Draw & Code have contributed to a mixed reality experience that showcases the hidden history of iconic Liverpool landmarks. Featuring volumetric performance capture and stylised architectural visualisations, this is the first mixed reality experience centred on UNESCO World Heritage locations.
The collaboration with the University of Liverpool’s Professor Richard Koeck and colleagues at CAVA, the Centre of Architecture and the Visual Arts, includes Culture Liverpool, Dimension Studio, Immersive Story Lab and RIBA North.
“We wanted to find new ways to engage audiences in interactive, immersive technologies, which will allow people who are interested in the architecture of the city to audio-visually perceive the city in unprecedented ways,” Professor Koeck said.
The research forms part of a University initiative that explores how immersive technology can be utilised within the heritage sector.
Volumetric Capture and Mixed Reality
The grand setting of St George’s Hall provided the theme for the Microsoft Hololens experience. With creative direction of the Liverpool Institute of Performing Arts, visitors are transported into the court case of Florence Maybrick who was accused of poisoning her husband. With the court still in situ at the hall, it was the ideal place for the action to unfold.
The prototype utilises volumetric filming from Dimension Studios to create a true 3D interactive recording of the actors.
Professor Richard Koeck said: “We are immensely proud of what seems to be the world’s first volumetric, holographic, mixed reality experience for a building that is part of a UNESCO world heritage site. The lessons we are learning here and the impact from this will hopefully be considerable.”
Immersive Storylab’s Pete Woodbridge said: “Through this collaboration we’ve brought a number of different techniques and narrative mechanisms together, from games to film, to think about the how we can design storytelling experiences for the future. Mixed reality has enormous potential for enhancing the way we can interact with our cultural heritage and its really exciting to be part of such a groundbreaking project.”
Using AR to experience Lutyens’ vision
CAVA and Draw & Code also collaborated on an augmented reality (AR) application designed to contextualise Sir Edwin Lutyens’ 1930s design for what would have been the second-largest church in the world. The cathedral’s construction was halted at the outbreak of the Second World War leaving the skyline-altering building incomplete – until now.
This was a fascinating project as the cathedral’s environs would likely have wiped out Draw & Code’s home in Liverpool’s Knowledge Quarter. Visualisations of the cathedral were produced by Draw & Code with the guidance of RIBA North who sourced a selection of Lutyens’ original sketches. Using mobile-based ARKit interactions, Draw & Code created an app that placed these designs approximately where they would have been built has the war not intervened.