A visual approach for structural analysis for architects
Samir Zaky Abdelmawla, Illinois Institute of Technology, United States
Illinois Institute of Technology . Awarded
A major portion of an architect's education is structures. Such study of structures includes engineering concepts presented in mathematical terms and architectural design presented in non-mathematical terms. Visual representation of structural concepts is an appropriate approach to understand engineering and design. Interactive learning technique can be developed to meet the needs of architectural students, who are best suited for such visual approach.
The research proposes a visual approach of structural analysis for architects that has great potentials for improving and developing students' structural knowledge. The proposed visual approach is a systematic procedure consisting of four sequential steps to develop a rational structural analysis process. These steps are: (a) abstraction of structural system and diagramming, (b) qualitative visual thinking and analysis, (c) quantitative numerical analysis, and (d) detailing of solved component.
The visual approach considers the role for a more interactive and more proactive use of interactive computer graphics as supporting medium for structural understanding especially at the two phases of visualize and analyze. This role embraces supporting visual modules, or gizmos. These gismos are self-paced interactive learning units, within which the student can interact visually and numerically with an abstracted structural component using different parameters and configurations.
The research investigated also the curriculum of a structural class in order to locate where the visual approach can provide support. The research sketches a class framework for the fundamental knowledge of structural analysis that students of architecture need to ensure that their expressions architecture are both rational and efficient. This framework goes in sequence from the introduction of structures to basic concepts which are considered as prerequisites before the analysis of structural components and concludes with evaluation through exams and quizzes. At the same time, the research delineates the relationship between the traditional class and on-line supporting materials at three levels of knowledge development: information giving, concepts augmentation and knowledge evaluation.
Finally, the research concludes by drawing the merits of the visual approach with the on-line interactive supporting system and the future of applying it to other disciplines in architectural education.
Abdelmawla, S.Z. A visual approach for structural analysis for architects. Ph.D. thesis, Illinois Institute of Technology.
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