The VR Centre for the Built Environment, a winner of an Office of Science & Technology Foresight Challenge Award, was established in June 1997 at University College London and Imperial College London. This is an interdisciplinary initiative involving the Bartlett, Centre for Advanced Spatial Analysis, Centre for Transport Studies and the Departments of Computer Science, Geography and Geomatic Engineering at UCL and IC-Parc at Imperial College along with a consortium of 16 industrial partners. It aims to research, develop and disseminate ways of designing, producing and operating buildings and urban areas using virtual reality techniques.
The VR Centre's role is to bring the full range of computer graphics, interaction and digital data to the virtual building that currently drives the design-development-operation cycle. Information, analysis and simulations are being synthesised to allow design teams and their clients to predict the performance of proposals at both the urban and building scale. Virtual models are being developed to capture information on performance during the operational life of the building so that this can be fed back into future projects.
The Centre is focusing on three key generic technologies:
Technologies to help clients and end users understand the consequences of decisions;
Technologies to allow better visualisation and interaction with design proposals;
Technologies to capture information about the operation of the built environment and to feed that information back into the design, construction and operation process.