"The Neuron Pod – Draw & Code’s latest architectural virtual reality project"
Draw & Code’s latest architectural virtual reality project is an interactive visualisation of the Neuron Pod, a spectacular building slated to be built on the grounds of Queen Mary University in London. It will form part of the Centre of the Cell science education venue, an amazing institution that recently celebrated its fifth birthday. We were invited to the anniversary event where Draw & Code collaborated with architects All Design to produce a virtual reality experience that enables potential backers to walk around the visionary building long before any construction takes place.
The existing Centre of the Cell venue is amazing. Interactive exhibits use gestures and projections, cameras placing you in the centre of the experience; it may be five years old but it still feels like a thoroughly modern experience. During that time they have welcomed over 100,000 visitors to the centre, which is run by scientists and educators with an active research centre situated immediately below the attractions. The idea behind the spectacular centre is to inspire a new generation of scientists, which they certainly are doing with the fun, and sometimes messy, exhibits.
Centre of the Cell is on a mission to become self-sustaining, which they believe they can achieve with the addition of The Neuron Pod – a spectacular new visitor centre modeled on a nerve cell. This remarkable structure is being penned by Will Alsop and All Design; creators of some of the world’s most daring architecture. We have worked on virtual reality visualisations of All Design’s architecture before, but this is the first time that we have been able to showcase our collaborations. The Draw & Code VR artists are always thrilled to get involved with All Design; architecture that is this forward-thinking deserves to be represented by cutting edge technology.
For the Neuron Pod virtual reality experience we used the Samsung Gear VR to show visitors around. We went with the Samsung due to it being wireless and portable; the event was spread across multiple locations, so we couldn’t be tethered to a desktop computer as we usually are with an Oculus Rift unit.
Virtual reality turned out to be a big hit as everybody from architects who worked on the project right through to the University’s top brass were able to walk around the new building. With £900,000 still needed to bring the Neuron Pod to life, virtual reality is the ideal tool for expressing their vision and communicating what the building will look and feel like.
For us it was great to see our virtual reality model getting such a great reaction. On arrival it felt surreal to finally visit the centre after spending so much time in VR walking around it; even the neighbouring streets were already familiar to us! Maybe next time we visit it will be to see a spectacular new Neuron Pod building…