Grasser, Alexander; Parger, Alexandra; Hirschberg, Urs
This project presents a Realtime Architecture Platform applied in a telepresence design studio to design and construct the CollabWood prototype. The platform, developed by the authors, enables an open workflow to collaborate and design in unity. It provides a persistent online environment for real-time architectural production. The work method is based on the concept of collaborative objects and distributed designers. These collaborative objects are the shared content: discrete parts, prefabs, or blocks that enable interaction, communication, and collaboration between its users and owners. The distributed designers can contribute by instantiating these collaborative objects. Users placing an object react to the local neighboring conditions and therefore add their embodied design decision to the global architecture. The users get immersed in digital proximity by communicating through the integrated chat or digital calls, discussing strategies, debating design intentions, analyzing the built structure, and scanning for improvements. This pervasive collaboration lays the foundation for a democratization of the design process. As a proof of concept, this method was implemented with 20 students in a telepresence design studio. The participants embraced the real-time workflow and applied the collaborative tool throughout the semester from different locations and time zones. Using the platform to design the CollabWood prototype in real-time collaboratively was realized as a 1:1 project with local, accessible material and AR technology for assembly. The global pandemic accelerated the importance of collaboration. Realtime Architecture Platform’s response of providing an accessible common platform for real-time interaction, design, and collaboration can be regarded as a first step towards how we might work together in the future.