At the intersections of light, space and interaction :: art, design and architecture

Antony Pelosi & Oliver Blair

Antony Pelosi is a spatial design lecturer at Massey University Wellington and currently a PhD candidate at SIAL (Spatial Information Architecture Lab) RMIT, Melbourne. Antony’s research focuses on digital space and drawing relationships between architectural documentation and computer game software engines.
Oliver Blair is creative director of Fractal Design, a design studio providing new solutions through practice lead design research. Furthermore, he is currently studying Spatial Design at Massey University in Wellington.

This project Space Trace: Navigating digital space explores innovative methods of navigation for experiencing 3D digital space. Current CAD software primarily provide methods of navigation to aid in the creation of 3D digital models based around modal tools for example; pan, zoom, orbit, etc. These tools can make navigation extremely infuriating, confusing and disorientating in the experience of complex digital spatial models. A user who is only viewing a model (not creating or editing) can easily become disoriented and lost within a digital building environment when only allowed to use standard model navigation tools. The model elements are non-solid representations of real-world building components that can be passed through by the viewer, contributing to disorientation and a loss of sense of scale. The project explores a range of navigation and orientation systems to enable efficient spatial comprehension via more usable humanistic methods of navigation. Commercial computer game engines enable a first person (and third person) view that provide a consistently scaled view of a digital space that is navigated by walking or flying. This mode of navigation provides the viewer a stronger understanding of scale and relationships within a proposed building than standard modal navigation tools. It is possible however to become stuck in corners if one attempts to move through solid geometry.

By drawing on concepts of computer gaming, spatial way finding and orienteering, this project demonstrates intuitive navigation systems. By providing trails of light and colour to predefined spaces and enabling the user to leave breadcrumbs in real-time to aided in navigation and spatial recognition. These systems enable the technology to “get out of the way”, freeing the user/audience/inhabitant to engage and experience the digital space much more profoundly.