VR & AR in architectural education – international course “Architect’s Innovation Map, Digital Pedagogy for the Architectural Education and Practice”

Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality in architecture show a variety of possible uses to accompany architectural education and practice. Therefore, new competencies, skills, and possibilities emerge because of the use of these technologies, giving birth in a new teaching approach.

In the 2nd day of our international course “Architect’s Innovation Map, Digital Pedagogy for the Architectural Education and Practice”, we visited the Multimedia Studios of Guglielmo Marconi University to explore this trend. This studio is the production center of all virtual and augmented reality e-learning courses of the university,  and they focus on the use of mobile technologies for visualization and presentation of architectural models in 3D.

Here are some of the different activities the studios do:

Virtual field trips

The first technique is the one of building a virtual model and then using it as a background to a professor that is actually teaching. This virtual model represents any faraway city/architecture of the world. In this way, teaching is not anymore strictly connected with a specific space, the classroom. Rather, it concerns the actual teaching product and focuses more on the learning content.

How do we do that?

For the construction of a virtual trip, we need the correct ambient on which we can design our virtual reality. The most popular ambient is the green screen. So, taking the idea from the cinematographic industry, we can now imagine teaching in a green screen space.

The green screen is a space with limited natural light, all green, with the specific paint which is specialized in neutralizing colors). This paint differs most distinctly in hue from most human skin colors. As a consequence, no part of the subject/teacher may duplicate the color used as the background.

A studio shot taken in front of a green screen will naturally have ambient light the same color as the screen, due to its light scattering. The teacher stands in the middle of this space and teaches not anymore in front of a classroom but in front of recording equipment and the multimedia operators. Once he finishes his course, the learning product is a video registration which the postproduction graphic designers use as the front material. The graphic designers remote the teacher from the ambient and locate the teacher to any virtual environment.

Here is a video spot on the green screen. The Multimedia Studios of Guglielmo Marconi University built the 3d model of the Barcelona Pavilion and located the presenter inside there.


-Real-time AR visualization services for architectural models

These increase not only student motivation but also knowledge construction and better communication.

We talk about incorporating AR technology into architecture by providing 3-D models with multiple levels of interactivity for both design and presentation purposes.


-AR and VR to drag and drop 3-D models and assets in any app.

This technology offers users the ability to drag and drop virtual 3D models taken from a large and constantly updated catalog into a real-world environment. An example of that can be a catalog of furniture or a catalog of windows and architectural elements. These kinds of programs remember object positions, letting users walk around virtually “furnished” space and then return to see the items just the way they were left.


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