Design Architecture in Virtual Reality
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Architectural representation has newly been introduced to Virtual Reality (VR) technology, which provides architects with a medium to showcase unbuilt designs as immersive experiences. Designers can use specialized VR headsets and equipment to provide a client or member of their design team with the illusion of being within the digital space they are presented on screen. This mode of representation is unprecedented to the architectural field, as VR is able to create the sensation of being encompassed in an environment at full scale, potentially eliciting a visceral response from users, similar to the response physical architecture produces. While this premise makes the technology highly applicable towards the architectural practice, it might not be the most practical medium to communicate design intent. Since VR’s conception, the primary software to facilitate VR content creation has been geared towards programmers rather than architects. The practicality of integrating virtual reality within a traditional architectural design workflow is often overlooked in the discussion surrounding the use of VR to represent design projects. This thesis aims to investigate the practicality of VR as part of a design methodology, through the assessment of efficacy and efficiency, while studying the integration of VR into the architectural workflow. This is done by examining the creation of stereoscopic renderings, walkthrough animations, interactive iterations and quick demonstrations as explorations of common architectural visualization techniques using VR. Experimentation with each visualization method is supplemented with a documentation of the VR scene creation process across an approximated time frame to measure efficiency, and a set of evaluation parameters to measure efficacy. Experiments either yielded the creation of a successful experience that exceeded the time constraints a common fast-paced architectural firm might allow for the task (low efficiency) or created a limiting experience where interaction and functionality were not executed to meet the required industry standards (low efficacy). This resultant impracticality based on time and effort, demonstrates that a successfully immersive VR simulation is not produced simplistically in VR; requiring a great deal of thought to be placed into design intent. Although impractical, documentation suggests that the user experience of creating VR content might be able to engage new ways of design thinking and impact the way architects conceptualize space, encouraging further research.
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Anisha Sankar (2019). Design Architecture in Virtual Reality. UWSpace. http://hdl.handle.net/10012/14751