design in a 3D environment
Multidisciplinary architectural design often requires the co-operation
of people located at different sites. Inter-team communication is often imperfect, and
this can result in design mistakes. The cost of rectifying errors during construction can
be very expensive and design agencies have been seeking a method of preventing such errors
at an earlier stage in the project.
Improving communication within multidisciplinary architectural design is the goal of
the M3D project. The project has developed a design tool that is not dependent upon any
proprietary computer-aided design (CAD) system. This tool provides the means to visualise
three-dimensional (3D) geometry by allowing 3D geometry from different sources to be
automatically combined into one 3D virtual environment. Thus, each member of the design
team can contribute to the design at any time in the process.
The M3D environment offers a virtual room in which designers and engineers can work
simultaneously on the same 3D virtual model of a building design. They can use their own
preferred tool to design locally since the M3D technology acts as the bridge between
different systems. The environment includes management tools to control design changes and
video and audio conferencing to support communication. Network-based distributed
communications, based on Internet Protocol, supports both interaction between users as
well as more conventional single-user applications such as accessing information in a
The demonstration presents the M3D prototype system for co-operative architectural
design. It shows how users can load a design scene, modify its properties and save the
result. Support for co-operation and editing will be illustrated.