Abstract

We provide an overview of the early stages of three related research projects whose goals are to exploit augmented reality, virtual worlds, and artificial intelligence to explore relationships between perceived architectural space and the structural systems that support it. In one project, we use a see-through head-mounted display to overlay a graphic representation of a building's structural systems on the user's view of a room within the building. This overlaid virtual world shows the out-lines of the concrete joists, beams, and columns surrounding the room, as well as the reinforcing steel inside them, and includes displays from a commercially available structural analysis program. In a related project, the structural view is exposed by varying the opacity of room finishes and concrete in a 3D model of the room and surrounding structure rendered on a conventional CRT. We also describe a hypermedia database, currently under construction, depicting major, twentieth-century American buildings. The interactive, multidisciplinary elements of the database—including structural and thermal analyses, free body diagrams (which show how forces are resisted by portions of a structure under various loading conditions), facsimiles of construction documents, and critical essays—are bound together and made available over the World-Wide Web. Finally, we discuss the relationships among all these projects, and their potential applications to teaching architecture students and to construction, assembly, and repair of complex structures.

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