Virtual reality gives Karori an urban twist

The Karori community will be able to visualise urban development in their neighbourhood through virtual reality, thanks to Victoria University of Wellington Master of Architecture student Daniel Innes.

Daniel with computer and vr headset

Daniel will be showcasing his research at the Karori Library this Saturday, inviting residents to have a say in what they want to see in their neighbourhood.

The suburb of Karori was chosen for the project as it has been identified by Wellington City Council as one that would benefit from urban development.

Members of the community will be able to try on virtual reality headsets and interact with urban pockets around the Karori mall and public library through novel software that Daniel has created.

“Anyone who comes along will be able to have a play around with the virtual headsets and test out the programme,” says Daniel.

Participants will be asked a few questions about the programme and how they interacted with it. This data will be used to support the next steps in his research.  

Typically, an architect makes a model and imports it into the programme to show the building in virtual reality, allowing the client to look around. Daniel’s research takes this a step further.

“The programme will enable architects and stakeholders to interact with the model while in virtual reality and make design decisions as they walk around evaluating the building.

“By creating this interactive tool, I hope that I can construct a more intuitive way of interacting with models and design, especially when engaging with stakeholders including community members.”

Daniel’s supervisor, Dean of Victoria’s Faculty of Architecture and Design Professor Marc Aurel Schnabel, says: “This is an exciting opportunity for the public to get involved in research that one day could impact the way their neighbourhoods are formed.

“We hope that the exercise will produce some interesting dialogue for the public and show the potential of virtual environments for the practice of architecture.”

Fellow Victoria student Shuva Chowdhury will also be sharing his PhD research at the event. His work uses data to aid participatory design decisions and decision-making platforms for urban regeneration.  

The showcase is from 9.30am to 3.30pm this Saturday 21 October.