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NYP wants to nurture a new breed of architectural designers, well-versed in VR and AR tools

By Wong Chung Wee - on 3 Jan 2017, 4:35pm

NYP wants to nurture a new breed of architectural designers who are well-versed in VR and AR technologies

Nanyang Polytechnic has just introduced a new Diploma in Sustainable Architectural Design. This new program aims to produce designers who can adopt the latest technologies like virtual and augmented reality tools for sustainable and cost-effective design projects. The institutions wants to train their design students to make use of virtual reality and augmented reality technologies to enable “prototyping”.

At the program launch, a third-year student from the School of Design, used the HTC Vive to showcase the virtual reality model of his design project, "The Living Shell". It was rendered in 3DS Max with accompanying VR plug-ins.

A typical architecture design project will comprise a miniature scale model and a 2-D rendered model. With the availability of VR and AR tools, the curriculum of the new diploma program will incorporate these tools into the design workflow, allowing the budding designers to showcase their projects with the improved workflow. At the same time, the program also will put emphasis on the use of VR and AR for design and collaboration purposes. With the immersive experience brought about by VR and AR platforms, the intended target audience will be able to communicate their preferred requirements more effectively. For the designer, this will mean avoiding the costly mistake of incorporating features that may be impossible to rectify once the architectural project is brought to build from the digital blueprint.

A School of Design lecturer also demonstrated the use of AR with the help of an in-house Andriod application.

The curriculum of the program will not be fixed on a particular VR or AR platform as the school aims to expose the incoming students to a broad-based of suite of tools and platforms. Ms Zalina Sapie, Course Manager, School of Design, said that such IT tools should be viewed as "enablers", which will build the social fabric and allow its threads, i.e., the architects, engineers, designers, builders and facility managers to work together on the sustainable build project, in a cost-effective manner.

The Diploma in Sustainable Architectural Design is the result of the collaborative efforts of the School of Design and School of Engineering of NYP. The program will start in April this year with an inaugural batch of about 60 students. As the program matures, it aims to scale up the student and staff population in order to meet the growing manpower needs of the build environment in Singapore.