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ArchiCAD University Winter School is on !

In a weeks time from this posting, we reconvene in Feuerkogel, Austria for the third ArchiCAD University Winter School. In fact its more of a winter school than ever, as we are intending to have more of a design content than before, a lecture will start each evening, and the rest of the evening will be workshops aimed at redesigning some of the buildings and the cablecar on the resort - over 5 evenings, working in teams. The full programme is outlined on the ACUE Website.

We are getting good support from Graphisoft again with 5 participants from Budapest, and a lot more students than before. 7 from Nottingham UK, 5 from Denmark, and 1 from Netherlands.

Please read the Website for more informaton about the programme.
Last edited by david nicholson-cole on Wed Jan 26, 2005 1:19 am, edited 1 time in total.
We have been up here for a week and it has been a great success - the Charrette project turned out well, although it was helped by hurricane plus winds for 2 days which prevented us from skiing - wind speeds here reached 226 km/hr, the highest recorded in austria. The result of this was far more intensive work with the charrette topic and with ArchiCAD.

I will post a longer report on the event when I get back to England.

ArchiCAD University Europe Winter School 2005

ACUEWS started well with everybody arriving safely. The UK delegates came by air from Birmingham and Southampton, and the rest came by various transports from Holland, Ireland, Denmark, Norway, France, Hungary, Switzerland, Germany and of course, Austria. We had 5 from Graphisoft.

The Winter School was very different in 2005 from previous years. There was an enhanced thinking and design content, with ArchiCAD being a useful production tool that makes it fun to produce. We ran a ‘charrette’, an intensive analysis and design programme, phased over 5 nights, with some ArchiCAD tutorials to kick off each evening’s work. The subject of the charrette was to design a new building on Feuerkogel to replace the Berghotel, but first, we asked people to consider the whole analysis of the problems and possibilities of Feuerkogel – economic, social, sporting etc.
Last edited by david nicholson-cole on Wed Jan 26, 2005 1:47 am, edited 1 time in total.
Sunday 16th Jan
Glorious Skiing weather - sunshine all day and enough snow to provide excellent skiing. Everybody was out on their skis or boards, and the beginners were taken care of by the excellent local Ski school.

In the evening, Adrian Harms did a run through of the significant changes in ArchiCAD 9 (many of the delegates had not used it) and moved on to two special areas that would be of help to the group project – Teamwork, and Hotlinked Modules.
Later, David NC presented a Powerpoint outlining the brief for the charrette, his analysis of the problems of Feuerkogel, with the invitation to groups to take it a lot further as a ‘swot’ analysis, and to emerge with a consensus of the buildings and changes that could be applied to Feuerkogel to regenerate the economy and facilities.
Monday 17th Jan

Glorious Skiing weather again.

Late in the afternoon, the Mayor of Ebensee came up the mountain and spent a good time with a dozen delegates listening to us and answering questions, with translation from Andreas and Peter.

Evening: we were offered Night Skiing and the Igloo on the baby slope had been converted to a cheery pub, while the children enjoyed climbing over the roof of the igloo. It was such fun that it was hard to get back to work.
Charrette – team leaders presented a general outline of what the groups had discussed, and what they had decided (if anything) in words, using a flipchart.
Tuesday 18th Jan
Perfect Skiing weather in the morning although the pistes were becoming icy. We ate our lunches on the terrace, but the wind was picking up and the mackerel skies indicated cloud and snow to come. They did and the snow fell lightly all night.

Evening: Gerald Faustenhammer of ANull, Vienna, showed how ArchiPhysik, the building physics add-on is developing. This is now fully available in English with a free tryout version that lasts for a month.

The strong Graphisoft team of Akos Pfemeter, Viktor Varkonyi and Lazslo Vertesi provided candid answers to a long question and answer session, focusing on tangible improvements that they could apply to ArchiCAD and taking plenty of notes to share with the developer team in Budapest.

Charrette Groups worked late into the night on their ideas and proposals.
Wednesday 19th January
Windy in the morning, and worsening visibility at high altitude, but excellent snow quality from the new fall. The lower chairlift run was of outstanding quality for those who went down. Little did we know, this was our last skiing of the week.

Evening: Visualisation: Daniel Dusoswa demonstrated some remarkable software called UZR iModeller 3D, 3D scanning of physical objects into texture mapped polygons using a series of digital photographs. The result can be exported to a variety of 3D formats and used on the web. (see

Lubomir Kulichev provided a talk on three visualisation techniques, the use of the cameras to generate a flythrough, the VR Object, and the VR Walkabout. This also extended to demonstrating the smarter uses of the Marquee tool, the 3D Cutaway. In response to a question about even more complex cutaway modes, LK demonstrated the effect of Solid Geometry commands, operating on the entire building to produce a complex carved-out style of cutaway.

After a beer, group leaders presented a Powerpoint outlining their analysis and an outline of their proposal, without a specific built solution. The work on the charrettes then continued late into the night.
Thursday 20th January

Hurricane winds all day, over 130kmh forced everybody to stay in. The few who went out for a ski came back in very quickly – not just the oppressive conditions, but the bits of roof and wood and icicles flying through the air. After lunch, all lifts stayed silent.

Afternoon : Three wine tastings by Alex Neubacher, in English and German. Alcohol permitting, the afternoon was a good opportunity for us to catch up with the building designs and to get into ArchiCAD – a hidden blessing from the bad weather.

Evening: Bence Kovacs from Graphisoft provided us with an excellent question and answer session, starting with the key question: In the land of the Virtual Building, what more do you want us to do to make ArchiCAD the undisputed equivalent of Photoshop in photoediting, or Flash in vector based web animation. There was a lively and constructive discussion from the delegates. Bence went on to demonstrate Zermatt, a new product that is a new must-have add-on to ArchiCAD.

The work on the charrettes then continued late into the night.
Friday 21st January 2005

The hurricane winds continued, forcing us to stay inside most of the day. We were told that the weather station reported a maximum gust of 226 km/hr, something we were not inclined to disbelieve after the nearby mobile phone mast disappeared in a bright yellow flash. This was a benefit to the charrette as it gave everybody time to improve their ideas and presentation, ready for the visit of the Ebensee/Feuerkogel community team.
At 3.30, the Ebensee team turned up despite the extreme weather, including:
Erwin Zepperzauer, Deputy Mayor of Ebensee,
Gerd Beczwar, manager of the Cablecar,
Christian Feichtinger, Chamber of Commerce,
Thomas Lacherbauer, Chamber of Commerce,
Claus Wallinger, Official for Cultural Affairs,
Tom Andreas, Planning Architect,
Wolfgang Neuhuber, Ski School, Feuerkogel.

The groups presented their powerpoints:

Black Group: presented a detailed SWOT analysis (in german) with humorous and smart illustrations, ending with the visionary idea of a Centre for the Seasons, catering as an educational, relaxation and sporting centre for spring, summer, autumn and winter.

G-Force group, the all german language group, presented a very detailed analysis of the problems and new directions for Feuerkogel, ending with a detailed look at the Hotel project (started in 2004) adapted to a new brief for a conference centre. This had a very impressive skyline and included the cablecar – but the conditions outside made us realise that a building so oriented to summer use with so much glass would be hazardous in the more extreme winter climate.

Green Group presented a detailed SWOT analysis, followed by detailed ideas for a University study and research centre in Feuerkogel on the site of the Berghotel – a Berg Campus, reusing the hotels already here for residential use. There would be a high emphasis on sustainability going from zero emission targets in 5 years to total autonomy after a longer period. The project had detailed ideas on funding and constructional materials – constructing a building on the Berghotel site in much its present shape, and providing a protected walkway linking the hotels and chalets on the site.

Halo group presented a good analysis too (mostly bilingual), concluding with a detailed design for an education centre on the site of the Berghotel in the form of a large wing (matching one that would be in the town below). The scheme included detailed interiors and detailed proposals for wind protection to spaces around the cablecar station.

Team Gruppe presented their idea of the “Island on the Mountains” with nice ideas and images and a bilingual presentation.

CDs of the Presentations will be available on special request.

Following the presentations, the deputy mayor and the cablecar manager proposed their thanks for all the hard work by the groups during the week – congratulating them on their observant analysis of the situation in Feuerkogel. This work will help with a working party for the future of the resort, who will report in May 2005. What it has shown is that the simple idea of replacing the Berghotel with just another hotel is not the right answer. The previous owner of the Edelweiss hotel, the father of Alex Neubacher, closed the proceedings with his thanks to all for their successful work.

We were all so happy at the outcome that the rest of the evening was a party – ideas of another plenary session on ArchiCAD were quietly forgotten.
One event marred our relaxed mood. One of the Nottingham students went out for a nocturnal tobogganing expedition late at night and ran head-first into a chalet. She is now in Linz Hospital recovering from surgery. This cast a pall over the delegates for the remainder of the night. We have many people to thank for their capable actions during the night to save our student from what might have been worse.

Next year, we shall most likely return to the combination of plenaries and workshops, with channels for GDL and other specialities, using a more exactly defined brief so that delegates can get down to using ArchiCAD earlier.