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The Virtual Home

Research Theme
Business and Technology
Lead Researcher
Cherie Reitzel
Duration of Project
Project Description

My research asked the following questions:

1. Does an immersive experience change spatial perceptions to increase architectural ‘buy-in’ for smaller, more sustainable spaces, communities and interior finishes?

2. Is there a potential to increase industry partnerships (local architects, designers and furniture/finish suppliers to virtually draw/model and showcase product within the virtual environment?

3. Does interactivity impact the user’s immersive experience. (ie. Turning on lights, moving walls, changing finishes?)

The Virtual Home Project strove to implement true human-centered design thinking practices into a world highly influenced by the corporate media. It was critical to re-think the design process via the use of virtual reality tools and gaming software and to marry these tools with the world of architecture.  Discoveries were made on both the consumer and the designer side and a unique home prototype was ultimately created and experienced in the virtual world.  It was in essence, designed by its own community, through survey results, speaking events, student engagement, social media polls and focus groups.  While the involved consumer provided feedback, I was able to push the boundaries and implement passive, sustainable design features in the structure, design, lighting and finishes.

The home resulted in a fully transformable, high tech, fully closing 600 square foot home, that (when polled) 90 percent of consumers were willing to live in.