Virtual Reality in Early Design: the Design Studio Experiences

H.H. Achten, A.A.E. Turksma

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionAcademic


The Design Systems group of the Eindhoven University of Technology started a new kind of design studio teaching. With the use of high-end equipment, students use Virtual Reality from the very start of the design process. Virtual Reality technology up to now was primarily used for giving presentations. We use the same technology in the design process itself by means of reducing the time span in which one gets results in Virtual Reality. The method is based on a very brief cycle of modelling in AutoCAD, assigning materials in 3DStudio Viz, and then making a walkthrough in Virtual Reality in a standard landscape. Due to this cycle, which takes about 15 seconds, the student gets immediate feedback on design decisions which facilitates evaluation of the design in three dimensions much faster than usual. Usually the learning curve of this kind of software is quite steep, but with the use of templates the number of required steps to achieve results is reduced significantly. In this way, the potential of Virtual Reality is not only explored in research projects, but also in education. This paper discusses the general set-up of the design studio and shows how, via short workshops, students acquire knowledge of the cycle in a short time. The paper focuses on the added value of using Virtual Reality technology in this manner: improved spatial reasoning, translation from two-dimensional to three-dimensional representations, and VR feedback on design decisions. It discusses the needs for new design representations in this design environment, and shows how fast feedback in Virtual Reality can improve the spatial design at an early stage of the design process.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication1999 AVOCAAD Second International Conference
EditorsK. Nys, T. Provoost, J. Verbeke, J. Verleye
Publication statusPublished - 1999


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