Sep. 4, 2000 The new Engineering and Mathematical Science building at Adelaide University has a number of innovations to its credit. One of them is that it can now be used as a case study for courses taught inside it. The building, which was completed last year, is part of the extensive redevelopment of Adelaide University. Designing it to fit a crowded site had its tricky elements. A large cedar tree of heritage significance needed protection. Brick cladding was required to match the building to others around it. With research and teaching ongoing only 3 metres away, dust, vibration, hazards, air pollution and noise had to be kept to a minimum.
That involved a great deal of planning, complicated by a decision to make the new building, from the outset, the subject of a teaching resource for engineering courses that will take place inside it.
The result is a CD-ROM for student use that reveals every aspect of the building’s design, planning and construction. That is no mean feat in a building of 5 levels which incorporates lifts, stairs, wheelchair access, innovative construction methods, and is based on piles pressed 10 metres into the ground.
Two post-graduate students spent 100 hours taking more than 600 digital photographs of all stages of the building’s construction. Every aspect of the building’s design was recorded.
The photographs were used to organise the content of the CD-ROM and prepare templates for it. 250 more photographs were added and all were then sorted and linked to details of the plans. Their integration was achieved by using the South Australian CAD package, ‘QikDraw’.
"I chose QikDraw because it was the only one developed locally, so it could readily be modified to suit our proposals," said Mr Doherty, the originator of the project. "Also, it is available at a reasonable price for students," he said.
The company’s director, Mr Peter Chan, supported the project by providing the necessary program developments, including a version of QikDraw that can be executed directly from the CD-ROM without any separate installation. This makes the documentation tool extremely versatile and portable.
The result is a CD-ROM with more than 350 separate screens that integrate architectural and structural drawings with photographs to show the building inside out. It enables students to take a virtual tour of the building and examine any aspect of its design and construction.
The CD-ROM supports CAD operations, so that lecturers can present various aspects of it to a class by using a video projector and drawing arrows, adding text and zooming into or highlighting aspects of the display to make their point.
While there is particular value for Adelaide University students in being able to study the building that houses them, the variety, scope and detail of that building make the CD-ROM a valuable teaching resource for engineering students anywhere. It includes the G-Pile method of almost silent installation of piles, a first in Australia. A ‘slide show’ within the CD-ROM reveals how the G-Pile system works.
"This is a valuable teaching aid which will enable students to gain a better understanding of the relationship between their designs, and what actually takes place in practice,’ said Mr Trevor Daniell, Head of Civil and Environmental Engineering. "It should be of interest to all universities, as well as many in industry," he said.
"I originally planned this as an educational aid,’ said Mr Doherty, " but it became clear that it would also be valuable as a project documentation and quality assurance tool for industry, and probably in other areas where a lot of photographic, written and tabular records can be linked to drawings or diagrams," he said.
Because the CD-ROM provides immense detail of the architectural and engineering aspects of a modern, complex building, it is likely to be a useful educational resource for the export market, as these principles apply worldwide.
The Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering plans to make the CD-ROM available to students for $10, and to other universities as a package of 20 copies for $500, with additional packs of 10 copies for $100.
The Civil Engineering Department will also have the CD-ROM on display for the University’s Open Day on 13 August.
Enquiries should be directed to Mr Lindsay Doherty by phone: 0409 998 262 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
….. Dr Rob Morrison, Media Unit, Adelaide University ph: (618) 8303 3490, email: email@example.com
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