Intangible Narratives; An investigation on immersive architectural visualisation in VR
Within the current context of digital architectural construction and immersive representation exists a problem of ‘ocularcentrism’ as defined by Pallasmaa. Recent immersive developments such as Google Earth VR, or Realities.io, focus primarily in working within the tangible experience, purely emphasising on geometric forms and physical artefacts. They largely ignore the more experiential and intangible qualities of space, which are crucial elements in a real embodied physical experience of architecture. Phenomenologists such as Pallasmaa, Holl, and Zumthor expand on this, identifying that architecture clearly exists as something beyond just the tangible. Architecture fundamentally is an experiential and spatial art, incorporating not just the geometric sense of space but also aspects of the intangible such as sound, movement, lighting and interaction. As a result of this tangible-bias, virtual-reality’s current use within architecture as an immersive medium is largely limited. Most developments can be described as ‘an immersive virtual photograph’ of architecture rather than an experience of one. This research is a response to studies that directly address the problem of ‘ocularcentrism’ while also exploring the methods and techniques that can translate intangible qualities into virtual architecture. Utilising a Real-Time Virtual Environment (RTVE) and Virtual Reality (VR) tool set, this paper virtually reconstructs the case study of the Kowloon Walled City. It proposes a novel working methodology for immersive architectural visualisation with VR and adds to the on-going research in the field of phenomenology within architecture.