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How 3D Interactive Vision Can Impact Architectural Design — From an Augmented Reality Museum to Virtual Objects

By Maria Lorena Lehman — Get more articles like this sent to your email HERE.

Image Credit: © Dreamstime

3-D viewing of objects is something that many designers (particularly architects) are always in search of doing better — for, building design models that take the form of physical prototypes or even virtual prototypes (as is built within the computer using digital media) most often become limited in what they can tell a designer about their designs.

But what happens when a 3-D viewing system is developed that can scan a real-life object and put it on display so that, as a person walks around it, they are viewing it in real life? Or, what if a 3-D system could present your digital model — again, so that one could walk around the model and view it just as if it was real-life? And then the real power comes in when you add interactivity to that model. Well, a group of students at Tsinghua University, in China, have designed just such a 3-D viewing system.

The beauty of a system like this is that you could have a combination of the best of both worlds: 1) a three-dimensional representation of a virtual model that you could walk around and interact with, and 2) an augmented reality model within which can be programmed functionalities that go beyond zooming or panning the model itself, but involve aspects about the model’s design that impact occupant experience through their senses.

I write this article in hopes to inspire such a merger between physical and virtual model-making, where augmented reality models for architecture can take on a three-dimensional interactiveviewing system. That is, where the union between the physical and the virtual help with the design of buildings by allowing designers to see more than just what is on their surface (building skin and bones), but to be able to steer more deeply into the way they behave in relation to certain contexts.

Application in Design: The Augmented Reality Museum

Apart from the design process itself, such a three-dimensional viewing system may also contribute significantly to museum exhibit design — where an augmented reality museum, for example, would be able to capitalize on such a fusion between the physical, the virtual, and the interactive. I would imagine that such a 3D interactive viewing system would make for some quite educational, cultural, and memorable museum visitor experiences. In such an example you can see how you not only would be designing with such a 3-D viewing system, but you could also be incorporating such a viewing system into some of your designs.

To do this, you must begin to think and ask yourself certain strategic questions.

For example, as you design, it is important to ask yourself about what type of architectural behavioral information would help you best to visualize the building design that you’re working on. Would it be about the behavior of your building’s energy, light, motion, thermal properties, or other transient differences? Then, imagine how such behavioral information about the design will help to inform you toward your design decisions. It may help to first ask yourself “what” you are looking to discover with such an augmented reality model, and then you can strategize as to “how” to achieve what you want to discover if you presented it in augmented reality model form.

The merger between the virtual and the real is more than just about replicating a design idea just because you can. Instead, it can be about experimenting and testing ideas to see not only how they look, but also how they behave and feel.

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McLaughlin Architect
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Maria Lorena Lehman is a multi award-winning visionary author, designer, and educator from the United States. Maria holds a Bachelor of Architecture with Honors from Virginia Tech and a Master in Design with Distinction from Harvard University Graduate School of Design. CLICK HERE to learn more.

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