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Architecture across Realities: Virtual reality as a tool for architecture

September 18, 2017 12:30 pm - 6:30 pmSto Werkstatt
Architecture Across Realities, A VR event with Space Popular chaired by James Taylor Foster (Editor-at-Large, ArchDaily)

Architecture across Realities was an opportunity to experience and discuss the exciting future of architecture across realities through both a VR session, followed by a panel discussion at Sto Werkstatt. This event marked the unveiling of a further virtual dimension to the installation 'The Glass Chain' by emerging architecture and research practice Space Popular.

In ‘The Glass Chain’ Space Popular explore the possibilities of glass in architecture and among the richly interwoven narratives that have informed the installation, lies a proposition: Like the liquid crystals found in our glass mobile phone screens or the displays in Virtual Reality headsets, could the thin digitally printed layer of ceramic ink on the back of a glass facade panel be considered virtual content?

Designed and created by Space Popular, the VR experience expands your perception across multiple realities. Across its duration you experience playful shifts in scale and are introduced to new environments and even characters in 'The Glass Chain', which blend the physical with the virtual.

Taking 'the Glass Chain' as a departure point, the panel discussion chaired by James Taylor-Foster (Editor-at-Large at ArchDaily), speculated on the potentials of designing and experiencing architecture across real and virtual domains, and the effects this could have on design methodologies and practice in the future.

Still in its infancy, an exciting aspect of VR technologies is its interdisciplinary application with practitioners exploring its potentials across medicine, gaming, architecture and art, to name a few. In our approach to this panel we embraced this cross-disciplinary attitude, inviting speakers from a spectrum of backgrounds to reconsider what the design criteria for a virtual architecture may be.

Panelists included:

Lara Lesmes and Fredrik Hellberg (Co-Directors of Space Popular, Architecture and Research Practice and unit master of research unit ‘Tools for Architecture’ at the Architectural Association)

Ben Vickers (Chief Technology Officer at the Serpentine Galleries and an initiator of the open-source monastic order unMonastery.)

Katharine Vega (artist and researcher at

Key Questions:

What can virtual realities bring to the design and development of our built environment?

How does the visual experience of virtual worlds trigger other senses?

Can we expect architecture to exist purely within the virtual realm in the near future?

How are the skills of an architect relevant to the design of architecture in virtual reality?

How does a technology such as VR or AR make the shift from “fad” to fact?

What are the real world experiential implications of VR today and in the future?

This event coincided with the Sto Werkstatt exhibition ‘The Glass Chain’, by Space Popular and takes place during London Design Festival.