In architecture and urban planning physical and digital models fulfil different tasks and functions within the design process and are not directly connected. This is due to their largely complementary characteristics and qualities. Whereas physical models are primarily used as a design tool and to represent and communicate a design, digital models also support the evaluation of a design by employing computer-aided analysis and simulation techniques.
Within the scope of my master thesis I analysed the use of the model as an analogue and digital design tool as well as its importance for the work process. In addition, I examined existing tangible user interfaces from the field of architecture and urban design. Based on early projects and approaches in this area such as the metaDESK by Ullmer and Ishii and the Urban Planning Tool Urp by Underkoffler and Ishii I developed a prototype application, the Augmented Urban Model.
The Augmented Urban Model aims to bridge the gap between physical and digital models and their usage in urban design and planning. The objective is furthermore to create a tangible user interface which facilitates interaction with and manipulation of digital data in real space. It combines the qualities of physical and digital models in the work process to facilitate the handling of digital applications and transfers digital data into a spatial context by augmenting the physical model with digital information.
The Augmented Urban Model was realised using current technologies, such as a back projection table and conventional consumer electronics (Microsoft Kinect), which enabled me to use and process non-predefined model elements. I implemented a simple shadow simulation to test the prototype. The application was developed in Visual Studio 2010 using csharp (C#).
Master thesis in the post-gradual programme MediaArchitecture at the Bauhaus-University Weimar, Winter 2010/2011.