Cornell University | Build: London ’19 for Architecture | Unreal Engine

Cornell University | Build: London ’19 for Architecture | Unreal Engine

>>Thank you very much, Ken.
And good afternoon, everyone. Our project at Cornell
is less than a year old, but we have made
a lot of progress. We are trying to bring
real-time experiential design to urban design
and city making. As you know, urban design,
the urban design process, basically,
has two parts to it. There are
the space-making players, consist of architects,
planners, engineers, who make the buildings
and roads, just, you know,
the infrastructure, the landscape architects
do all the landscape. And then there is
a place-making team that tries to use visualization,
narratives, and other means to create
spatial experiences that would be enjoyed
by the users of the city. Those two parts
form a paradigm, and those two paradigms
are really quite, quite separate
from each other. Each paradigm has developed
its own history, content, and workflows. The space-making paradigm
generally involves digital systems
that make these urban spaces. And the place-making ones
actually focused on how we experience the city,
and how we navigate the city, the types of narratives
that we create when we move
through cities. Typically, the space-makers
dominate the process, when in actual fact, cities, like
architecture are experienced. So, our job at Cornell is to try
to bring the two together. These are the two paradigms, and this is the way in which
they relate right now. You have the abstractions
and the concepts, and then you have
the visualization. We think the two have to come in some sort of symbiotic
relationship with each other, and also inform the process
as we move through with the design of the city. And we talk a lot about,
you know, big data. I mean, if you are
designing whole cities, or even portions of cities, you are dealing with massive
amounts of information. So, trying to bring these things
together is quite a challenge. And we want to do it, not by importing works
from DCC software into Unreal, but actually working
in tandem with Unreal. So, previously we have done
this using gaming engines in an immersive cave at Cornell,
but lately we have realized that Unreal Engine
has so much more power that we can move it
beyond the cave and use much more
distributed systems of immersion in virtual reality. So, what we have done
is looked for two things. The first is a platform
that is capable of doing the space-making
in urban design. And we have settled
on CityEngine as a very powerful system
that can do the job. And then we also look
for a very powerful platform that can do
the real-time experiential work, which naturally
is Unreal Engine. I think it is
totally unsurpassed in terms of its capabilities. And then we put a team
together to develop an interface
between the two. The team comprises faculty
at Cornell, students, graduates,
and upper-class students, and also industry partners. We have partners
from FX collaborative, KPF, HOK, Shock,
and we all work together to try to define the types
of flows that we want, and also the tools that we
will need to do this project. So, I am going to play you
a little video clip, short one, in which the partners
discuss what they are doing, and then I will play
you two clips of what we are trying
to do with the software.>>One of the exciting things
about this project for us in working with both a leading
academic institution in Cornell, and Epic, one of the leaders
in virtual reality technology, to really be
on the forefront of developing workflows
and technology that will impact both academia
and the industry. There is a disconnect
between how we design and how we represent it. And virtual reality
has been a way to always better represent
what we have designed, but we have yet
to actually design in this. So, this is solving
a disconnect between the abstraction
and representation.>>In the VR environment,
we are really hoping that these new sets of tools
will allow us to collaboratively be in that environment
together, make those changes,
and in real-time, understand what those design
moves experientially feel like, therefore accelerating
the decision-making process. The first iteration
of this tool is looking at bringing in
parametric buildings from ESRI into the Unreal Engine that you can
collaboratively adjust, and in real-time, understand
what those changes in the urban environment
will feel like.>>The research that we do
in the lab focuses on environmental
modeling tools, such as outdoor comfort,
indoor comfort, energy use in buildings,
daylight in buildings. And in connection with VR,
we can bring the data that these tools produce
into an environment that can be experienced
by the designer, but also by
the potential clients, or the potential
urban dwellers. And getting that kind
of feedback loop together, I think, is really critical
to designing these kind of
urban environments.>>With VR, we are able
to reconnect the hand, the mind, and the eye, but within
three-dimensional space. We are no longer dealing with
the interface of the screen and the interface
of the keyboard, but actually able
to directly interact with a particular environment
through the hands.>>The students are
really excited. They are curious to kind of
explore the technology and its potentials.
I think they clearly understand that this dramatically changes
the way we design, and finally they have
everything together in one place to explore kind of
where the boundaries are, and how we can
develop them further.>>Yeah, so those are the partners
we are working on the team. Next, we founded a studio
in which we are looking at using these tools
to design the city, but from the bottoms up. Normally, city design
is done with master planning from the top down. We are starting
from the bottoms up, because that is the way in which
cities really get experienced. So, the two clips
you will be seeing are designs of existing streets. They took almost, I would say,
about four hours to do, each one, and the students have
actually modeled the streets, walked through them,
brought them into Twinmotion. They don’t rush and all the
pizazz to make the place-making. And then gone in, and are now
modifying the designs. So, let us take a look
at the first one. It is in Vienna.
The idea behind this is that cities start
with links and places. Links are streets, places are
your plazas and public spaces. So, this is an example
of the modeling process. And we are able
to do this very quickly. That is the whole idea. We do not spend days
and weeks on them, we do them in an afternoon. And the next one is a street
in the oceanfront of Boston. Again, modeling the existing, and then making
some interventions to change the buildings,
to change the streets, to change them to rush, and make it as realistic
as possible. So, these are works in progress.
We are going to spend some time, another couple of weeks
on these. And then we will
put them together and create larger
and larger urban settings. The students who create
the most believable streets will get flown over to go
and experience those streets, and actually test their models
with the real stuff, and see how they correspond
to each other. So, we have received
a lot of support, and these are some of
the supporters of the project. So, thank you very much. You are all welcome
to communicate with us, and we will keep you
abreast of our progress.>>Thank you. Excellent.
Thank you very much. [APPLAUSE]

One Comments

  • Ben Veasey

    February 12, 2020

    Great peak into a possible future design solution for AEC.


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