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Integration of Virtual Reality (VR) in Architectural Design Education: Exploring Student Experience

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2019 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Tampa, Florida

Publication Date

June 15, 2019

Start Date

June 15, 2019

End Date

October 19, 2019

Conference Session

Architectural Division Technical Session

Tagged Division

Architectural Engineering

Tagged Topic


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Paper Authors


Joseph Edward Williams III Western Kentucky University

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I am an undergraduate student at Western Kentucky University (WKU) majoring in Architectural Sciences. I will be graduating in May of 2019. My interest in design and technology in architecture motivated me to research how Virtual Reality (VR) could be used to improve the design process of architecture students in academia.

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Fatemeh Orooji Western Kentucky University

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Fatemeh (Mahtab) Orooji is an assistant professor in the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences at Western Kentucky University. She had post-doctoral research experience in the department of construction management at Louisiana State University. She accomplished her Ph.D. degree in Engineering Science with Construction Management Concentration from Louisiana State University in May 2015. She obtained master degrees in Construction Management from Louisiana State University in 2014, and in Architecture from University of Tehran, Iran in 2009.

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Shahnaz J. Aly Western Kentucky University

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Shahnaz Aly, OAA, LEED AP, M. Arch, is a licensed Architect in India and Canada and Associate Professor in the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences at Western Kentucky University. She has 10 years professional experience in the architecture and construction industry in residential, commercial and mixed-use projects. She has 8 years of experience in teaching and research in areas of architectural design, sustainable design, historic preservation and BIM.

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The architecture industry significantly relies on visual communication. Virtual reality helps designers create a greater sense of realism and a better understanding of a project by designing while immersed in them. Virtual Reality (VR), is a digital space where the user’s movements are tracked to convey interactions in the surrounding digital world. High resolution, high refresh rates, precision tracking, and positional audio combine in a headset to create a life-like environment that “tricks” the user’s senses to create a convincing and immersive experience. That technological advancement has a potential to improve the design process. Therefore, the demand for adapting the use of virtual reality environments in the Architecture industry has been increased over the past two decades. If the academia is aligned with industry, students will be better prepared for integration into the workplace. As a result, the integration of virtual reality into architecture school is an educational imperative. This study describes the overview of the ongoing integration of virtual reality (VR) environments within the Architectural Science program. A pilot study was conducted on a group of students before incorporating VR into the classroom to investigate the value and the challenges of integration of virtual reality system in design education. This research details and analyzes the experience of a senior student by applying VR to facilitate learning in the context of architectural design. The student applied Virtual Reality to become immersed in the designed building through the use of a headset and hand controllers. Based on the collected experimental data, the authors investigate the practical application of VR in the learning environment and demonstrate the effectiveness of this advanced technology in pedagogical practice.

Williams, J. E., & Orooji, F., & Aly, S. J. (2019, June), Integration of Virtual Reality (VR) in Architectural Design Education: Exploring Student Experience Paper presented at 2019 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Tampa, Florida. 10.18260/1-2--32999

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