physical experimental settings. Computer simulation allows the study of lighting variability throughout the day and year in a systematic manner. This paper utilizes a computational framework to simulate perceptual reality. Psychophysical experiments are conducted in this alternative environment. 3D scenes and the resulting 2D imagery are utilized to investigate the impact of lighting patterns and luminance contrast on depth perception. The results of the study demonstrate that luminance variations within a space impacts the perceived distance as much as they impact the luminance contrast between the task and the background. Application of this pictorial cue is demonstrated through architectural and urban design examples.

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Abstracts — Architect-oriented Session

Toward Architect-friendly Energy Evaluation Tools

Lieve Weytjens and Griet Verbeeck
Hasselt University

Several studies demonstrate the importance of integrating energy analyses in the architectural design process. For this, a wide variety of building performance simulation programs are currently available. However, most of these tools are not in tune with the architects' approach and are not suitable for early design stages, when major decisions are made. Despite recent developments addressing the use of simulation in the design process (DP), the uptake by architects is still limited. Further, the importance of user's needs has repeatedly been reported in literature, but has rarely been investigated from an architect's point of view. However, researchers and design tool developers need this information to improve the compatibility of existing tools with the architectural DP and to develop new tools.

This research focuses on the use of energy evaluation tools by architects, and aims at a better understanding of the architect's preferences for these tools. The concept of "architect-friendliness" was studied via interviews with 9 Flemish architects, and via a large-scale survey among 629 Flemish architects. The results provide important information for the development of energy tools that better fit the DP and better meet the architect's expectations. Finally, a conceptual framework specifying the concept of "architect-friendliness" is proposed.

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Schedule-Calibrated Occupant Behavior Simulation

Rhys Goldstein, Alex Tessier and Azam Khan
Autodesk Research

Building performance simulation promises to reduce the future impact of buildings on the environment by helping architects predict the energy demand associated with different design options. We present a new method for simulating occupant behavior in buildings, a key phase in the prediction of energy use. Our method first inputs the recorded activities of actual building occupants, then randomly generates fictional schedules with similar behavioral patterns. The main contribution of this work is a mathematical technique in which an arbitrary set of factors can be used to select plausible activity types, durations, and numbers of participants during a simulation. A prototype model was implemented to test the method, and results obtained to date suggest that the generated occupant schedules are believable when compared both qualitatively and quantitatively to real occupant schedules.

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Finding Synergy in Simulation, Modeling by Architects and Engineers in Conceptual Design

Alexander Hirsig
Harvard University Graduate School of Design

The interest in having architects utilize building simulation software to better inform conceptual design decisions has been present in the design industry for more than a decade, yet the adoption of simulation by architects in practice has been slow. Past research into the barriers of adoption has often looked through the lens of particular software, with conclusions aimed at improving the tools? interface and applicability to the architects' process. While software has made great advancement, we hear more often today of the engineer stepping forward to apply simulation to the conceptual design process rather than the architect learning to use simulation. In a survey of ten North American firms, diverse in offering design and/or engineering services, individual practices for incorporating simulation into conceptual design were compared. The more common presence of the engineer in conceptual design modeling promises a new collaborative approach to the sustainable design process, overcoming a significant barrier to the architects own adoption while highlighting a need for greater efficiencies in communication between software and analysis time.

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Abstracts — The Power of Data Session

210 King Street: A Dataset for Integrated Performance Assessment

Ramtin Attar, Venk Prabhu, Michael Glueck and Azam Khan
Autodesk Research

This paper presents a Building Information Modeling (BIM) re-creation of a designated heritage building located in Toronto, Canada. By taking advantage of BIM as a centralized database, which describes both geometric and semantic aspects of a building, this model can be leveraged as a source of input for many forms of analysis. In addition to the BIM model, we present a comprehensive point cloud dataset gathered using terrestrial laser scanning technology. Based on an existing and a living building, this model is an ideal candidate for simulations that can be cross referenced with information gathered on-site.

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Intuitive Structures: Applications of Dynamic Simulations in Early Design Stage

Andrzej Zarzycki
New Jersey Institute of Technology

Developments in digital design have brought a new design freedom into architecture. Emerging tectonic trends, combined with research into new materials and fabrication technologies, make it possible to pursue imaginative designs with new expectations of space and form. However, these innovative designs often exist exclusively as visual propositions, deprived of the deeper structural, constructional, or functional logic necessary for well-developed designs. Similarly, the proliferation of analysis software tools has helped engineers to calculate sophisticated structural models, yet this ability seldom translates back into architecture. Consequently, these two parallel developments, while promising in their individual capabilities, fall short in terms of synergizing into successful designs. To bring these two distinct components together, this paper discusses the strategies for generative design validation using dynamics-based modeling tools that realistically portray physical processes. Through the use of dynamics-based software, a promising direction for generative architectural design emerges. An architectural form not only can be analyzed based on its structural performance, but also can be derived through the process of structural simulations.

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Exploring Parametric BIM as a Conceptual Tool for Design and Building Technology Teaching

Andrzej Zarzycki
New Jersey Institute of Technology

This paper discusses the adoption of BIM tools as an opportunity for design generation, validation, and implementation. It specifically focuses on parametric modeling in discussing construction details, assemblies, and generative explorations in the design context. The introduction of parametric thinking into architectural design allows for understanding the interdependencies between various elements of a building assembly and improves an architect's communication with consultants and builders. It also opens doors for "What if..." speculative exploration that allow for broader questioning of design intent. This second aspect of parametric thinking encourages students to bridge technical knowledge with creativity.

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Abstracts — Augmented Reality Session

DeskCube: using Physical Zones to Select and Control Combinations of 3D Navigation Operations

Michael Glueck, Sean Anderson and Azam Khan
Autodesk Research

We present the DeskCube, a new passive input device, together with a space-division scheme using physical above-the-surface zones to select and control the desired 3D navigation operations that gives users simple scene-in-hand control over the virtual 3D world.

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Input Devices for Interactive Architectural Visualization

Ultan Byrne and Tom Bessai
John. H. Daniels Faculty of Architecture, Landscape & Design University of Toronto

Opportunities for the visualization of architectural proposals are emerging at the interface of digital and physical modeling. The course of this research so far has resulted in three explorations of these new possibilities. The three are linked by the general theme of updating digital visualizations based on a user's interactions with a physical model. Each involves a different device for the translation of the user's input into a responsive visualization system. First, the repurposing of an existing device – a Microscribe Scanning Arm – for the coordination of a digital drawing set; second, the implementation of a sliding device for the interactive digital sectioning of an architectural space; and third, the implementation of a computer vision system for interactive digital perspectives. In each of the three cases, visualizations of a digital model respond to the user's interactions with a physical correlate. This paper will briefly introduce the three approaches, explain how they function, and demonstrate their application by means of Autodesk Research's Digital 210 King Dataset.

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Augmented Reality Framework supporting Conceptual Urban Planning, enhancing the Awareness for Environmental Impact

Holger Graf and Pedro Santos
Fraunhofer Institute

This paper introduces a new augmented reality framework based on a multi-source urban planning backbone aiming at interactively investigating fast "what-if" analysis of urban planning simulations and creating awareness of possible environmental impact. The process of advanced urban planning nowadays includes the simulation of physical phenomena, its analysis, visualization and interpretation in order to evaluate the impact on the layout of the planning. For example, noise and air pollution, annoyances due to both nearby transportation infrastructure and urban traffic have become a serious concern for citizens. In order to provide major aid to the involved stakeholders, especially city managers, new techniques for the preparation, representation and interpretation of the typically large amount of resulting simulation data are required. These must be designed in order to enhance the perceptual and cognitive processes of users to facilitate faster interpretation and decision making. Hence, we introduce a new augmented reality framework which not only allows users to visualize but also to analyze physical phenomena in fast "what-if"-scenarios. By changing boundary conditions, parameters and re-simulating at interactive rates results can be augmented into real world planning layouts. Augmenting reality, urban planning and layouts with resulting simulation data through real-time visualizing tools provides a new and efficient interactive post processing unit for the exploration and analysis of the environmental impact due to changing conditions.

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Abstracts — Transportation Session

Supporting Outdoor Mixed Reality Applications for Architecture and Cultural Heritage

Pedro Santos, Dominik Acri, Thomas Gierlinger, Hendrik Schmedt and André Stork
Fraunhofer Institute and TU-Darmstadt

This paper introduces new approaches to enable collaborative outdoor mixed reality design review in the architectural domain as well as outdoor mixed reality experiences in the cultural heritage domain. For this purpose we present the results of three closely related European projects, IMPROVE and CINeSPACE, which are currently succeeded by MAXIMUS, continuing the development of technologies relevant to the two domains. The paper focuses on the base technologies needed to develop usable outdoor mixed reality applications, such as marker-less optical tracking combined with sensor fusion for accurate pose estimation outdoors. Furthermore the paper presents a new visualization system developed within the project, one of the few daylight blocking head.-mounted displays available. In addition to pose estimation and visualization devices, the paper presents a VR framework adapted for the architecture and the cultural heritage domain featuring high dynamic range image acquisition combined with pre-computed radiance transfer rendering to be able to photo-realistically render urban content. For the cultural heritage domain this framework has been extended to allow accurate display and generation of multimedia content super-imposed on a real environment as well as city navigation.

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Conversion of One- to Two-Way Streets in Birmingham Downtown: A Feasibility Study

Virginia Sisiopiku, Jugnu Chemmannur and James Brown
The University of Alabama at Birmingham, TRIA, Inc., Gonzalez-Strength and Associates, Inc.

Many urban areas are looking for ways to attract new businesses and residents in city centers and transform declining downtown areas into vibrant elements of the urban landscape. As a principal revival option, studies are conducted nationwide to understand the upshots and relevance of conversion of one-way streets to two-way operations. This paper summarizes the approach, findings and evaluation methodology for a study that investigated the feasibility and potential impacts of street conversion options on traffic operations in downtown Birmingham, Alabama. Of particular interest were issues related to conversion of grid systems from one-way to two-way operations. Recommendations on the most promising design and control configurations for implementation are also provided.

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Virtual Driving and Eco-Simulation

Christopher J. Grasso, Michael J. McDearmon and Yoshihiro Kobayashi
Forum8AZ and Arizona State University

This paper introduces a VR city model developed for research in driving simulation, driver behavior, and vehicle emissions. The project is a part of an interdisciplinary multi-year academic research grant at Arizona State University. First, the outline of the research is explained. The methods of VR city modeling are then introduced. The modeling process of creating road and intersection networks and traffic flow is explained. The system integration with a PC, modeling and VR software, and a Drive Simulator is illustrated. A research study of driver behavior and vehicle emissions is detailed. Next, a case study linking research in ecological driving with a simulator and Japan's National Agency for Automotive Safety & Victims' Aid is examined. Lastly, computational tools to extract driving behavior data and future endeavors are discussed.

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Abstracts — Superstructure Session

Associative modelling of Multiscale Fibre Composite Adaptive Systems

Maria Mingallon, Sakthivel Ramaswamy and Konstantinos Karatzas
Architectural Association School of Architecture

This paper reports on the digital simulation involved for the development of a smart material system capable of sensing and adapting to new environmental conditions. Its technology is based on incorporating fibre optics for sensing and shape memory alloys for actuation into a fibre composite material. Material, geometry and structure together with sensing and actuation had to be computed simultaneously requiring the use of in-house written codes as well as finite element models. The results demonstrate the potential of simulation for the development of smart materials and their application into full scale architectural constructions.

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LibreArchi: Library of Interactive Architectural Models Containing Exploratory and Didactic Simulations

Ivanka Iordanova and Temy Tidafi
Université de Montréal, Canada

This paper presents a library of interactive architectural referents, LibreArchi, which can play a twofold role, exploratory and didactic, during the conceptual phases of an architectural project. The library is composed of interactive models of chunks of architectural know-how represented in a multimodal way: through an interactive model including simulations, pictures, text, video, etc. The concept of distributed intelligence provides a methodological basis for LibreArchi in two ways: a precedent or a new project can be informed by or include several different chunks of know-how, thus allowing for higher complexity and flexibility; and being open for qualified input of interactive models of know-how, it is constructed by the community. This paper is an invitation to reuse and share.

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BIM-based Building Performance Monitor

Ramtin Attar, Ebenezer Hailemariam, Michael Glueck, Alex Tessier, James McCrae and Azam Khan
Autodesk Research

This video presents a set of visualization techniques for displaying real-time building behavior and usage, for the purposes of energy minimization, in the context of a semantically-rich building information model. Ambient occlusion shading is used to visualize the 3D space of the building, over which other visualizations may be layered. Specifically, occupancy, power usage, heat sources, air flow, and temperature are presented, as well as aggregated data sets such as "activity".

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Project Metropolis: Digital Cities

Richard Howard
Autodesk Inc.

This video presents a conceptual framework for a Digital City simulation and analysis software application that combines data from geographic information, building information modeling, traffic simulation, and sunlight simulation datasets. Informal studies with potential users were performed.

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Last updated: Friday, March 12, 2010

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