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COX CDG Hackathon 2020: Immersive Storytelling

Storytelling is fundamental in architecture, strengthening problem definition and better communicating the justification of design decisions. While current methods of documentation have been successful in generating a range of 2-dimensional (2D) diagrams from 3-dimensional (3D) models, complex information gathered from 2D diagrams are difficult to capture – their message often lost in translation.


The mission

COX’s Computational Design Group (CDG) specialise in computational design, with their daily mission to maximise efficiency through software and programs that automate or simplify complex and tedious tasks relative to architectural processes. This includes working with building analysis (solar, wind, views), scripting complex forms, preparing feasibility numbers as well as automating processes in documentation that are not limited to the coordination of models. These aspects have undoubtedly made complex tasks easier and are critical to justifying design decisions, but communicating these ideas to architects, designers, external clients and consultants remains a challenge.

The CDG group propose to develop a workflow that alternates information flow between an augmented reality (AR) application, and the tools computational designers use daily, such as Rhinoceros and Grasshopper. Given the accessibility of mobile devices, the aim is to encourage its use through a 3D augmented model capable of representing information on a collaborative and immersive medium. A platform such as AR allows multifaceted and layered storytelling, reducing friction when explaining complex ideas that in the past may have been misinterpreted.

The COX CDG Hackathon is all about gaining a better understanding of how gaming engines can influence design decisions in the architectural industry, and how emerging technologies can be leveraged as a storytelling aid.

The People

This event will see COX’s National Computational Design Group and local computation design staff members head to Melbourne to participate. This event aims to provide an opportunity for members of the CDG to learn from colleagues in their field and strengthen relationships between individuals and studios.

The event is being organised by Nissie Bungbrakearti (Canberra), Emily Leung (Sydney), and Rebekah Collins (Melbourne), under the guidance of Tristan Morgan (National Design Technology lead: Innovation, Perth) and Matt Austin (National Design Technology lead: Strategy, Melbourne).

The Target

While numerous tasks in the architectural process are distinct between projects, there are stages that every project must pass through to progress from concept to completion. The CDG group believe conceptual design and development stages, as well as the final submission of deign documents, are best suited to utilise AR technology. These stages require communication of information that computational designers produce, and if artefacts can be generated quicker, the benefits will be immense for those who have the greatest impact on design decisions – particularly when presented on an inclusive, user-friendly platform.

The group aim to create a platform that connects computational designers with architects, designers, consultant and clients in a way that fosters informed discussions of complex ideas. There are opportunities to embed AR technology within finalised physical competition submission documents in the form of QR codes, adding a layer of information that could not be presented in 2D diagrams. Further, early design and review stages of the project have the potential to implement a bi-directional flow of data such that on-the-fly design changes can allow for real-time analysis and AR visualisation. Ultimately – such a platform can create richer discussions between multiple stakeholders, leading to faster decision making.

Adrian Taylor

Andy Liu

Dr Jacqueline Baker

Emily Leung

Jerome Yang

Mark Kowalyov

Matt Austin

Mitchell Buckley

Nissie Bungbrakearti

Patrick Scott

Rebekah Collins

Tristan Morgan