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Through the Looking Glass

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posted on 07.12.2021, 00:02 by Moh, Kimberly

This thesis questions, what characteristics constitute architecture and how can a design based body of research push the boundaries to question standard convention of architecture? My research proposes that there is a lost opportunity in conventional architecture design when the limitation of two-dimensional images cannot fully convey the reality of space. Conventionally architecture is viewed as static and unchanging however, this research disagrees with this proposition and explores the opportunity for there to be an immersive experience throughout the design stage. This research project asks how can we bridge the gap between the architecture created in the physical world versus the virtual?  Scaled physical modeling is traditionally the key visual representation of architectural design. However, people often can’t fully understand the intricacies of a scaled model. Through my research, I explore how VR technology could provide solutions to let people experience the materiality and craft of a real-life model. Restrictions in perception of scale, materiality and circulation hinder the thorough understanding of experience in space.   There is an opportunity to collaborate and merge the experience of physical modeling in the digital realm. By using handcrafted physical models, my work brings the imperfection of real life into the digital realm. Allowing the materiality from the real world to ground the project with the familiarity that only real space can induce.   Papercraft and modeling by card are the chosen material and method of constructing these real-life scaled models. Photogrammetry is used as a process to translate these physical “objects” into digital mesh. The physical and virtual world can work together harmoniously to create interesting results. The material properties of physical models are highlighted but have the advantage of being able to be easily manipulated (scale, multiply, move etc) in the digital realm. By using VR in order to explore these created environments allows the users to grasp the full nature of the materials and craftsmanship of physical models in a 1:1 scale. This hybrid way of designing celebrates the benefits and advantage of both the physical and virtual world and is a start to bridge the gap between them.


Copyright Date


Date of Award



Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

Rights License

Author Retains Copyright

Degree Discipline


Degree Grantor

Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

Degree Level


Degree Name

Master of Architecture (Professional)

ANZSRC Type Of Activity code


Victoria University of Wellington Item Type

Awarded Research Masters Thesis



Alternative Title

An Investigation of Physical Materials in Virtue Space

Victoria University of Wellington School

School of Architecture


Moleta, Tane