Reflections on Student Collaboration: Student Insight (2)

Chander Kant - Chander Kant AggarwalChander Kant Aggarwal is a postgraduate student studying the MA in Urban Design & Planning with us in the Department of Urban Studies & Planning at the University of Sheffield.

As a Student Ambassador for the “Developing Design Consultants of the Future” Project, Chander shares with us his experience of contributing towards the progress of the project so far.

The project “Developing Design Consultants of the Future” initiated by the University of Sheffield has immense potential and could be a turning point in the way design consultants perform at present. My engagement with this project introduced me to the various options to visualize an urban design or architectural project while at its design stage. It would not only improve the design process and outcomes for consultants but would also be beneficial for their clients. The possibility to visualize the project much before the implementation would encourage clients and enhance their trust for their designers. All this would be experienced using Virtual and Augmented reality, the platforms I am working on.

Virtual reality is experiencing the design by the physical walk through in real time produced by computer simulation. This experience is imitated by creating 3D models and using them with modern equipment like Head Mounted Displays (such as HTC Vive, Oculus etc.) or simply with Google Cardboard and a mobile. Augmented Reality is the easy way to see the 3D model over a plan and experience various spaces in relation to the plan. It can be simply achieved by creating a 3D model, linking to its plan by way of a tracker and finally hovering mobile/tablet over the plan to see it come to life in 3D.

There have been various online platforms enabling the 3D models created with different softwares to be visualized in VR or AR. I have been involved in testing several platforms and their compatibility with various 3D softwares. For the same, I used my previous architectural and urban design projects which helped me realize the practical issues and the need to rethink various elements. Thus, these will help save cost, time and labour on site if such issues are discovered and resolved much before its implementation.

In the present techie-scenario, the technology and the web services have made such experiences accessible at ease. Moreover at the University of Sheffield, with their huge services in this field, it should prove to be very beneficial for its students. Specifically, for students who find themselves in a difficult position to imagine 3-dimensional volumes, human scale, proportions and aesthetics, the use of VR and AR would support their design understanding. Once these get embedded into the learning and teaching methods for emerging designers, it would empower them and hence enhance a generation of designers.

I am glad to be associated with this emerging technology that adds to my architectural and planning background. Further, it would help me enhance my professional proficiency and provide me with a chance to bring a change as an Urban Designer. Architectural/urban projects relates not only to designers and clients but to common people and thus needs to be tested and tried in all ways before its physical transformation.  This project aims to upgrade the way a design project is developed and in my experience I found such inventiveness very crucial in the changing times.


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