Virtual Hope Street

If there’s two things we love it’s our hometown and playing with new technology. This virtual Hope Street project brings together both: you can even see our studio!

Brief:

Draw & Code have been fortunate enough to call Hope Street our home since 2011, so it was natural for us to select the greatest street in Britain (according to The Academy of Urbanism) as the subject of our architectural virtual and augmented reality project. The immersive technology experts at Draw & Code are always searching for ways to make this thrilling new medium useful and relevant. We are one of the vanguard of developers who are using virtual and augmented reality to advance architectural visualisation. Our aim is to give architects, planners and developers the tools to explore, understand and improve their designs using immersive technology.

Why did we model such a vast area? We want to enable architects to place their new developments into context alongside existing buildings. Hope Street was a challenging place to start, but logistically it meant that we only needed to step outside the studio to do our research.

Process:

We mapped, modelled and textured the whole of Hope Street from one cathedral to the other, all in glorious 3D. These models were then transferred to Unity 3D, which is better known as a games engine, but it is the perfect basis for an interactive environment.

Our Hope Street model had to work flawlessly in an augmented reality format on both Android and iOS platforms using both pocket-sized and large-scale markers, as well as being detailed enough to be utilised as a virtual reality environment to be displayed on an Oculus Rift headset. This 3D world also has to handle BIM (building information modelling) data supplied by architects.

Result:

Since creating this prototype we have signed up clients who see a clear value in being able to experience developments fully before the design reaches planning level.

For this daring project we sought the advice of leading architects from the outset. Experts from top international practices gave us feedback on our work, helping to contribute to the successful prototype. We are currently refining the whole process using their input to allow us to take this ambitious project even further…


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