The Mental Canvas: A Tool for Conceptual Architectural Design and Analysis


Abstract  We describe a computer graphics system that supports conceptual architectural design and analysis. We use as a starting point the traditional sketchbook drawings that architects use to experiment with various views, sections, and details. Rather than interpret or infer 3D structure from drawings, our system is designed to allow the designer to organize concept drawings in 3D, and gradually fuse a series of possibly geometrically-inconsistent sketches into a set of 3D strokes. Our system uses strokes and planar “canvases” as basic primitives; the basic mode of input is traditional 2D drawing. We introduce methods for the user to control stroke visibility and transfer strokes between canvases. We also introduce methods for the user to position and orient the canvases that have infinite extent. We demonstrate the use of the system to analyze existing structures and conceive new designs.