Architects use various types of presentational methods and tools in a design process. Sketches, drawings, and physical & digital models are many tools to understand and present the architect’s work. Likewise, these tools are used and taught at most architectural schools. Primarily 3-dimensional physical and digital models are used to understand the spatial quality of architecture. Recently, with the increased accessibility to VR (Virtual Reality) Headsets, studies and experiments of using an immersive VR environment in architectural education have increased. The immersive VR places the viewer inside the architectural space on a 1:1 scale, which none of the previous tools could provide. This paper explores this opportunity in a second-year undergraduate architecture studio to understand the role of an immersive VR environment in a single-family house design studio. During a traditional design studio, the students of Y university were asked to use an immersive VR headset to experience one’s architectural design and make modifications on issues found during the VR experience. This task was conducted twice sequentially, and the process was documented for further analysis. The students were not given any directions on what to consider during the exercise to find how the students intuitively utilize the VR environment. The four primary aspects found during the exercise were realizing spatial scale, considering the relationship between different spaces, taking account of the spatial quality of geometry, and focusing on the openings on walls. These findings assert the use of VR, not as a substitute but as a valuable complementary tool in teaching the students about spatial sense, which previously architectural tools could not convey for beginning architectural students.
Sang Hoon Youm is currenlty an Associate Professor at Yonsei University and runs the CAT (Context, Architecture & Techonology) Architecture & Urban Design Lab. The lab seeks to discover alternative urban & architectural spaces as well as experimental design methods. The lab’s architectural study explores the possibilities in between architecture/urban, analog/digital and form/material. His research on boundary spaces between architecture and the city provided a new insight in understanding the contemporary role of architecture in an urban setting. His architectural design and research has been commissioned and exhibited in various locations including MMCA Seoul and MoMA New York. / cat-yonsei.com