The observation that lies at the heart of DESARTE and our vision for a useful electronic support environment for designers and architects is a tension between ways of seeing, using, and organising materials, the limitations of physical objects in physical space, and the potential of electronic visualisation, communication, and data storage technologies. We explore this under the metaphors of Wunderkammer and Manufaktur.

open planning

The prototype, based on the metaphor of Wunderkammer and Manufaktur, consist of components developed within the project. It also consists of the assembly (bricolage) of, and integration with, existing tools on the Windows NT platform. We also have re-designed and evaluated work practices around Wunderkammer and Manufaktur, based on the metaphor of open planning, and have assessed the appropriateness of the ‘bricolage approach’ for the co-evolution of technology and work practice.

The design rationale of the Wunderkammer is based on fieldwork revealing the relevance of and need for inspirational objects throughout the design process. Inspirational objects assist the designers in their effort to form, develop, and communicate design concepts. Most of them are images, but their nature and sources are varied and so are the ways of collecting them. It is our aim to support the archiving and discovering of inspirational objects and to facilitate their movement to and from the Wunderkammer to integrate with the flow of the work.

wunderkammer as an multi-media archive

The Wunderkammer  is an inhabitable multi-media archive, collection support, and view generator. Users can place inspirational objects – images, sketches, 2D or 3D scans of samples and objects, sound, and video – in a metaphorical space of cities and landscapes. They can navigate in this space and explore it, search and collect material, and generate different modes of viewing it.

The  Wunderkammer is created interactively and used collectively. Users are supported in creating their own collection of inspirational objects as well as in sharing it with others, and in practicing different ways of traveling, collecting and displaying. The long-term development plan is to provide them with the tools for building their own version of the Wunderkammer world, using different representational techniques.

The Manufaktur  is a collaborative 3D workspace which helps architects and landscape architects to evoke, create and maintain the context of a particular design task, a project, or the ensemble of ongoing work, and to act within that context.

The development of the Manufaktur is based on observed practices of (landscape) architects in which materials, many of them graphic and visual, are assembled, arranged and manipulated as an integral aspect of their work. Context, and appropriate visualisations of context, are crucial for the support of work which is highly complex (in terms of parameters and materials to hold present), cooperative, and distributed, with a fluent mix of tasks and people. This context is constantly changing with the project and tasks at hand, the people involved, the progressing of ideas and solutions, the multitude of documents that are activated, changed and created in this process. There therefore is a need for a workspace, which is easily customisable, affording the views of a project or task that are most relevant at a given moment.

The 3D Manufaktur workspace supports the configuring of multi-media documents to specific views of a project. It will contain a series of desktop applications, some of which are underlying services (exploring & navigating technologies, linking facilities, support for sharing and awareness, document management, etc.). Rather than attempting to structure the information field through the use of automised mechanisms, we are experimenting with the potential of providing an environment and some tools and techniques to organise and access different views onto the information. This approach takes into account the flexible and situated use of information resources.

DESARTE – Computer-Supported Design of Artefacts and Spaces in Architecture & Landscape Architecture, ESPRIT-LTR Project Nr. 31.870


TU Wien: Co-ordinator

Architekturbüro Rüdiger Lainer, A

Pixelpark Austria, A

Lancaster University, UK

Casella, UK