Anxiety, advocacy and déjà vu
Chris Swartout, a director at M Moser Architects in New York City, has been exploring the field of virtual reality since 1999 as a researcher and ‘designer technologist’, as he calls himself.
Swartout believes immersive environment tools can be used to encourage clients and users to care, to find out what they already care about and to design around the information discovered. As an example, Swartout points to a current project he’s been working on: the creation of an integrated media technology façade for a Citibank building in midtown Manhattan. “Not only are we using VR and MR to showcase the project to the executive committee; we’re also having about 200 people wear VR headsets and walk through the space, so that we can capture what they’re looking at and use analytical feedback to learn what attracts their gaze.
This particular project is for public use, so instead of using verbal comments about what we think the public will react to as our point of departure, we’re getting the relevant data analytically and adjusting our design accordingly.’