The Peer review has evaluated this group as Average
The research domains of ProTeA Unit consist of the architectural design modelling experimentation, conceived in computer form as the “B.I.M. – Building Information Model” System, aimed at the representation and control of the entire design and construction data flow during the building life cycle; thence ProTeA carries on design models application experiments for the simulation of the buildings’ operating conditions, through importing the BIM design model into specialized software environments. The experimental building design modelling is operated by 3D, Object Oriented, parametric C.A.A.D. software tools, than converted into “interoperable” models through the application of the IAI – IFC Standard (International Alliance for Interoperability - Industrial Foundation Classes). IFC is an information-science language that allows the exporting of a CAAD digital architectural model into a number of specialized software simulation environments (such as energy, acoustic, lighting, structural, economical evaluation and on site construction processes), without the attribution of any new models to the new simulation environment, or transcription of models into other interpretations expressed in the proprietary language of the different simulators. The so-configured representations allow researchers to practically investigate reliable and effective evaluation cycles on the CAAD modelled architectural design solutions and, thence, the virtual testing of these solutions’ performances during their actual production, so supporting the quality testing of the construction techniques to be finally adopted, through comparisons between alternative design concepts. The main applications that are being carried out by ProTeA are the following: - Modelling energy-saving building envelopes, both existing ones and new constructions, based upon the industrial production process for ventilated façades: their architectural modelling, detailed construction design and the energy monitoring of the installed envelope operating with the thermal sensor system (Aderma research contract Number 1 & 2); - The parallel dynamic simulation of the same digital model’s energy behaviour in the interoperable format –IFC, by importing the .IFC files into the software Energy Plus (Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratories); - The interoperable modelling of building envelope solutions integrated with different climate HVAC systems, to be compared as technical alternatives, in order to dynamically simulate the joint functioning of the integrated envelope with specific heating/refreshing systems optimizing their synergy (this simulation to be operated in collaboration with BEST UDR researching on Energy & Environment); - The semi-automatic development from interoperable architectural models of the quantity & economy estimation take-off, aimed at the overall costs evaluation, planning the on-site execution, building job management aimed the representation of both economical alternative scenarios & resources’ flow plus 146 site-safety management optimizing, by the use of the V.B.E. approach – Virtual Building Environment (C.I.F.E. Stanford); - The 3D, Object oriented, parametric & interoperable modelling based on the .IFC Standard of portions of natural or agricultural or urban land, both at the geographic or topographic levels, with the aim of evaluating the renewable energy production potential of already existing or planned local land planning issues, by installing infrastructures and technical plants at the level of urban layout. The aim is also to issue an object-oriented representation in order to support the dynamic simulation of energy behaviour, and so evaluate the eventual advantages of alternative sustainable technologies. In another research area, the ProTeA Research Unit has developed the capacity to create on-line Courses aimed at Architectural and Engineering design learning, by way of the cognitive approach and methodologies issued within the European Commission research project “WINDS - Web Based Intelligent Design System (Vth Framework Programme, Flexible University Key Action, IST-1999-10253, during the years 1999 – 2004). ProTeA Research Unit contributed to the development of the cognitive basis for the ‘Design Virtual University’ in Architecture, Engineering and Construction, by innovating the didactic approach, allowing the students to access a large choice of on line Courses in the WINDS System. The WINDS experience has lead to the definition of a new research project with finance from the European Commission: “MACE - Metadata for Architectural Contents in Europe”, Commission of the European Communities, Directorate-General Information Society and Media, e- Contentplus Program, Content Enrichment project, Grant Agreement n° ECO - 2005 - EDU - 038098. (planned duration 2006 – 2009). The MACE research project aims, through knowledge gained from the WINDS System, to index the architectural contents contained in a large volume of teaching and documentary materials - a contents classification method similar to the libraries’ cultural heritage – and that are distributed (in largely a digital form) across a multitude of knowledge production and teaching institutions all over Europe. The objective is to make these resources accessible to a very wide audience through e-learning technologies.