Hover over the icons below to view screen captures:

3dsmax Model

2nd Floor Stair

Living Room


The Quake walkthrough, with commentary:

· Windows Media (22 MB)

· QuickTime (34 MB)

Le Corbusier's original working drawings:

· Plans (100 KB)

· Elevations (100 KB)

· Perspectives (100 KB)


This is an architecture school project I completed in the fall of 1997 for Prof. Harris Sobin. The project involved creating an interactive simulation of Le Corbusier's Maison Caneel, a villa designed in 1929 for a site in Brussels, Belgium. Although it was never built, the building design is an interesting application of Le Corbusier's first five principles of architecture on an extremely narrow site.

Using Le Corbusier’s unfinished working drawings and sketches as a guide, I created a 3ds max model which was then imported into Quake, a video game popular in the mid-90's. (Of course, the monsters and weapons removed.) The game's simple controls, collision detection, and fast rendering speed then provided a compelling walk-through and simulation tool.

I had previously used the Quake engine to create walkthroughs of interior office spaces while working as an intern. Maison Caneel, however, was much more complex geometrically, and in many respects was far more challenging to import into the Quake engine.

One of the distinctive elements of the design best represented by the simulation is the set of two curved stairways. A main stairway for residents and guests wraps around a smaller one reserved for service staff. This creates a complex yet functional 3D circulation system that isn't immediately clear from plans and sections alone. Another element that comes across well is the pool over the garage, an element playfully depicted in one of Le Corbusier’s perspective sketches. The Quake simulation allows one to splash around as the architect intended.

The old Quake engine was not without its shortcomings, however. The game’s gloomy and hard-coded color palette can’t quite represent a Purist color scheme, and the lighting system is designed more for murky game dungeons than the light-filled spaces envisioned by Le Corbusier. Also, even this simplified model contains far more visible detail than the game system was designed to handle. Quite a bit of tweaking was needed to keep the walls and floors from randomly disappearing.

Although today’s game technology is far more advanced, this project remains an effective way of showing the building design.


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