Senior Thesis

Virtual Space | Creating A Digital Sense of Place

by: Jacob Williams



The recent advancements in computer technology in the 21st century have changed the way many designers work in offices today. New computer software has allowed us to actualize works of landscape architecture that could have never been designed in the past using traditional drawing methods. Designers of the built environment have embraced new ideas and forms of virtual representations to present work which has evolved the landscape architecture profession in many ways. The drawing ability of designers is no longer a limit in expressing their imaginations due to new forms of digital art. As one of the most important aspects of design, the ability to successfully convey ideas to clients is now easier than ever. The concept of pure creation is now placed at the finger tips of skilled computer artists who can make any idea come to life. Although the computer is a great tool for designers to use, it should be seen as merely that; a tool. We are now able to imagine endless possibilities for our built world, but now there is a risk of over-saturating the industry with similar works and disrupting the design process. Photo-realistic computer renderings have changed the way designers communicate their ideas, but by presenting works in such a literal form it leaves no room for further growth or imagination. A question that must be answered is: how do we perceive and experience architectural spaces? In order to help our audience truly experience a sense of place for the projects we design there must be a shift to more interactive and dynamic virtual representations. By utilizing new forms of media and technology we can create a virtual sense of place to better communicate and present our designed urban environments. Examining current methods of graphic representation will help us begin to understand how effective our presentations are and where improvements can be made. Existing case studies will be discussed and evaluated on different levels of quality of representation to further refine the ideal form of visualization. Introducing new methods of augmented reality and interactivity will intellectually engage recipients, allowing for a more effective experience of the concepts being presented. The profession of landscape architecture has the opportunity to progress in many ways by questioning current drawing methods and adapting new ones. Furthermore, the exploration of new forms of representation and interaction can then be embraced and applied to create more interactive physical environments within our cities.

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