Multi-Sensory Environments & Simulations

This research stream explores the use of immersive multi-sensory experiences and simulations as a means to rapidly assess design options and inform decision-making in architecture and beyond. The study builds upon the foundation of existing knowledge on computational design, human-computer interactions, extended realities and post- and pre-occupancy evaluation methods and leverages from the affordances of extended relities and four-dimensional spatial computation technologies. The applications include pre-occupancy evaluation in the metaverse, bush-fire simulation, immersive / interactive big data visualisations and virtual placemaking.

We adopt iterative prototyping, spatial computing techniques and fully-immersive VR and AR technologies to develop and test innovative methods for (1) decision-making enabled by interactive multi-sensory pre-occupation of designs; (2) using parametric modelling and gaming engines to simulate the impacts of auxiliary structures in bushfire events; (3) drawing in the expanded field – interacting simultaneously in multiple overlapping dimensions: material space, virtual space, sound and thermal spaces; (4) communicating / representing complex hierarchical geo-located data sets within immersive multi-sensory environments; (5) incorporation of intangible sensory aspects of place integrated into the design process.

Mission / Innovation / Collaboration

The overarching mission of this research stream is developing and testing a novel approaches that engage with multiple sensory experiences of future occupants, users and a wider range of stakeholders. Background studies have revealed that there are significant limitations within the existing body of research and applications that manifests in focusing solely on the visual aspects of immersive experiences. Human experiences are much more complex – it is not only about what you see. The innovation of our approach is to allow users to have a much wider / extended range of senses, such as tactile feedback, 3D sound scapes, thermal and olfactory experiences. A meaningful immersive experience requires a multisensory approach, the aim shouldn’t be just showing the 3d images and animations, it should cover all other human senses instead.

This stream works in at the cross-section of numerous research fields and disciplines including: architecture, computational design, performance simulations, VR and AR, interaction design, data visualisation, post- pre- occupancy analysis, gamification and advanced manufacturing. We collaborate with both industry, academics and wider communities, developing our research projects using iterative prototyping approaches that enables us to rapidly test new ideas and applications.

Research areas:

  • Pre-occupancy evaluation in architecture, Multi-sensory assessment of building performance
  • Building Resilience: using computation and gaming engines to simulate bushfire events
  • Expanding on the limits of drawings, capturing intangible and evasive spatial presences
  • Investigating the design of augmented reality applications for museum exhibitions
  • Towards multi-sensory design: placemaking through immersive environments