Virtualism In Architecture Essay

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VIRTUALISM IN ARCHITECTURE
This subject was suggested as a possible topic from the course outline. As it is an area of much interest and controversy was chosen as the direction of study for the paper. Previous research into Virtual Reality (VR), coupled with a particular interest in its architectural application also proved motivating. However, although the direction of the initial research appeared straightforward, after further investigation it became obvious that there were in fact two distinctly different interpretations that could be drawn from the area of Virtualism in Architecture. This division was between whether VR was used FOR architecture (VR used as a tool to aid in architectural design). Or whether it was used AS
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In terms of specific applications VR can be usefully applied when building homes for disabled people. For example, those whose movements are restricted solely to a wheelchair may require larger hallway space for maneuverability and lower bench heights in the kitchen. These can easily be rectified before the house is built. Thus minimising on post-production changes which may be costly. I3 (Interactive Information Institute) is the RMIT VR 'showpiece'. It features a 150 degree wide screen which occupies the entire field of vision of the viewer. Instead of mounting a head display unit the environment is shared. I3 feature an architectural 'fly-through' of the Docklands planned area for development. This allows the user to view buildings from a multitude of different angles, and ascertain an improved idea of the finished product.

As can be gathered, much of the discussion regarding this application of VR is unashamedly positive and optimistic with the future of the technology. Thus the proponents can be described as belonging to the Technological Deterministic school of thought. In other words, the technology has been created so therefore we must use it. VR is also largely associated with reaping in economic benefits, and if not now, is seen as a good investment for the future. Thus if there is a dollar sign attached to a specific technology there are inevitably going to be fewer critics, or at least less
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