Integrating Extended Reality in Architectural…

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Journal Paper: Peer Reviewed

Integrating Extended Reality in Architectural Design Studio
Teaching and Reviews: Implementing a Participatory Action
Research Framework

by Crolla, K.; Song, J.; Bunica, A.; Sheikh, A.T.

ABSTRACT |

In architectural education, the integration of Extended Reality (XR) technologies—including Virtual Reality (VR), Augmented Reality (AR), and Mixed Reality (MR)—promises to revolutionise design studio teaching by offering immersive and interactive learning experiences. However, the broad adoption of XR in architectural education faces significant obstacles. These problems include a skills gap between students and educators, the challenge of establishing suitable simulation and experimental environments for specific educational needs, and the complexities of integrating these technologies into traditional curricula. This research aims to advance the pedagogical understanding of the value XR tools and techniques offer within an architectural design education context that engages students, teachers, and faculty members in a collective exploration of XR technologies. The study specifically focuses on integrating XR into the design studio’s final review stage to enhance reviewer engagement and ensuing student learning outcomes, thereby transforming architectural design studio education. Utilising a Participatory Action Research (PAR) methodology, the study established an XR learning environment and created a collaborative review framework within a Master of Architecture programme. A mixed-methods strategy was employed for data collection to assess the impact of XR applications on design processes, review experiences, and learning outcomes. This strategy included creating digital prototypes of XR applications, followed by user testing to gather both qualitative feedback and quantitative performance data. In the practical implementation section, this article provides information on the applications that were developed for specific educational needs to create simulated and experimental environments. The focus is not only on the design of these applications but also on their ability to allow students to communicate with reviewers and audiences about their design projects. The findings indicate that XR technologies have the potential to enhance students’ engagement by improving visualisation capabilities and bridging the gap between theoretical and practical aspects of architectural design. This study underscores the potential of XR technologies to transform architectural education, suggesting a framework for their integration into design studios. It contributes to the pedagogical discourse by providing insights into effective XR-based teaching methodologies and setting a foundation for future innovations and technology integration into architectural learning.

KEYWORDS | Extended reality integration; Design studio teaching; Architecture education; Augmented reality (AR); Virtual reality (VR)

CITATION | Crolla, K.; Song, J.; Bunica, A.; Sheikh, A.T. Integrating Extended Reality in Architectural Design Studio Teaching and Reviews: Implementing a Participatory Action Research Framework. Buildings 2024, 14, 1865. https://doi.org/10.3390/buildings14061865