Geo Week News

November 23, 2016

VR Project Combines Past, Present, Future Architecture


We’re not using virtual reality to its full potential yet. Sure, we’re collaborating on building projects, we’re viewing architectural models, and we’re interacting with BIM information—but those are just the most obvious uses.

What about the mind-blowing, far-out use cases?

Here’s one. Some developers at the Interactive Architecture Lab at the University College London have developed a VR experience called Palimpsest. It’s described as software to “record and combine the past, present and future architectures of the city into a single virtual space.”

The project was inspired by the High Speed Rail 2 project (HS2), which requires that certain parts of London be demolished before construction. Using 3D scanning and virtual reality, the Palimpsest “allows communities to capture 3D recordings of themselves, their community and the architecture that is important to them in order to preserve it.” As a bonus, stakeholders can use the platform to “share their stories” during debates on the project.

A slightly more banal (but still important) use of the technology is enabling everyone involved in the project to put forward ideas during the development project.

To make the Palimpsest experience, the team worked with ScanLAB (of course) to capture base scans of St James Gardens and Drummond Street. On top of these base scans, community members will be encouraged to contribute their own scans generated with Google’s Project Tango scanners.

The project will also include 3D scans of interview subjects speaking about spaces to be demolished, while situated in those very spaces.

It’s a bold idea for bringing the community into conversations about the futures of the public spaces they inhabit.

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