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Designing in caves: using immersive visualisations in design practice

Maftei, L. and Harty, C. (2015) Designing in caves: using immersive visualisations in design practice. International Journal of Architectural Research: ArchNet-IJAR, 9 (3). pp. 53-75. ISSN 1938-7806 (special issue “Design Creativity: "Future Integrated Visualisation Directions”)

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To link to this item DOI: 10.26687/archnet-ijar.v9i3.693


This paper describes a study of the use of immersive Virtual reality technologies in the design of a new hospital. It uses Schön’s concept of reflective practice and video-based methods to analyse the ways design teams approach and employ a full scale 3D immersive environment – a CAVE – in collaborative design work. The analysis describes four themes relating to reflective practice occurring in the setting: orienting to the CAVE technology itself, orienting to the representation of the specific design within the CAVE, activities accounting for, or exploring alternatives within the design for the use and users of the space, and more strategic interactions around how to best represent the design and model to the client within the CAVE setting. The analysis also reveals some unique aspects of design work in this environment. Perhaps most significantly, rather than enhancing or adding to an existing understanding of design through paper based or non-immersive digital representations, it is often acting to challenge or surprise the participants as they experience the immersive, full scale version of their own design.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Science > School of the Built Environment > Urban Living group
Science > School of the Built Environment > Organisation, People and Technology group
ID Code:52849
Additional Information:This study is based on a PhD research undertaken at the University of Reading as part of, and funded through, an EPSRC (Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council) centre on Healthcare Infrastructure (HaCIRIC – Health and Care Infrastructure Research Centre).


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