Visualizing Home: Design of Virtual Reality Manual for Assembly of Algorithmic Micro-Housing

Preston Pape, “Visualizing Home: Design of Virtual Reality Manual for Assembly of Algorithmic Micro-Housing”
Mentor: Gabriela Bustos, Architecture

Virtual reality is at the forefront of shaping visualization within the field of architecture. Using virtual reality as a means of communication, we are developing an interactive manual for the assembly of a micro house designed algorithmically. Intended for individuals affected by homelessness and manmade/natural disasters, the structure focuses on economics and sustainability by employing recycled plastic foam material. The micro house proper, through geographic and climatic parameters, is adapted to the specific climate in which it will be deployed; consequently, complexity is introduced. Therefore, it is vital that the recipient can simply and rapidly erect the structure. This interactive manual will be developed following an iterative visual process until the desired result is obtained. Functionally, this iterative system allows for 3-dimensional models to be advanced and easily imported into the Unity development platform. Unity allows for the product to be exported with ease to economic cardboard virtual reality viewers to be distributed to recipients. The end result will allow everyday people to understand how this complex kit of parts comes together. Similar to IKEA construction manuals, the visualization transcends language barriers by relying on image-based animation. Requiring zero knowledge of architecture or construction, the interactive tutorial democratizes shelter. Completed, this project will tackle the issue of homelessness and reduce the span in which individuals are without basic shelter following disaster events.


  1. This project is interesting. I think the presentation needs more elaboration. I do not see the connection between the shape of a hurricane and a micro house. It’s hard to appreciate a VR project as a static PowerPoint presentation. This seems like an idea for a project with most of the actual work ahead. I hope you will proceed.

  2. I think the potential of a VR learning environment, or an AR learning environment – perhaps where the learner can follow along with movements and materials – has amazing potential. The implications are amazing, from physical therapy or sports to sign language and the arts. That said, I think the test case is a bit complex on the learner’s side (even if the architecture build makes the most sense for you as a designer), and I wish we would have seen a fly through video. There is so much potential here!

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