Web3D RoundUp: Looking Backwards and Forwards

Vol.34 No.2 May 2000


Kai Strehlke
iss Federal School of Technology (ETH)

Figure 1: Sculpture Der Volumenzusam-menhang and all the names from the students.

Figure 2: The Gnaggi Group. Authors Pascal Paul Berger and Tanja Schneider.

Figure 3: The Imen Group. Authors Michael Andreas Wagner and Raphael Emanuel Vanzella.

Figure 4: The Jumbo- Jedi Group. Authors Judith Anna Gessler and Nikolas Peter Waelli.

Perception in Space – An Experience in Space and Time

Roomz is a course in computer-aided architectural design (CAAD) lectured at the Department of Architecture at the Swiss Federal School of Technology (ETH). The challenge and goal of the course is to teach architectural concepts like light rendering, animation and construction in virtual spaces, and basic computer tools as well as the use of new medias to reveal architectonic ideas. The course spanned a period of six weeks and was taught to 120 second-year students. The whole environment was implemented using the Internet so that a student might work from home as well as on the university campus.

Finding Architectural Spaces in a Digital Sculpture

Georges van Tongeloo’s sculpture Der Volumenzusammenhang has been the framework for the course. With the first interface, students can navigate through the sculpture and select different elements from it in order to create a composition of an abstract space of their own. Due to the limited span of the course, it was important to create an interesting spatial composition without having to learn a computer-aided design (CAD) package.

Incorporating Own Work and a Path into the Composition

In different courses, students have already learned how to create images, movies and dynamic objects by using light rendering programs, movie editing software and Virtual Reality Modeling Language (VRML) authoring tools. A second interface allowed students to place these objects in their composition. Images and movies could be pasted on the wall whereas dynamic objects could be loaded into the sculpture. The final task was to create a path in the composition. With their images, movies, dynamic objects and the path, students formulated a spatial, architectural narrative scenario.

Exploring the Work

The first two interfaces could be of a certain complexity because the students had time to learn how to use them, manipulate their virtual compositions and navigate in them. To explore the students’ work, a third simpler interface was created. Using this interface, one could look at the student’s work by following the path defined by the student.

Web3D RoundUP: A Presentation Under Pressure

The biggest challenge of the Web3D RoundUP was to express the ideas of the course in such a short time and under the given pressure. The most interesting aspect of the presentation was to show the work among commercial products as well as artwork created with 3D web technologies. The presentation provides a great opportunity to influence and interact with browser developers and artists working with VRML.

The Work On-Line

The course can be accessed at

Interface for selection of the spaces: (Long hidden URL)

Interface for placing objects and creating a path: (Another long URL)

Interface for exploring all the student works: (Last long URL)

Kai Strehlke
Swiss Federal School of Technology (ETH)

The copyright of articles and images printed remains with the author unless otherwise indicated.