Publication | Symposium on Simulation for Architecture and Urban Design 2023

Algorithms for Voxel-based Architectural Space Analysis

The paper introduces Voxel-based Architectural Space Analysis, an approach that has been contemplated for a long time but only recently implemented. The idea is to take architectural models, voxelize them to produce a Minecraft-like representation, and then perform various combinations of spatial analyses and operations on the voxel model. The approach provides a simple and robust way to compute human-centric metrics for generative design.

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Algorithms for Voxel-based Architectural Space Analysis

Rhys Goldstein, Kean Walmsley, Nigel Morris, Alex Tessier

Symposium on Simulation for Architecture and Urban Design 2023

The analysis of building geometry is an essential capability for generative design, multi-agent simulation, and other computational paradigms being explored in architectural research and practice. We propose a set of voxel-based algorithms that operate on a common data structure to support pathfinding, visibility calculations, direct sunlight calculations, and custom workflows that combine these basic spatial analyses. Our data structure is a binary 3D voxel model represented using a memory-efficient encoding that allows large buildings to be analyzed at fine resolutions. The algorithms are based on underutilized methods from the level set mathematics community that allow short travel paths and sightlines to be approximated without ray casting. The proposed approach has been made available in a visual programming package called VASA (Voxel-based Architectural Space Analysis). We present an example that demonstrates how voxel-based operations and analyses can be chained together to produce human-centric metrics.

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