Diss. ETH no. 15739 - Computer Graphics Laboratory ETH Zurich

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Diss. ETH. No. 15739

The Impact of Video Systems on Architecture

A dissertation submitted to the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich

for the degree of

Doctor of Technical Sciences

presented by

Silke Berit Lang Dipl.–Ing. (Univ.) / Dipl. NDS ETHZ in Architecture University of Technology, Munich (TUM) Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, Zurich (ETHZ) born June 15, 1975 citizen of Germany

accepted on the recommendation of Prof. Dr.–Ing. Ludger Hovestadt, examiner Prof. Dr.–Ing. Markus Gross, co-examiner

Zurich, 2004

“Die Wissenschaft braucht Zusammenarbeit, in der sich das Wissen des einen durch die Entdeckung des anderen bereichert.” Jos´e Ortega y Gasset


Acknowledgments This research work took its origin during my activities as a research and teaching scientist at the Chair of CAAD at the ETH Zurich. I express my sincerest thanks to my supervisor, Prof. Dr.-Ing. Ludger Hovestadt, for giving me the opportunity to join his group and to work in a highly innovative field of work. His support and stimulating ideas during my doctoral studies have been highly valuable and helpful. I would like to express my grateful thanks to Prof. Dr.-Ing. Markus Gross for supporting my work and for acting as a co-advisor. His guidance, support, and his capability to motivate the interdisciplinary team and bring blue-c to international success is greatly acknowledged. I would like to thank Prof. Andrea Deplazes for taking the chair of my examination for the doctorate. I would like to express my gratitude to all blue-c members. Special thanks go to Edouard Lamboray, Martin N¨af, Christian Spagno, Stephan W¨ urmlin, and Andrew Vande Moere for their fruitful cooperation and uncountable inspiring discussions. During my doctoral studies, I had the pleasure to interact and discuss with a fairly large number of external scientists and experts. Mentioned among them are: Prof. Jan Borchers, Prof. Klaus Diepold, Prof. Dirk Donath, Prof. Urs Hirschberg, Prof. Gerd Hirzinger, Prof. Joachim Sauter, Markus Sch¨afer, Gabriele Schumann, Prof. Eckehard Steinbach, and Dr. Joachim Taiber. Many thanks to BMW and Prada for providing image material for my investigations. I am thankful to my colleagues from the Chair of CAAD for a good working atmosphere, and to Sibylla Spycher and Manuela Cavegn for their valuable administrative support. Last but not least, I thank my parents, my sister, and my friends for their support and encouragement.


Abstract Today, computers and digital media are common tools and supplies in the field of architecture. Recently, architects also integrate modern information and communication technologies in their projects. The novel opportunities of these technologies enable two fields of activity: Building Intelligence and Global Communication. These two fields allow for the design of spaces that adapt to the changing social and cultural trends. This dissertation investigates video systems, especially three-dimensional video, as a category of information and communication technologies. The thesis presents and discusses solutions how video systems can be applied to overcome space and time distances in the context of architecture. The dissertation explores the potential of three-dimensional video to interconnect the real and the virtual world by recombining the characteristics of both worlds. This research is embedded in the historical and architectural context of video systems. Various theses are proposed which are tied up to existing technologies and historical development directions are carried on. The contributions and advantages of video systems with respect to architecture are analyzed and discussed. This research places a strong emphasis on the feasibility and elaboration in an architectural context. The development of prototype applications is the proof of concept, and demonstrates the real world value. To ensure the quality as well as the practicability, the