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Improving Structural Understanding in Architecture. Principle Investigators : Mehdi Setareh , Ph.D., PE, Nicholas F. Polys Ph.D., Jian Chen Ph.D., Brett Jones, Ph.D., Michael Ermann Students: Felipe Bacim , Ji Li, Li Ma, Tianyu Geng. SAFAS: an interactive

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Improving Structural Understanding in Architecture

Principle Investigators: MehdiSetareh, Ph.D., PE, Nicholas F. Polys Ph.D., Jian Chen Ph.D., Brett Jones, Ph.D., Michael Ermann

Students: Felipe Bacim, Ji Li, Li Ma, TianyuGeng


an interactive

Web3D design tool coupled with SAP simulation.

Goal: educational tools for architectural students and architects to better understand the

inter-relationships between

structure and form

  • Architecture Courseware
  • Multimedia Structures website
    • History, Principles, Case Studies
    • Image, movies, interactive 3D (X3D)
  • Interactive space frame designer
  • Multiple deformers
  • X3D and CIS-2 Compatible
  • Coupled to web-based Structural
  • Analysis Program (SAP) v4 and 2000
  • New Studio Materials
  • Design Projects: 11 different space
  • frame units; 2 column types
  • Direct manipulation of structure
  • Evaluate loads and displacement
  • Repeat until end criteria is reached
  • Evaluations
  • Formative:
    • Scientific visualization of structural networks
    • Deforming interactions in design
    • Undergrad Architecture Studio (Spring 2011 Virginia Tech)
  • Summative:
    • Undergrad Architecture Studio: Virginia Tech, U Illinois Urbana-Champlain, Hampton University

Usability Engineering

eLearning Systems

Interactive 3D Platforms

Paradox: The domain expert is not the end user.

“Cognitive scaffolding in Web3D learning systems: a case study for form and structure”. In Proceedings of the 15th international Conference on Web 3D Technology (Los Angeles, California, July 24 - 25, 2010). Web3D '10. ACM, 2010.

  • Client
  • Open source Java, based on the Xj3D toolkit; Students download and install
  • Interactive design and visualization of loads and displacements in the structure
  • Server
  • Student directories for designs and results
  • Deamon manages launching simulation engine (SAP by Computers and Structures Inc.)

For broad impact (and smart investment), interactive 3D content must be portable, interoperable, and durable.

Extensible 3D (X3D) is an open, royalty-free standard developed through the Web3D Consortium and ratified through the International Standards Organization (ISO).

In cooperation with the

Web3D Consortium and

the e-Learning Working Group: