Architecture

DIGITAL MODELS ALLOW VIRTUAL TOURS
OF BUILDINGS AROUND THE WORLD

School of Architecture professor Terrance Goode is taking a tour of Rotterdam's Visual Arts Center. The innovative design by noted Dutch architect Rem Koolhaas is a perfect example for the Advanced Building Systems course Goode has taught at SU for three years. He wants a closer look at the building's complex system of air-conditioning ducts, but a portion of the roof blocks his view. No problem—he simply makes the roof disappear.
      Goode didn't even have to leave his Slocum Hall office to take this tour—he's moving through a highly detailed computer model he created to depict the building in three-dimensional form. "These models can be seen from different angles," he says. "You can zoom in, zoom out. Because the different systems in the building are on different drawing layers they can be made visible or invisible, so you can really understand how air-conditioning ducts might run in between a structural system."
                         image
Aerial view of a prototype digital model of Koolhaas's Visual Arts Center in Rotterdam. The bright colors aid in refining modeling techniques, and will be more subdued in the finished model.

      With support from SU's Vision Fund for innovation in teaching and learning, Goode plans to produce the models as teaching tools for Advanced Building Systems, which was created 15 years ago by colleagues Joel Bostick and Bruce Coleman. "The course is dedicated to the proposition that a building's technical systems—which include its structural system, mechanical air conditioning, and outside skin—aren't just technical problems to be solved," Goode says. "They're elements to be orchestrated by an architectural vision. The course is organized primarily on case studies in which we literally take apart significant buildings of the 20th century."
      Goode typically uses construction photos and published drawings to illustrate a building's various systems. "In photos, the angle sometimes isn't right to show exactly what you want to show," he says. "Crucial things are hidden. You can create drawings that show systems, but there might be too much information for them to be legible."
      Goode chose three Koolhaas designs for his initial models: the Visual Arts Center, built in 1992; the Dance Theater of the Netherlands in The Hague, built in 1987; and the Educatorium multipurpose building at the University of Utrecht, built in 1997. "These buildings are very much informed by their own systemic and material conditions," Goode says. "Koolhaas uses the different building systems in a way that acknowledges their significance."
      Part of the Vision Fund grant will pay for a 10-day trip to Holland this summer to tour and photograph the buildings. The photos will aid in detailing the models, Goode says, but will also be used alongside them as teaching tools. "Nothing beats the reality of actually visiting a building," he says. "Ultimately, we experience architecture visually and tactually."
                                                  —GARY PALLASSINO

Arts_and_Sciences

STUDENTS EXPERIENCE THE WORLD
OF INTERNATIONAL POLITICS AT MODEL NATO

Political science students from the College of Arts and Sciences represented the country of Belgium for a few days last semester. Kristina Rico '00, Kelley Saddlemire '02, Brian Snowdon '00, Justin Oswald '01, and Colleen Murray '02 were delegates at the 14th annual Model North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) simulation in Washington, D.C.
      Sixteen nations were represented by college teams during this simulated NATO meeting. "We were put into the kinds of situations we've only read about—like the war between Serbia and Kosovo," says Rico, who organized the Syracuse team. "The model delegations faced the same tough situations NATO does in debating and formulating communiquŽs. The majority of us needed to prepare a great deal to understand all of the issues surrounding the alliance."
      The experience required using more extensive resources than those accessible on participants' home campuses. Students met with embassy officials and researched various aspects of their represented countries, including the economy, military, and political environment. In addition, the gathering featured a keynote address by John Jones, deputy director of political affairs for the U.S. Department of State, and a NATO briefing by U.S. Navy Commander Michael Lucarelli.
      The teams were split into various special committees, mimicking the actual NATO structure. While "in committee," students formulated opinions on a variety of issues. "The delegates were very passionate about the issues we were discussing, which made the conference interesting," Saddlemire says.
      Crisis simulations, for instance, required students to act on issues using the knowledge and skills they acquired through their research, and to draft a position. "My committee faced a number of mock situations like a breach of nuclear security in central Russia," Rico says. "As an alliance, committee members had to form a consensus and act upon it. This was the hardest part because new events occurred about every hour. Each team's reaction to the crisis had to reflect the way its represented country would react. In other words, SU team members approached the crisis simulation in the same manner that NATO delegates from Belgium would approach a real crisis."
      SU delegation members found the experience academically rewarding. "This simulation had a great influence on me," Rico says. "This was truly a hands-on learning experience. We had to apply both what we had been taught in the classroom and what we researched on our own to properly represent Belgium, and to do a good job."
      Murray was glad to participate in such an event so early in her college career. "It was an amazing opportunity to learn more about issues that our world is facing," she says. "Traveling to our nation's capital and talking to people who teach about and work in politics gave me some insight as to where I would like to be a few years from now. I hope to return to Model NATO next year."
—WENDY S. LOUGHLIN and TAMMY DIDOMENICO



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