Institute of Architectural Algorithms & Applications 建筑运算与应用研究所 School of Architecture, Southeast University, Nanjing

Case-based Design with SketchUp models


The research takes three-dimensional mesh models of architecture as the sources of cases. The computer program is supposed to produce new designs out of cases in the form of 3d mesh models. Most case-based design (CBD) researches on architecture focused on the 2d drawings of architecture. However, 3d models catch more information of buildings than 2d drawings. A few CAD systems have focused on the geometries of architecture (e.g. AutoCAD, SketchUp and Rhinoceros); while some integrate the semantics in architecture (e.g. Revi and ArchiCAD). Our program indicates that the geometrical models without architectural information are surprisingly versatile. For convenience, we chose the SketchUp models since Google/Trimble has provided an online repository of SketchUp models . Dozens of models that contain interior structures such as interior walls and stairs are selected as a case library.

The program succeeds in creating a wide variety of designs  with a very small repository of modernism architectures. First, the geometry in each case model is triangulated so that the building is actually represented by a set of triangles without any additional semantic information. Then, the geometries are loaded into the Java program. The program consists of two stages governed by two models:

  1. Recognition. Categorizing the triangles in the geometry into several meaningful sets (wall, floor, and stair/slope). Besides, the connectivity between the floors and stairs, between floors and walls are calculated.
  2. Aggregation. Constructing new designs by combining the elements extracted in the first step, according to user-defined topologies.



Recognizing wall, floor, and stair/slope from the original mesh model



One generated design (left: the building model; right: the floor structure)



Another two generated designs



Urban collage


Researcher: Hua Hao (华好)

Year: 2013




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