Studio 19

VE - Virtual Environments

Ben Waters

This studio is available to students enrolled in ABPL90142 Studio C, ABPL90143 Studio D, and ABPL90115 Studio E.

Studio Description

VE -

Virtual Environments

Using new computer simulation tools, in VE we will invent virtual environments, landscapes, buildings.

Actually, the idea of the virtual is quite old. The word comes from VIRTUS, meaning potential or force. More recently, the word has evolved to describe conditions of the digital, interactivity and information. And as our world continues to become more ‘virtualised’, as does our ability to simulate unreal worlds. In VE, we will deploy advance 3D graphic engines, building environments using high fidelity 3D scan assets. This will be, yes, a form of ‘virtual reality’ – a digitally reproduced computer simulation – but we will think of this more as a virtual process, staging the conditions for the emergence of new realities between site, siting, and building.

Studio Outcomes

At first, we will download and deploy highly precise and detailed 3D scan assets of natural environments into real-time render engines. Using this process to develop a deep understanding of site (biome), we will sculpt textured terrains, drag and drop rocks covered in lichen and procedurally paint grasses on surfaces – constructing ground. Light and atmospherics can be controlled and adjusted in real time, equating the virtual environment to a kind of film set for architectural production.

This hyper-real/photoreal 3D landscape becomes the protagonist for the VE design project. Here we prioritise architecture’s relationship to landscape and ground. Representation gives way to simulation and real time graphics allow us to test specific relations to, in and with landscape. Using a specified type of natural biome; wetland, dry grassland, heathland, we will develop architectural programs, structures and systems that respond to and challenge the virtual environment.

Studio Leader

Ben Waters is founder of S-I Projects and coordinator of S-I Lab at the Melbourne School of Design. He graduated with a Master of Architecture from RMIT University, and studied at Parsons School of Design, New York. In 2014, Ben was awarded a residency position at Berlin’s Centre for Art and Urbanistics (ZKU), and currently holds a residency in digital innovation at ACMI X Melbourne.

Readings & References

  • Object as Ground as Landscape - Luis Callejas
  • Agency of Mapping - James Corner
  • Considering Landscape – Bruce Pascoe
  • The Virtual House: A Description - John Rajchman – ANY20
  • Digital Culture in Architecture – Antoine Picon

Schedule Tuesdays and Wednesdays | 9:30AM-1:30PM
Thursdays | 1:30PM-5:30PM
Face-to-face components to run in MSD Room 139

Contact Handbook

Need enrolment assistance?

Stop 1 provides enrolment and other support to Bachelor of Design, Bachelor of Environments and Melbourne School of Design students.