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By introducing rapid reproduction, algorithms, and complex formal configurations, the digital era of architecture began a revolution. Architects incorporated the computational capacity of the computer into the design process both as a tool and as a critical component of the theories and practice of architecture as a whole. As we move into what has been coined “the second digital turn,” a period in which digital integration is considered ubiquitous, how can we consider, prepare, and propel towards the next technological innovation to significantly inform design thinking, representation, and manifestation? What tools are available to investigate this speculative design future and how can they be implemented? If the integration of technology in architecture is now a given, perhaps the next digital design era is not just digital but virtual. As new technologies emerge the potential for integrating the virtual design world with our physical senses affords novel possibilities for interactive design, simulation, analysis and construction. Hybrid reality technologies, including virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR), embody the potential to supersede conventional representation methodologies such as drawing, rendering, physical modeling, and animation. As they become increasingly pervasive, they will transform how we communicate ideas and data as spatial concepts. Further, they will reform the construct of the built environment when applied to both materiality and fabrication. This paper will describe the incorporation of VR as a tool in various classroom and laboratory settings, recognize the educational outcomes of this incorporation, and identify the potential relationship of these technologies to future academic exploration and application to practice.


Originally published as Bartosh, Amber, and Phillip Anzalone. "Experimental applications of virtual reality in design education." In 39th Annual Conference of the Association for Computer Aided Design in Architecture: Ubiquity and Autonomy, ACADIA 2019, pp. 458-467. ACADIA, 2019. ACADIA conference papers are open access.



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