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This project has been completed. While the area of research may continue to be of interest, the HITLab is not engaged in a current project in this area. This page may contain dated information.

The CEDeS Lab combines the use of digital media with the professional design disciplines of CAUP to create a center for research and teaching in advanced simulation for urban and architectural design, landscape design, and artificial virtual environments. The lab's mission is to confront the implications of digital technology for society in the design of human environments.

The mandate for the Lab has a three-fold emphasis on education, research, and community involvement. The goals for this mandate are: to educate students to be skilled, thoughtful, and critical designers; to research and develop new tools, techniques, and procedures for the design of inhabitable space; and to be a resource to the community in the design, planning and construction processes.


To research and respond to the influence of digital media on the way we design space, the Community and Environmental Design and Simulation Laboratory (CEDeS Lab) has been established at the University of Washington. The CEDeS Lab (pronounced "seeds") is sponsored by the Cascadia Community and Environment Institute, at the UW College of Architecture and Urban Planning (CAUP), and the Human Interface Technology Laboratory (HIT Lab), at the Washington Technology Center.

The CEDeS Lab was established in 1994 to bring virtual interface technology closer to the students and faculty of CAUP, and to bring spatial design expertise and sensibility into the research at the HIT Lab. The partnership between the HIT Lab and the Cascadia Community and Environment Institute allows each of the organizations to access to the other's strengths, enabling joint research, application, and educational opportunities.


  • Provide computer-aided design technology and instruction to enrich the professional curricula of the CAUP. A new "Virtual Environments" course has been added to the curricula at UW's CAUP. In this class, students are taught the skills required to build computer models suitable for real-time simulation, and to apply these skills by developing virtual environments. In conjunction with specialized classes, the CEDeS Lab provides computer resources for existing CAUP classes, enabling design studios to be taught with digital media as a focus. All of these classes fit within the lab's pedagogical strategy to incorporate digital media in design education professionally, technically, and theoretically.

  • Research and develop new tools and techniques for design by applying simulation technology to the design process. The CEDeS Lab is involved in a number of projects at the HIT Lab and in a global context which further design and design review. There is a need to understand how digital media, specifically virtual interfaces and real-time rendering, can and should be applied both in the design process and as architectural product, and this research is central to the efforts by the staff and students at the CEDeS Lab.

  • Initiate the development of a new professional discipline for the design of virtual environments which will not be constructed or inhabited in physical reality. The principal focus of architectural education is to teach an understanding of spatial solutions to functional needs given a gamut of technical, financial, and logistical constraints. Architects and planners have applied these skills to shape our physical environment for thousands of years. Now, we are looking ahead to an increase in the need for three-dimensional content on the Internet and other digital venues. The demand for well-designed digital content is answered by a specific educational emphasis on a new application for architectural education.

  • Provide a resource for design, planning and community development organizations. In the future, as the technology matures, advanced simulation will be applied in professional practice. Currently, the technology required to produce a virtual simulation is complex, expensive and relatively scarce. As the hardware and software continues to advance, the CEDeS Lab will act as a resource for the community. It will continue to utilize the most advanced simulation technology available, and it will direct the way this technology is transferred and incorporated into the business procedures of professional practice.

    See also:

    --Related Courses

    --CEDeS Projects


    Jim Davidson <jnd at>, Dace Campbell <dace at>, Lily Shirvanee <lilys at>