Virtual Reality tour gives sneak preview of new Institute of Technology

30th May 2019

Architecture, interior and product design students have used cutting-edge technology to create a virtual reality (VR) tour of a new building

In April, the Government announced that Barking & Dagenham College is one of just 12 colleges and universities nationally to have secured Government funding to open an Institute of Technology (IoT).

The IoT will open this autumn and will train people in a wide range of modern curriculum areas including: Construction and Infrastructure, Engineering and Robotics; Data and Big Data; and TV and Film Production.

‘Construction Fit Out’ specialists ISG are carrying out the internal refurbishment and redesign of existing facilities. The company is one of the pioneers in using VR in architecture and Interior design projects and so the College asked for their help in a creating a live brief for the students which would involve them creating a virtual reality tour of the yet-to-be-completed IoT.

The idea is that the project would give people a sneak preview of what the interior may look like.

Their lecturer Bella Parenti explains: “We do a lot of work with local employers and embed live briefs into the curriculum.

“On this occasion, as VR in Architecture and Interior design is still in its infancy in the industry, we asked ISG to act as our client for the students’ final major project. ISG use this cutting-edge technology and software in their company.

We are a forward thinking department and know that it is only a matter of time before other design industries will use this technology; therefore we took the initiative to embed it into this project. We visited ISG’s offices so that the students could see the visual communication teams’ work.

“One very useful thing that the students took from the visit was the useful plugin software they utilise to turn 3D computer modelling into VR.”

The students took a room each and developed their own designs using 3D computer modelling, to make this look realistic as possible, they used materials, light and various rendering tools (rendering is software that creates realistic photographic images of interiors).

Each student sent digital files of their room to the lead student acting as project manager (Ismail Naim) to assemble into the 3D floorplan Template. They created a complete walk through of the 1st floor of the building in VR using the plugin utilised by ISG.

The students put their own designs and twists on the building, using it to simulate a live brief.

The final video was played on VR headsets to some of the College’s managers and Dominic Camilleri, Divisional Director - Agility, ISG with carefully selected soundtracks to create a complete immersive experience of the walk through of the IoT.

Mr Camilleri commented: “It was a pleasure to be invited to the students’ demonstration last week and experience the 3D Virtual Reality tour and their presentation to a live audience, in which they expressed themselves eloquently. Working with our visualisation/modelling team’s within ISG I am well aware of the considerable effort, time and skill involved, often taking weeks of work and teams of resources to complete. To see what these wonderful students have achieved with limited time and resource available to them is a true testament to their abilities and the teaching staff at Barking & Dagenham College.

At the beginning of May 2019, ISG invited the students to visit our offices and see Simon Spink and his team working on a live projects; I was extremely impressed with how these students had taken away the knowledge and advice given to them by Simon and seen it implemented into their work.

Their project will provide the students with a great insight into the ever changing demands of the construction industry and how this has diversified from the traditional “Builders” image, thus providing exciting new technical career opportunities which they have the potential to be involved with and influencers in.”

Members of the public can take the virtual tour themselves by attending the College’s next Open Day, 4pm-7pm Thursday 20 June, Rush Green Campus, Dagenham Road, Romford RM7 0XU.

You can view the video created by the students, Ismail Naim, Lorenza Haddow, Ricerdas Plunge and Ope Abiodunarpara here:

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