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Virtual Reality: The Latest Architecture and News

Will Your Building Withstand the Onslaught of the Technium?

The Technium is the sphere of visible technology and intangible organizations that form what we think of as modern culture.
—Kevin Kelly, What Technology Wants

The Technium is ubiquitous; like air it could be invisible. Fortunately, raging torrents that affect every person on earth are hard to ignore. Let’s look into one of the hearts of the Technium, that organ we call architecture.

You Are in the Technium Now

An ecosystem is a system of inter-dependent organisms and conditions. Ecosystems evolve. The current system can only exist because of past systems, each a stepping stone for new levels of action, each creating new sets of conditions, niches for life in its many forms.

But of course that’s what architecture does: it creates new conditions for life and culture, as does science, education, art and technology. Our culture and technology is evolving, enabled and built upon current and past developments. Kevin Kelly uses the word Technium to describe this complex stratum of evolving interdependencies and capacities. The Technium is evolving and growing fast. Our buildings must also evolve if they are to nurture our current and future cultures.

Virtual Reality for Architecture Predicts Patterns, Drives Business Decisions

The 2016 edition of SXSW Interactive had no shortage of virtual reality demos, including virtual reality as it applies to architecture. On Tuesday, IA Interior Architects and InsiteVR held a panel on the impact that VR has had on the design process and communication with clients.

I had the pleasure of speaking alongside IA's Guy Messick, AIA, director of design intelligence; and Kelly Funk, IIDA, senior workplace strategist. While 2015 was a big year for early adopters, VR has rapidly left the "beta" phase with firms like IA equipping all their offices with VR headsets and integrated work flows with InsiteVR, which lets them easily present their Revit models at human scale with the click of a button.

A core focus of our panel was describing direct experiences that IA has had with clients using VR. In a video shown to the audience, a confidential client was challenged to comprehend various design options and a specific ceiling solution. When the client put the VR headset on, one could see an immediate reaction revealing his sudden understanding. 

4 Ways Virtual and Augmented Reality Will Revolutionize the Way We Practice Architecture

It’s time for the profession to prepare. New software and hardware platforms are emerging that allow immersive environment representation—aka virtual reality, or VR—along with gestural modeling, or the translation of hand movements captured via computer vision into design information. Taken together, these two tools allow designers to visualize and virtually inhabit three-dimensional spatial conditions at “full scale,” where we can do design work with intuitive hand and body motions. The implications for architectural practice are dramatic.

First, it means we need to create new interfaces and custom workflows. The keyboard and mouse take a backseat in the design process. Second—and best of all, in my opinion—these platforms for augmented reality (AR) or VR stand to reengage the designer’s hands in the act of making, digitally.

If You Haven't Seen Calatrava's World Trade Center Oculus In Person, This is Pretty Darn Close

If you haven't had the opportunity to step inside Santiago Calatrava's World Trade Center Oculus, here is your chance. Miguel de Guzmán of Imagen Subliminal has captured the incredible space in VR (Virtual Reality), granting you 360-degree views of the infamous oculus. Put on your Google Cardboard and see it for yourself.

Conference: Parallelism in Architecture, Environment And Computing Techniques, (PACT)

The theme of Parallelism in Architecture, Environment and Computing Techniques (PACT) 2016 explores the relations between computational design in architecture, organizational and global, ever-changing and pervasive contexts. PACT 2016 aims to gather practitioners and researchers interested in investigating and improving the state of practice of computational design software in the architectural discourse, where practicing design computing experts can explain the challenges they face in their day-to-day practices, and collectively induce an impact on the future of the field.

7 Examples of How to Show Off Interiors in Your 3D Models, As Selected by Sketchfab

When making a 3D model, just as with a physical model, one of the biggest challenges is in effectively conveying the feeling of a design's interior. This is made worse by the fact that historically, 3D modeling and viewing software has treated the design being modeled as primarily an object to be orbited around, rather than as a space to be viewed from within. The introduction of first-person viewing modes has improved this, but these still are hampered by the fact that movement is never as simple or intuitive as simply walking around in real space. All of this can make presenting interior spaces a frustrating experience.

However, there are a variety of techniques you can use to display interiors more effectively. In the second of our Selected by Sketchfab series, our partners at Sketchfab have picked out the best examples of from their platform of models that inventively show off interior spaces.

Answering 5 FAQs About VR in Architecture

There's no question that virtual reality has the potential to change architecture. But as with all new technologies, it can be difficult to understand at first. In this article originally published on his LinkedIn page, Kym Porter answers five commonly-asked questions about VR in architecture.

There's a movement about to happen in the industry of design and architecture and it involves VR (Virtual Reality). I've been using it for well over a year now and thought I'd share five of the commonly asked questions I've received so far.

A Virtual Look Into Eames and Saarinen's Case Study House #9, The Entenza House

This month's interactive 3D floor plan shows a simple and beautiful steel frame structure designed by Charles Eames and Eero Saarinen. The Case Study House Program, initiated by John Entenza in 1945 in Los Angeles, was conceived to offer to the public models of a low cost and modern housing. Predicting the building boom after World War II, Entenza invited renowned architects such as Richard Neutra to design and build houses for clients, using donated materials from manufacturers and the building industry.

Entenza was the editor of the monthly magazine Arts & Architecture, in which he published the ideas of the participating architects that he had invited. Two of those architects were Eero Saarinen and Charles Eames, who for Case Study House number 6, Entenza commissioned to design his own home. The house was built just a few meters away from Charles and Ray Eames’ house which the duo also constructed as part of the Case Study program.

Sketchfab CEO Discusses the Impending Revolution of VR in 2016

One of many companies currently supporting the growing demand for Virtual Reality (VR), Sketchfab, known for being a “Youtube for 3D Models”, has added features to their website, allowing users to exhibit their work in VR. In this recent post, company CEO and co-founder Alban discusses the likelihood of a Virtual Reality renaissance in 2016. Comparing the platform to its predecessors in digital media, audio and video, he notes that the final steps for any new form of media are: easy to use, working technology; affordable interfaces; and user generated content, prefacing that 2016 may be the year that VR reaches this final step.

Kickstarter: Virtual Reality is Now Portable and Hands-free with the 2VR

Virtual Reality technology is changing rapidly - from Google Cardboard to more immersive models, headsets are now available at nearly every price point. Yet there remains one quality all of these devices fail to offer: portability. In our modern fast-paced lives, being able to take technology with you on the go is nearly as important as its functionality. But now, there may be a new wearable tech to meet that need.

Created by design office Stimuli, 2VR is the first headset that will fit in your pocket, making it possible to tap into the virtual world, no matter where you are in the world. The sleek device fits most standard smartphones and is operated hands free, allowing the user to feel fully immersed in the VR environment. Learn more about the product over on Kickstarter, where the first 50 backers can purchase 2VR for just $15.

Courtesy of Stimuli Courtesy of Stimuli Courtesy of Stimuli Courtesy of Stimuli + 8

8 Beautiful Historic Buildings In 3D Models, As Selected by Sketchfab

At ArchDaily, we've said before how sharing 3D models online has the potential to change architecture for the better, allowing viewers to explore a design for themselves rather than being presented only the most flattering views via photographs. At the forefront of this 3D-sharing revolution is Sketchfab, a platform which allows users to upload their model and view it directly in their browser.

In this new series, ArchDaily is joining forces with with Sketchfab, to present the best architectural models featured on their platform, as selected by staff members at Sketchfab. In this first installment, we're taking a look at some of the best scans of historical buildings - and don't forget, all of these models can be viewed in virtual reality for the maximum architectural experience!

VR Architecture: Why the Next Design Frontier Will Be in Virtual Spaces

The new digital state of mind has affected almost every industry as we know it, from music to health. Meanwhile, architecture remains unaltered, trapped in its physical container. In our opinion Virtual Reality has come to stay, and it will transform the way we relate to spaces forever.

Our reality is a construction with multiple forms of expression - each culture, economy and geography produces its own model. Multimedia society has created a hybrid and complex reality where material formations are complemented by fictional ones like movies, videogames, advertising, avatars… Special effects are now part of our lives, and VR is one of them. It's not an independent and isolated dimension of actual reality, but part of it. In order to operate in this amplified scene, it is urgent to deploy new architectural skills. Platforms like Oculus Rift, Gear VR, Google Cardboard, HTC Vive, and Hololens combined with softwares like Unity or Unreal open a whole new design field.

How To Tune Your 3D Models For Online VR Viewing With Sketchfab

Earlier this month, Sketchfab announced a new feature which would allow any 3D model on their platform to be viewed in virtual reality on a device such as Google Cardboard. At ArchDaily, we think this is a huge step in defining how we will view and share architectural design in the future, and one of the best things about the new feature is how seamlessly it blends into Sketchfab's existing model sharing platform. At the same time, it's worth bearing in mind that creating a model for VR may take some extra consideration. In this post originally published on the Sketchfab Blog as "How to set up a Cardboard VR scene for Sketchfab," Bart Veldhuizen explains what designers can do to make their models as VR-friendly as possible.

With our new Cardboard VR button, Sketchfab has become the easiest way to view your designs in Virtual Reality. You can now literally publish your model to Sketchfab and view it on your Cardboard in under a minute.

As Cardboard relies on mobile devices, there are some extra things to keep in mind. In addition to displaying a regular Sketchfab model on the lighter hardware of your phone or tablet, we now render each image twice (once for each eye). So it won’t come as a surprise that you need to keep some things in mind when designing a Cardboard scene.

This tutorial will give you an overview of the most important limitations and will help you to quickly teleport yourself into your first Cardboard experiment.

Immerse Yourself in 3D Models Online With Sketchfab's New Virtual Reality Feature

Sketchfab, the browser-based platform for sharing and viewing 3D models, has announced a new feature on their software that turns any of their models into a virtual reality experience when viewed on a smartphone and combined with a simple headset like Google Cardboard. Sketchfab allows users to upload a wide variety of 3D model file types that could then be shared and viewed in any web browser, or embedded on websites or social media, without the need for any additional software or plug-ins. As a result, over the past few years they've built up a huge database of over half a million 3D models, and this new VR feature allows viewers to experience those models in a whole new way.

A Virtual Look Into Richard Neutra's Unbuilt Case Study House #6, The Omega House

This 3D model is as close as you can get to the real thing, as Omega House is one of the few Case Study Houses that was never built. Presented early in the case study program of Arts & Architecture magazine in 1945, it presents one of the most innovative design concepts in the series, one you can now explore in your browser.

The architect, Richard Neutra, was a celebrity in his own lifetime, and among the most esteemed of the high modernists. Neutra was born in Vienna and already over 30 when he arrived in America in 1923. He worked for Erich Mendelsohn, for Frank Lloyd Wright, and briefly with Rudolph Schindler. Many of his commissions were domestic houses, structures that he managed to make wonderfully photogenic. Neutra carried himself with some of the aristocratic manner of a Mies van der Rohe, but tempered by the lively west coast egalitarianism of Charles and Ray Eames (link to previous project). He made the cover of Time Magazine in the forties, and might be one of the only prominent architects ever to build a drive-in church. Perhaps most remarkably, Ayn Rand wrote the screenplay to The Fountainhead whilst living in a house designed by Neutra.

A Virtual Look Into Pierre Koenig's Case Study House #22, The Stahl House

Without a doubt, it’s among the most famous houses in Los Angeles. The house is easy to describe: a steel framed L-plan, divided into bedrooms and the communal living spaces, all wrapped around a turquoise pool seemingly impossibly poised above the city. But words don’t do it justice. Julius Shulman’s 1960 photograph of Pierre Koenig’s Case Study House 22, perhaps better known as Stahl House, changed the fantasies of a generation.

6 Designs By And For Architects that Made TIME's 25 Inventions of the Year

In this day and age, innovation is occurring at a faster rate than ever before. And while a majority of ideas may make a small impact before fading away, some inventions are able to slip through the cracks and become a real game changer in their field. Our field, of course, is architecture, and this year there have been no shortage of inventions that may change the way we live and work forever. In TIME magazine’s annual release of inventions of the year, at least 6 may have an impact on the world of architecture, encompassing inventions within the field of architecture itself and developments that could change how we design and experience space. Read on for those projects and what they might mean for our future.

Tech, Big Data, and the Future of Retail Design

With the rise of the internet, old-fashioned brick-and-mortar stores have struggled, as online ordering services have increasingly made it unnecessary to actually go to a store. The answer for the physical stores of the future? Make spaces not for purchasing the things people need, but experiencing the things people want, as explored in this article by Matt Alderton originally published on Autodesk's Redshift publication as "How Technology and Big Data in Retail Are Shaping Store Designs of the Future." Alderton looks at how forward-looking stores are being designed to appeal to customers, finding that the same technology revolution that threatened to make stores obsolete might also play a key role in saving them, too.

Shopping used to be stimulating. Although its end was sales, its means was a mix of status and spectacle. It was social commerce in which partakers transacted not just cash, but also cachet.

Nowhere was this more evident than in the earliest department stores, whose architects designed them to be destinations. In London, for instance, Harrods boasts the motto “Omnia, Omnibus, Ubique”—Latin for “All Things for All People, Everywhere.” Established in 1849, it has seven floors, comprising more than 1 million square feet across more than 330 departments. The store installed one of the world’s first escalators in 1898, opened a world-famous food hall in 1902, and sold exotic pets such as lion cubs until the 1970s.

Takhassussi Patchi Shop by Lautrefabrique Architectes. Image © Luc Boegly dpHUE Concept Store by Julie Snow Architects. Image © Paul Crosby Owen Launch by Tacklebox Architecture. Image © Juliana Sohn for OWEN Designed by Callison, the new Watches of Switzerland store in London features an interactive touch screen. Image Courtesy of Callison + 9