Explore the role of architecture in a mixed reality world and imagine Wakodao metro station in Beijing
The project deals with the renovation of Wudaokou light rail Station, Beijing; which is currently elevated tracks. With the increasing population and evolving technology five years down the line, Beijing would be one of the metropolitan city which makes public transportation very important. Hence the proposed design for the station should respond to the population now and in the future.
Through online source and another reference, I conducted research to understand site and context
The ability to see what the users are seeing can bring another perspective to understanding how a design is performing. Tobii Eye-tracking methods and software have allowed designers to test and analyze the design with the user’s perspective. Eye-tracking helped me to analyze the accurate medium of sign-age and extract data to see that attracts the eye most strongly. I used Eye-tracking on existing sites to understand the current situation and how the users respond to wayfinding.
" People focus on
" People following the
the crowd for navigation"
Taking insights from the eye-tracking and initial research, I began to develop initial ideas and spatial planning. The core idea at this stage was to clear the spatial navigation for the program and start modulating the existing structure based on the program.
The existing station had 2 levels with elevated tracks on the second level. I decided to add one more perforated level for the lounge and other leisure activities. The transit hub is imagined to be beyond just transit.
architecture + mixed reality
How would Wakodao metro station look like
10 years from now?
This is a three-tier transit hub with an interactive public retail and lounge space, the transit level and the on-ground travel shelter. The area is of commercial nature and the users will be everyday travelers like employees and students.
Mixed reality is a hybrid of the real and virtual worlds. Here, the digital and real elements coexist and interact in an environment that is rendered in real-time for the user. The hybrid provides new opportunities for both architects and architecture. This has implications in both the design process and the final design product.
level two /
level three /
level one /
The celebration of arriving and departing has been the key attributes for the design of stations, hence
developing an adaptive parametric system that creates open, light, and welcoming interiors for each entrance/ exit nodes for the station. The idea of transparency is to be translated by creating the shell that allows seamless circulation in the space. The use of curves through the roof to being similar to the high-speed movement of the trains and helping to decrease the amount of load by reticence the column and make the public concourse clear. The visual connection was also a key concern. The station has clear sightlines, with walking routes to stairs and train gates easily visible.
Waokodua Cafe - Ground level
Waokodua bus station - Ground level
The primary access to the shell is at the corner of each side which allows the easiest access from the street to the station. The strategic placement of exits and entries, cut-outs on the floors were done so as to minimize clogging. The mass motion agent attention gaze map revealed that the vertical plane was the best for signages. However, we know that in perspective, when the user walks in the space, under travel stress the vertical plane is constantly changing. The key question was how could the wayfinding be such that it is always perpendicular to the user’s vision.
Mass-motion analysis delivered significant observations. In the existing scenario, the entrances/exit nodes to the station are under the bridge. The first iteration of the design using mass motion was with the existing scenario. In the project, one of the key factors was the entrance nodes. The shell was intended to be a series of nodes that allow multiple access to the building connected by a series of vertical circulation arteries.
Waokodua bus station -
Illustrates platform level transit showing density movement map and access nodes to the station.
In this iteration, the four primary vertical access nodes are on each end of the building.
Due to the curves, people are drawn to follow both sides of the path.
Eye-tracking helped me to analyze the accurate medium of sign-age and extract data to see that attracts the eye most strongly. The idea was to develop sign-age series that would draw users from street level to station level. The neutral grey and white tones of the building allowed luminous virtual sign-age, informational panels, and advertisements to stand out and create easy wayfinding. The results were equivalent to the ones I anticipated. The process involved taking screenshots of the projects which were viewed by several participants for 7 seconds with results into cumulative data of heat map and gaze points.
The above image shows final eye-tracking results, I modified the design by creating a balance between the transparent and opaque structure in the building. Hence,now it traces points where the users have gazed and in that sequence. The size corresponds to the amount of time the stare lasted. The purple circle shows the reflection of luminous sign-age on entrance/exit nodes. The center with maximum circles indicated the ticket counter between entrance nodes.
The emphasis of the discussion was on the mixed reality wayfinding system. The architecture was able to take an active and passive role in wayfinding. It was discussed that decreased visual signage and adding audio signage could clear the visual plane and be more efficient. Research into the effect of parameters like color and speed of visibility could be the future direction.
WHAT I LEARNED
UX for spatial design: The conclusion that can be drawn from this research studio is that the future is a collaboration of architecture and technology where software is more cooperative to design and user integration. This design process was to create a holistic balance between efficiency and design that needs to be determined during the developing stage of design. This wayfinding methods, 2d-3d eye-tracking, unreal and Mass Motion helped to develop the redesign based on the user’s perspective.
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