VR in Architecture Design & Review

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How can we use immer­sive Virtual Reality and embod­ied loco­mo­tion inter­faces to to design more  cost– and space-efficient solu­tions for effec­tive pre­sen­ta­tion and com­mu­ni­ca­tion of archi­tec­tural designs and ideas? 

Our over­all goal is to iter­a­tively design and eval­u­ate a novel embod­ied VR system that enables users to quickly, intu­itively, and pre­cisely posi­tion their vir­tual view­point in 3D space and nav­i­gate through the space while free­ing up both hands for inter­ac­tion with the envi­ron­ment and more nat­ural com­mu­ni­ca­tion using ges­tures (e.g., with stake­hold­ers and col­leagues during a design review session). 

Designing the build­ings we live and work in is a chal­leng­ing task, and archi­tec­tural design­ers must work quickly and intel­li­gently to per­suade clients of their design ideas and pro­duce qual­ity projects. To this end many archi­tects have adopted three-dimensional (3D) dig­i­tal mod­el­ing soft­ware to increase the effi­ciency and effec­tive­ness of their design process. However, the 3D design is often con­veyed with two-dimensional (2D) visu­als, which limits design com­mu­ni­ca­tion dra­mat­i­cally. Although recent advances in Immersive Virtual Reality (IVR) dis­plays offer poten­tial solu­tions, move­ment sys­tems through the 3D envi­ron­ment can be pro­hib­i­tively expen­sive and still result in motion sick­ness, user dis­ori­en­ta­tion, and dif­fi­cul­ties with navigation.

In col­lab­o­ra­tion with the Vancouver offices of Perkins + Will, we con­duct a project aimed at design­ing and eval­u­at­ing a novel loco­mo­tion system that addresses these prob­lems and enables users to more effec­tively and nat­u­rally nav­i­gate through and expe­ri­ence an archi­tec­tural project prior to its con­struc­tion. Our project  involved qual­i­ta­tive research inter­views and focus groups to out­line system require­ments and gain feed­back from Perkins + Will on the system design, to inform the iter­a­tive design and improve­ment of the system. Finally, we will assessed the system using mixed meth­ods based upon the require­ments and stake­holder feed­back. The result­ing move­ment system will allow Perkins + Will and other archi­tec­ture com­pa­nies to begin using IVR for design review, per­mit­ting them improved com­mu­ni­ca­tion of their design ideas to them­selves and their clients. Ideas pre­vi­ously dif­fi­cult to describe using non-immersive 2D visu­als may be better under­stood and accepted, and hidden prob­lems that arise during the con­struc­tion phase may be more appar­ent and avoid­able. Consequently, the result­ing reduc­tion in con­struc­tion costs asso­ci­ated with on-site mod­i­fi­ca­tions and increased archi­tec­tural qual­ity can result in better archi­tec­tural design out­comes for future occu­pants. Simultaneously, our research will improve our under­stand­ing of the fun­da­men­tal processes involved in human per­cep­tion of self-motion, result­ing in improved 3D user move­ment inter­faces for use in IVR.

Below is a first project video (thanks to a great stu­dent team from IAT344: Linda Nguyen, Danny Blackstock, Jason Chen, and Justin Poon!)

 

Jake Freiberg who was a key player on this project — below is a link to his Master’s thesis defense talk on “Design Representations in Architectural Practice” and his latest poster 

Freiberg, J., Kitson, A., & Riecke, B. E. (2017). Development and Evaluation of a Hands-Free Motion Cueing Interface for Ground-Based Navigation (pp. 271–272). Presented at the IEEE Virtual Reality (accepted 2-page extended abstract).

Freiberg, J., Kitson, A., & Riecke, B. E. (2017). Development and Evaluation of a Hands-Free Motion Cueing Interface for Ground-Based Navigation. Presented at the IEEE Virtual Reality

Click to view Poster

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Related Publications

Freiberg, J., Kitson, A., & Riecke, B. E. (2017). Development and Evaluation of a Hands-Free Motion Cueing Interface for Ground-Based Navigation (pp. 271–272). Presented at the IEEE Virtual Reality (accepted 2-page extended abstract). (Download)
Kitson, A., Hashemian, A. M., Stepanova, E. R., Kruijff, E., & Riecke, B. E. (2017). Comparing Leaning-Based Motion Cueing Interfaces for Virtual Reality Locomotion (pp. 1–10). Presented at the IEEE Symposium on 3D User Interfaces 3DUI (accepted), Los Angeles, CA, USA. (Download)
Kitson, A., Hashemian, A. M., Stepanova, E. R., Kruijff, E., & Riecke, B. E. (2017). Lean Into It: Exploring Leaning-Based Motion Cueing Interfaces for Virtual Reality Movement (pp. 213–214). Presented at the IEEE Virtual Reality (accepted 2-page extended abstract), Los Angeles, CA, USA. (Download)
Freiberg, J. (2015). Experience Before Construction: Immersive Virtual Reality Design Tools for Architectural Practice (MSc Thesis). Simon Fraser University, Surrey, BC, Canada. Retrieved from http://summit.sfu.ca/item/16052 (Download)
Kitson, A., Riecke, B. E., Hashemian, A. M., & Neustaedter, C. (2015). NaviChair: Evaluating an Embodied Interface Using a Pointing Task to Navigate Virtual Reality. In Proceedings of the 3rd ACM Symposium on Spatial User Interaction (pp. 123–126). Los Angeles, CA, USA: ACM. https://doi.org/10.1145/2788940.2788956 (Download)
Kruijff, E., Riecke, B. E., Trepkowski, C., & Kitson. (2015). Upper Body Leaning can affect Forward Self-Motion Perception in Virtual Environments (pp. 103–112). Presented at the SUI ’15: Symposium on Spatial User Interaction, Los Angeles, CA, USA: ACM. https://doi.org/10.1145/2788940.2788943 (Download)