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Architects to design virtual spaces ?


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Hi everyone,

I would like to have some input on a complicated matter.

I'm having a debate class here at the university on "architecture-shopping-VR"

VR can easily be related to shopping but what is confusing is the place of the architect.

Are architects relevant when it comes to designing virtual worlds ("shopping world")?

Is there a new kind of collaboration ? A new kind of architect ? Sure the architect is a specialist when it comes to "designing space" but is this enough to be contestant in the VR world ? Some artists might be even more relevant then ...?


We can't find relevant information so it's turning into a collection of personal opinions :D


I personally have no experience with VR but the debate started off on those new "Virtual Shopping Malls" and "virtual stores".


Hopefully some of you have had experience (maybe professional) and can give us some feedback.


I wish you the best !!!

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This is very random, but interesting :p


A few quick thought:

If you are a good architect/designer, you know how to create spaces that are useful for people and create a nice comfortable experience.


Now Virtual reality is that, a reality that is no real or virtual so reality rules can be bend in that case, any good designer who understand how people behave and how to create a good shopping experience could eventually do a good job too.


Now VR can be very powerful but in the correct hands, if you are a UI designer you could also create a great user experience, but you need to know what really work in VR and what not. I been working on VR for a little while now and many thing that in theory sound good, when you apply them to many user, they just don't work, you get people dizzy, shock, bored, o just not interested at all, you could create a very complex flashy none seance experience, that would be to the user a waste of time. But it look cool, but really, is just a skill show off nothing else.


I don't think if you are an Architect you are a default great VR developer, no matter what the Architect tell you... they are good for everything, so they say ;)


But I good balance of design, programming and planing will always work, IMO VR is a great powerful tool to give us a different point of view, not a Transformer 25 movie.

it is not only about the Physical, or Polygonal place but the overall user experience and how really useful it is.


For instance, most of the time I do VR presentations for arch Viz, not baking lighting, just real time lights, when I say that many people look at me down like I insulted their mothers or I still using scanline, but not everything in our industry is a Scandinavian 15ftx15ft room ;) When things get real, and interaction and flexibility is the real reason why you are doing VR, then you should not be limited to create the nice glowing experience.


When you design a shopping mall virtually or not you have two major objectives, the people need to buy what they want, and the seller needs to sell what the people does not need. Nobody will go to look a plant with DOF or God rays falling through the windows, they may help you to create a nice inviting place, but they are not the main purpose.

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First of all, thanks a lot for the feedback ! :D


I understand you are more on the side of an overall good vrdesigner, with or without an architectural background. I could compare that to the 3D artists working on renders for a 2d output but now for a VR output.

The good thing that I see in that analogy is that we could get the selling image as it is. I'm thinking of those nice renders we see in winning architectural competitions that end up completely different once built. Because it's VR there are no more constraints of weather, light, gravity, (cost),... So I kind of don't understand your point of view on realistic lights. Why not go all out with the glowing experience ? Why keeping it realistic ? Is it related to that comfortable user experience you talked about ?


I was thinking, because you are talking about planning; are architects used in the gaming industry (world environment modelling) for marketing ?


Again I really appreciate the feedback.

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Are architects relevant when it comes to designing virtual worlds ("shopping world")?

Is there a new kind of collaboration ? A new kind of architect ? Sure the architect is a specialist when it comes to "designing space" but is this enough to be contestant in the VR world ? Some artists might be even more relevant then ...?


My opinion is that any architect or artist can be relevant who has the skillset needed.


Architects should have a good imagination. They "feel" the virtual space and they knows the client's needs. With great creativity they can design virtual spaces and make them interesting by adding features which would be impossible to build in real life.


And here comes the technical skill what an architect might not have. But a 3D artist who knows about the creation of VR and knows all the bits and pieces of the software, might not be as good in designing virtual space as an architects.

Sometimes, the architect might already have the technical skills but it still makes more sense to collaborate with a 3D artist who knows maybe more about a software ux design and build up a virtual shopping experience together.

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I don't think it would be a general rule that a good architect would make a good vr space designer. Some architects are good because they have a deep knowledge of building materials and construction techniques, but those skills do not really translate to virtual space design.


Zaha Hadid no doubt would have excelled at virtual space design because she was always pushing the boundaries of what the physical laws of this world would allow in architectural design.

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