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Explorations in Virtual Reality with Kristina Stevens

May 03, 2017

The following article is part of an ongoing series that will follow Associate Kristina Steven’s research of virtual reality software. We will update periodically on her progress.

Kristina Brings her Equipment to the Office


Kristina recently brought her VR equipment into the office and it made quite the impression on our team. Setup in our back printing room, Kristina used four of our current projects as a demonstration of the technology. Those who participated got to virtually walk through their projects and see what their design looks like first hand.

Kristina found this experience as an unexpected learning opportunity for herself as well as an opportunity to share the technology with co-workers:

“I am definitely learning a lot about how to talk to people who can’t (while in the headset) see you and how to explain the hardware they are using. Most importantly, I’m learning how to make them feel comfortable and competent while in this very vulnerable, intense, and usually unfamiliar situation. I’m learning how to prepare someone for their immersion in different types of headsets and setups and how to guide them once inside. This experience is very different depending on the hardware and the software used, but the concepts carry across all products. I am quickly learning that it all depends on the person/client who is about to experience VR and how to best prepare them. For example: I recently began explaining VR to my 99 year old memere (grandmother) and showed her a YouTube video just about my headset to give her an idea of what it is and how someone like her might feel about it, I think it helped her feel more comfortable about the idea of what I’ve been working on!”

The projects that staff members got the opportunity to virtually walk through were Christian Science Center Plaza, Masdar Visitor Center, 100 Federal Street Roof Deck, and the Hijazi Gardens at the Red Sea Astrarium.

The response was resounding excitement and wonder. Below are some candid responses from those who participated.

Chris Bridle, Senior Associate: “A wonderful new, game changing design tool! We and our clients can now effortlessly visit and immerse ourselves in our study models to better inform our end product!”

Dustin Powell, Landscape Designer: “Very cool to be immersed in a project after months of design and modeling. Being able to see how features will feel before they are built made everything feel so real. #coolbeans”

Travis Ewen, Senior Associate: “It is fascinating to think where this tool might lead us as a profession and it is great that we are on the forefront of understanding this technology. We can now experiment and explore how this powerful tool can inform our design process.”

Jarod Kershek, Senior Landscape Architect: “VR has the ability to change the way we think about visualizing our designs and expressing our ideas with one another. I can’t wait to further explore all its possible capabilities!”

Siyu Xiao, Landscape Designer: “VR gives designers the ability to visualize, study, and refine their design ideas in a way like never before. It is very exciting to think of how this new technology can made us even better designers and showcase all our hard work in a fun, interactive ways.”

Masdar Visitor Center

Christian Science Center Plaza

100 Federal Street Roof Deck