City with nearly 500.000 population, awarded for the best building design by the World Architecture Festival, Mies van der Rohe Award and European Prize for the best public space. 200 ha space of the city center hosting the biggest architecture contest in this part of Europe. Over 240 architecture companies competing for the main prize. To promote this incredible venture the city council required the inhabitants to take part in the design process and understand the architectural challenges in the planned space.
The architectural vision of our contest spans across next 20-30 years in the industrial part of the city not-so-well-known to the everyday commuters. We were looking for a solution to help them visualise this large and varied space in the best way possible.
— Artur Ratuszynski, Contest Spokesperson
Lastadia Island was not accessible to everyday commuters for decades. The big challenge was to help inhabitants envision this space in the next 20 – 30 years.
The Toy (blocks) Story
Initially we considered physical model but it was too time-consuming and static. Then we went on to ideas from London and Riga placing the toy blocks on the printed 2d map. Each colour of the block symbolised different function of the building.
— Artur Ratuszynski, Contest Spokesperson
It’s hard to imagine and capture the experience of how the street would look like from the human scale perspective using traditional tools. On the other hand giving the regular guests the option to use advanced software for city planning would be useless – they don’t have the knowledge to use it and the building process would take too much time. Artur required something more immersive and simple for the regular commuters to use.
Hyperdome is lightweight, can be set up in 2 days and hosts spherical projection hardware and software inside.
Just few months before meeting Artur we have teamed up with the Architizer A+ laureate Freedomes to work together on the interactive projection dome called Hyperdome. Their domes were part of the Ridley Scott’s Martian movie and are incredibly characteristic, always pointing on to something interesting in the local cityscape. The unit was already capable of projecting spherical movies inside.
“Our goal was to develop easy-to-use interactive unit that would visualise the space built by the guests.
— Jan Filipowiak, CEO Pixel Legend
We have equipped Hyperdome with our Virtualist app based on the Unreal Engine to visualise any architecture file supplied in 3d. The extra take-away is that every finished scene can be saved in the cloud and then viewed on the mobile device.
Figuring out how to incorporate the toy blocks and the fun of assembling was necessary to complete our quest. We have developed a special kind of table with a scanning camera. It reads the height, the colour of the blocks and their position on the table map and transforms it in realtime into beautiful 3D buildings growing on the spherical visualisation around the audience. It’s happening in real time and provides the quality necessary for the human scale walk.
Scanning and imaging the blocks in the virtual scene took hours of preparations
We also had to scan the historic, industrial infrastructure with the drone technology and place it on the virtual scene. The task was carried out by the Academy of Flying led by Jakub Śledziowski who himself spent hours on the Island bravely scanning and flying were no man has flown before.
Historic buildings were scanned and placed in the virtual scene. The iconic shipyard cranes were recreated by the studio modellers as well as the future bridge over the Odra river. White space marked the plots to place the buildings.
“Hyperdome attracted attention in the very entrance to the island, between two main arteries to the city center.
— Artur Ratuszynski, Contest Spokesman
Hyperdome was active on the Lastadia Island for 3.5 months. It was visited by over 5000 guests who saved 150 scenes in the cloud using the Virtualist app. The record day was on 9th of july when 313 commuters took part in the simulation. It was wildly popular among the young guests, it hosted a hackathon and official signing of the agreement between the City Council and SARP (The Association of Polish Architects). While younger guests tried to build massive blocks, more adult audience concentrated on the function of the buildings and discussed in groups on how the industrial areas should blend with commerce, cultural and residential zones on the island. Their preferences were saved in the cloud and are now analysed by the city officials and compared to the professional contest results.
Hyperdome was also featured in numerous local, nationwide and german media.
The experience is available at request for demo in our VR space.
One very special result really means a lot to us. We have managed to score the award of the President and the City Council of Szczecin for the innovative services in the commercial category. How cool is that?