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Augmented Construction - Impact and opportunity of Mixed Reality integration in Architectural Design Implementation

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Abstract

This paper discusses the integration of Mixed Reality in the design and implementation of non-standard architecture. It deliberates a method that does not require conventional 2D drawings, and the need for skilled labor, by using the aid of holographic instructions. Augmented Construction allow builders to execute complex tasks and to understand structural relations intuitively by overlaying digital design information onto their field of view on the building site. This gives the implementation system authors different levels of control. As a proof of concept, a group of non-professionals reconstructed the south wall of Corbusier’s Ronchamp chapel, the Notre-Dame du Haut, at scale 1:5 using no architectural 2D drawings but only custom-built Augmented Reality apps for HoloLens and mobile devices. This project focused on the assembly of non-standard prefabricated elements, based on an optimized parametric structure that enables designers to integrate imprecision within the construction phases into the design through a constant feedback-loop between the real and the digital. The setup was designed in a non-linear process that allows the integration of new information during the Augmented Construction phases. The paper evaluates applied Augmented Construction for further improvements and research and concludes by discussing the impact potential of Augmented Construction on architectural design, socio-cultural, and economical levels.
TOPIC (ACADIA team will ll in)
23
Augmented Construction
1 Digital Information as overlay
over physical build structure:
holographic instructions tell
the constructor where to place
the next panel, and the app
allows the switching on and off
of different layers
Garvin Goepel
die Angewandte
Impact and opportunity of Mixed Reality integration
in Architectural Design Implementation
1
2
3
INTRODUCTION
Constructing complex geometries successfully “…requires
some sort of construction machine that can efciently
translate the digital description of the shape into a tangible
realization.... Buildings were once materialized draw-
ings, but now increasingly, they are materialized digital
information” (Mitchell 2005). Augmented Construction
allows non-standard architectural design to become more
economical with the help of holographic manufacturing and
assembly of custom-made parts and applications that do
not necessarily require more time than modulated systems
in small scale. Instead of visualizing 3D modeling informa-
tion on a 2D screen, Mixed-Reality (MR) allows you to bring
this information into the real world, in real scale as a digital
overlay on top of real-world environment. Augmented
Construction allows builders to execute complex tasks and
to understand structural relations intuitively by over-
laying digital design information onto their eld of view
on the building site. This gives the implementation system
authors different levels of control. As a proof of concept,
a group of non-professionals reconstructed the south
wall of Corbusier’s Ronchamp chapel, the Notre-Dame du
Haut, at scale 1:5 using no architectural 2D drawings but
only custom-built Augmented Reality apps for AR-glasses
and mobile-devices (Figure 1). This project focused on
the assembly of non-standard prefabricated elements,
based on an optimized parametric structure that enables
designers to integrate imprecision within the construction
phases into the design through a constant feedback-loop
between the real and the digital. The setup was designed
in a non-linear process that allows the integration of new
information during the Augmented Construction phase.
Augmented Construction suggests future abilities to
democratize skill through simple and intuitive holographic
instructions that do not require professional training.
Instead of deskilling human skill through automation
in manufacturing, Augmented Construction enhances
the human capacities to participate in complex building
processes through simplied instructions.
BACKGROUND
The idea of using Augmented digital information for instruc-
tions dates back to the technology’s conception in 1992
(Claudel and Mizell 1992). Since then, Augmented Reality
(AR) became popular through the gaming industry and
social media face. The gaming engine Unity© in combina-
tion with its plugin Vuforia© allows users to build apps for
bringing digital content into physical space by the use of
image or object trackers that are detected and tracked by
the device (mobile phone, tablet, etc.) to orient the holo-
graphic information in space. HoloLens, a head mounted
3 Photograph of construction site,
south-wall Notre-Dame du Haut
4 Photograph of south-wall exte-
rior façade Notre-Dame du Haut
2 2D drawing, south-wall
Notre-Dame du Haut
ABSTRACT
This paper discusses the integration of Mixed Reality in the design and implementation
of non-standard architecture. It deliberates a method that does not require conventional
2D drawings, and the need for skilled labor, by using the aid of holographic instructions.
Augmented Construction allow builders to execute complex tasks and to understand
structural relations intuitively by overlaying digital design information onto their eld of
view on the building site. This gives the implementation system authors different levels of
control. As a proof of concept, a group of non-professionals reconstructed the south wall
of Corbusier’s Ronchamp chapel, the Notre-Dame du Haut, at scale 1:5 using no architec-
tural 2D drawings but only custom-built Augmented Reality apps for HoloLens and mobile
devices. This project focused on the assembly of non-standard prefabricated elements,
based on an optimized parametric structure that enables designers to integrate impre-
cision within the construction phases into the design through a constant feedback-loop
between the real and the digital. The setup was designed in a non-linear process that
allows the integration of new information during the Augmented Construction phases.
The paper evaluates applied Augmented Construction for further improvements and
research and concludes by discussing the impact potential of Augmented Construction
on architectural design, socio-cultural, and economical levels.
4
TOPIC (ACADIA team will ll in)
45
5
display (HMD) from Microsoft©, allows its user to display
holograms by overlaying holographic information onto
their eyes. “HoloLens is the rst untethered Mixed Reality
system. HoloLens includes precise head tracking, gesture
sensing, and depth mapping allowing for accurate 3D
world locking,” which is crucial in Augmented Construction
(Kress, Bernard and Cummings 2017). Building apps
for HoloLens through Unity© with Vuforia© combines
the exact placement in space with the depth mapping of
the surrounding to have the most applicable result for
Augmented Constructions. Software development kits for
mobile platforms like ARCore© and ARKit© have made the
development of AR applications increasingly easy and the
tracking of the holograms in space progressively stable,
making them a relatively cheap alternative to head mounted
displays, however without a depth of view.
Augmented Reality applications have been implemented on
construction site by smart helmets and tablets, primarily
for helping engineers “to make more accurate and more
rapid judgments” for construction review tasks (Ren, Ruan
and Liu 2017). User experiences for AR systems in indus-
trial settings have been well accepted. They have shown
that they have the potential to reduce errors in assembly
and improve the quality of the maintenance work (Aromaa
et al. 2018).
METHOD
Proof of Concept
To have a comparison between a project executed by 2D
drawings and by Augmented Construction, a piece of iconic
architecture was selected to be reconstructed. Using
iconic architecture made it clearer for the team to follow
the setup and compare the structure, built by holographic
instructions, to its archetype, and we could focus more on
the method and the design of the setup. The complexity of
the south wall of Notre-Dame-du-Haute by Le Corbusier,
lies in its convex and concave curvature, the variation in
height, and the different-sized windows which are scat-
tered in an irregular pattern (Figures 2 and 4). In its time,
it was a masterpiece of architectural fabrication. The
south wall was executed using concrete columns that
were connected by a wire mesh that was sprayed with
concrete onto the interior exterior surface of the façade
by means of a cement gun (Pauly 2008, 81-82) (Figure 3).
The reconstruction within the project does not aim for a
replica in materiality of the monolithic and sculptural wall,
but rather uses a cladded light weight mesh to come as
close as possible to the exact shape of the wall, as well as
to the exact location and size of the windows. The choice to
do a reconstruction was to give the observer a well-known
architectural piece, so that the evaluation of the execution
of an Augmented Construction can be validated against a
familiar example, rather than against a personalized design.
Tectonic System
For this Augmented Construction, we looked for a tectonic
system that is exible and adjustable—welcoming an
exceptional tolerance of imprecision without the need of
sophisticated tools—and that could be assembled with
mediocre skills, embracing a high level of improvisation.
For the reconstruction of the south wall in scale 1:5, we
chose to ll the volume of the wall with a three-dimensional
triangulated beam structure clad with tailored panels. This
technique suited the convex and concave curvature of the
wall and the different sizes of the windows and allowed
sufcient anchor points to x the cladding panels.
Digital Design
To nd the optimal discretization of beam length and
position, the setup was parameterized in a digital
design software. Karamba3D© and Octopus© plugins
for Grasshopper© and Rhinoceros© were used to opti-
mize structural characteristics such as utilization and
displacement against low material cost (less beams), and
enough anchor points to x panels to the beams. During the
Augmented Construction phases, this data was updated
through new as-built information onsite. Once the beam
structure was completed, the new information of the
scanned and AR-measured built structure was again
digitized to update the size of the panels. These were opti-
mized to cover the most area possible—without affecting
the curvature of the wall—by nding a minimum of two
possible anchor points on the beam structure (Figure 5).
App Design
The apps were designed in Unity© and used the plugin
Vuforia© to place the digital model in the real world by the
help of an image tracker that is used by the app to locate
the model in space, at the same place in the same scale,
each time you start the app. Each beam in the digital and
holographic model had its length written as a text in its
center. In combination with its color code, it was easy
and fast to nd the right beam (Figure 7 and 8). Also, the
panels were all unique in shape and numbered in the app.
To reduce the information in the digital and holographic
model, layers were used to turn parts of the model and
digital information on and off either by voice command in
the glasses or by buttons in the mobile version (Figure 1).
The apps were updated continuously with the new building
information.
Holographic Fabrication, Prefabrication
and Materialization
427 PVC pipes of 3m length and 16mm diameter were cut in
5 Screenshots from running
optimization of spaceframe
structure
6 Holographic Instructor gives
instructions to the construction
assistants for the placements
of the beams
7 Colored beams show the next
layer to be assembled by holo-
graphic instructions, the white
beams are already build. The
Holographic Instructor, wearing
the HoloLens, gives instructions
to the assistant connecting the
next beam
7
1275 correct sizes for the beam structure. There were two
ways for the cutting: the conventional way of prefabrication
by a list of elements; and cutting by the aid of Augmented
Construction, which means to Augment the beam on site
and to cut it according to the holographic template. Both
methods are useful depending on available tools. The
second method was used by integrating new beam lengths
quickly on site. For the connection, a hole was drilled on
both ends of each pipe. 1400 cable binders (5x250 mm)
were used to x beams to each other in space. A total of
36m2 polystyrol sheets (1000x700x15 mm) were used to
cut out the 348 panels on site by Augmented instructions
and holographic templates. For the connections between
the panels and the beams, 675 PVC clamps for 16 mm pipes
were used, hot-glued on the Polystyrol panels and clamped
onto the pipes.
Assembly Setup, Time
The assembly and fabrication of the elements was done
without the use and need of conventional architectural 2D
drawings, but only by the aid of Augmented Reality (Figure
6, 9-12). For this, the HoloLens was combined with a mobile
device, an Apple© I-PhoneX©, in combination with the
developed apps. A container was built to sort and hold the
beams, which were color coded according to the length
shown in the apps. An A3-sized image tracker was taped
to the ground, xing the position for the digital Augmented
model. The beam structure was nished within 42 hours
with 1 to 4 people and the panelization within 38 hours
by 1 to 4 people.
6
Augmented Construction Goepel
TOPIC (ACADIA team will ll in)
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8
8 Colored beams indicate different length groups, that can be found in
color-tagged wooden containers in the background for quick selection
9 Assembly of beams based on holographic instruction from mobile-app
Feedback Loop
During the Augmented Construction phases, uncertain-
ties and imprecisions occurred mostly by the connection
between the beams by cable binder. To integrate this
impression and to have a constant exchange between
the digital and real model, the physical model was remea-
sured through the app AR-Measure© by Apple© and
through 3D scans during the construction phases. To
adjust information, the updated digital model was rebuilt
into the app. Thus, updated holographic instructions were
available right away. The hologram instantly shows you
when you deviate, allowing easy identication of spots
that do not match with the 3D. Thus, in what Crolla calls
a Post-Digital architectural context, “…the case is made
for the use of more democratic epistemic models and more
intelligent structures of approximation than (common)
deterministic approaches in digital design would allow
for” (Crolla 2017, 1-2).
RESULTS AND REFLECTION
Final Built Outcome
The spaceframe structure had a deviation of about 6%
in total length, 2% in width and 4% in height from the 3D.
The percentage of deviation constantly increased and
decreased by the integration of imprecision. The panels,
that were tailored for the built spaceframe had an addi-
tional overlay of 4 cm, allowing it to respond to slight
changes of angles of the beams that resulted in a rotation
of the local panels depending on the position and number of
possible connections to the beam.
Cause of Error
The beam connections were the main driver for observed
imprecision. The holes drilled into the beams were of slight
difference to the planned position and the overlap of the
beams was not digitally integrated. Up to three connec-
tions were manageable, but as soon as eight beams hit one
connecting point assembly became difcult. For a perfect
solution, a 3D printed connection was tried, but it was
deemed not economically suitable. The integration of the
imprecision was much easier, cheaper, and faster than
the execution of precision by a “perfect” system. Allowing
the system to be imprecise was also a main driver for the
overall concept of this project.
Hierarchy on Site / Number of Devices
The project was executed with one HoloLens and one mobile
device only. Hence, the hierarchy on construction site was
clearly dened, as the person wearing the HoloLens or
using the mobile device was automatically the instructor
to the others, as he/she was the only one having an overlay
of holographic information. This slowed down the process
and led to errors in communication since the assistants
had no knowledge of information and had to rely on verbal
instructions. To have more HoloLenses on construction
site would be a great advantage and, at the same time,
would present a challenge in managing multiple devices
at the same project. The setup has to be designed so that
the work eld is clearly divided, or so that the holographic
information is constantly updated corresponding to the
construction partners wearing the same device.
Digital Setup
The holographic setup could be improved as well. Built
parts could be blended out digitally after having been
constructed physically and parts of assembly could be
highlighted to improve the workow. One issue faced onsite
was that people needed verbal instructions on how the
apps work. Making the instructions clearer by displaying
them inside the app as a digital/holographic manual would
make the app more accessible to people without the need
of verbal instruction from the author.
Surrounding
The project was partly executed in an outside area as
a public event. While space and a free eld is great for
holographic displays, sunlight is unpractical as it easily
outshines the hologram. Improvised shadowing construc-
tions had to be built, like hats or paravents, to prevent the
sun from interfering with the holograms. Hence, ideal sites
for Augmented Construction would be large indoor halls
with controlled lighting.
App Design vs. Live Streaming
At the time of the project execution, there was no access to
the recently developed software Fologram©. This software
makes it easy to concentrate on the setup, as it requires no
coding or app development and allows geometry, text, and
selection data from the Rhino and Grasshopper document
to be live streamed to the HoloLens (Jahn et al. 2018). There
is no need to update the app with new information, which
makes for an even workow between the digital model and
the holographic display. The only disadvantage, however, is
the need for a Wi-Fi connection and a computer from which
to stream rather than only the HoloLens or a mobile device
with a built-in app.
Feedback and Live Tracking
The feedback loop that was used during the project was
based on 3D scanning and AR measuring. The HoloLens
10 Holographic Instructor gives instructions to the construction assistants for the placements of the panels
Augmented Construction Goepel
3D scanning by itself does not differentiate its surround-
ings between the environment and the project. It would
have been benecial to have had a direct feedback
between physical build elements, the digital model, and
the holographic display. Fologram© allows for this direct
feedback—by tracking and tracing markers position with
HoloLens—to have a live display of physical built elements
in 3D by digitalizing the marker positions and rebuilding the
elements based on the location of tracked points.
Further Applications for Augmented Construction
“A strong dichotomy exists between the increased archi-
tectural design agency offered by digital tools today and
the affordances given by many construction contexts,
especially building environments in developing countries
with limited available means” (Crolla 2017). As demon-
strated by the project above, Augmented Construction
enables a broader public without architectural knowledge
to participate in the act of building through holographic
instructions. “…[O]nsite affordances can be increased in
parallel with the expanding virtual design solution space”
(Crolla 2017). Using computational design tools and making
them accessible through Augmented Reality applications
has the potential to increase limited affordances on site for
complex solution spaces.
Architectural Design
Augmented Construction allowed for the construction
of a customized spaceframe and panelization that would
have been extremely challenging with conventional 2D
10
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TOPIC (ACADIA team will ll in)
89
plans. Even to construct the piece with a 3D model next
to the construction site on a screen would be very time
consuming and complicated. This paper claims that it would
not have been possible to construct the same piece of
architecture in the same time frame under different condi-
tions than by Augmented Construction.
CONCLUSION
The project has shown that it was possible to construct
a complex spaceframe structure with a tailored cladding
without the need of 2D drawings, but only with the aid of
holographic instructions in a Mixed Reality environment.
Augmented Construction allows an architectural design
process during the construction phases through a constant
feedback loop between the digital and the built. It enables
a broader public to participate in building by encouraging
untrained labor force with intuitive holographic instruc-
tions. Augmented Construction is economical as it is low
in cost; and it uses humans, rather than machines, to
execute complex digital information. It enhances custom-
ized design and complex geometrical arrangements as it
is comprehensible on a building site through holographic
instructions and displays. Augmented Construction
simplies digital complexity in physical fabrication and
construction and, therefore, has the potential to change
the way we will design and construct our future spaces.
ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
This project was the author's Master Thesis titled “AUGSTRUCTION,
Construction Under the Aid of Augmented Reality," completed
in summer 2018 at die Angewandte, Institute of Architecture
(University of Applied Arts) in Vienna under the supervision of Prof.
Greg Lynn and with the assistance of Maja Ozvaldic, Bence Pap and
Dominik Strzelec. A big thanks also to all volunteers who partici-
pated, especially to Danielle Fertin and Dieter Fellner.
REFERENCES
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post-digital architecture practice.” PhD diss., RMIT University.
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IMAGE CREDITS
Figure 2: The Chapel at Ronchamp drawing © Le Corbusier;
from Le Corbusier, Princeton Architectural Press, 1999
Figure 3: Ronchamp: Lecture d’une architecture
© Daniele Pauly, Strasbourg, 1980
Figure 4: © Wayne Andrews, Estate of Wayne Andrews,
New York: Artists Rights Society, 2009
Figures 1, 6, 10-12: © Dieter Fellner, 2018
All other drawings and images by the author
Garvin Goepel is a designer and researcher, specializing in the
eld of combining augmented-reality with generative architec-
ture. He studied architecture and received his degree Master
of Architecture with distinction from the University of Applied
Arts, Studio Greg Lynn in June 2018, where he had an assistant
position in digital fabrication. He gained his professional experi-
ence working with Coop Himmelb(l)au in Vienna, after completing
his Bachelor of Science at the University of Liechtenstein. He is
currently researching at the Chinese University of Hong Kong,
focusing on bending-active bamboo grid shells and their construc-
tion with the aid of holographic instructions.
12 Comparing the physical build structure to holographic overlay and checking panel position for lling out mesh11 Holographic selection of next panel to be assembled
Augmented Construction Goepel
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Augmented reality (AR) technologies start to be mature enough to be used in industrial work settings. However, human factors and ergonomics (HFE) and safety issues have not been considered thoroughly yet. The purpose of this study was to identify what kind of postures users adopt when using a tablet based AR system during a maintenance task. In addition, safety, user experience and user acceptance were studied. Results indicate that the participants adopted varying kind of working postures with the AR system, but none of the postures were severe for the well-being. User experience was positive and user acceptance on a good level. The participants saw some safety concerns related to using the AR system but were mainly concerned if the tablet could be used in the harsh maintenance environments. The findings of this study can be used to improve HFE and safety of AR systems in industrial settings.
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HoloLens by Microsoft Corp. is the world’s first untethered Mixed Reality (MR) Head Mounted Display (HMD) system, released to developers in March 2016 as a Development Kit. We review in this paper the various display requirements and subsequent optical hardware choices we made for HoloLens. Its main achievements go along performance and comfort for the user: it is the first fully untethered MR headset, with the highest angular resolution and the industry’s largest eyebox. It has the first inside-out global sensor fusion system including precise head tracking and 3D mapping all controlled by a fully custom on-board GPU. Based on such achievements, HoloLens came out as the most advanced MR system today. Additional features may be implemented in next generations MR headsets, leading to the ultimate experience for the user, and securing the upcoming fabulous AR/MR market predicted by most analysts.
Article
Buildings were once materialized drawings, but now, increasingly, they are materialized digital information - designed and documented on computer-aided design systems, fabricated with digitally controlled machinery, and assembled on site with the assistance of digital positioning and placement equipment. Within the framework of digitally mediated design and construction we can precisely quantify the design content and the construction content of a project, and go on to define complexity as the ratio of added design content to added construction content. This paper develops the definitions of design content, construction content, and complexity, and explores the formal, functional, and economic consequences of varying the levels of complexity of projects. It argues that the emerging architecture of the digital era is characterized by high levels of complexity, and that this enables more sensitive and inflected response to the exigencies of site, program, and expressive intention than was generally possible within the framework of industrial modernism.
Building simplexity: The 'more or less' of post-digital architecture practice
  • Kristof Crolla
Crolla, Kristof. 2018. "Building simplexity: The 'more or less' of post-digital architecture practice." PhD diss., RMIT University.
Architecture in an Age of Augmented Reality: Applications and Practices for Mobile Intelligence BIM-based AR in the Entire Lifecycle
  • Jiang Ren
  • Yingying Liu
  • Zhicheng Ruan
Ren, Jiang, Yingying Liu and Zhicheng Ruan. 2016. "Architecture in an Age of Augmented Reality: Applications and Practices for Mobile Intelligence BIM-based AR in the Entire Lifecycle." In International Conference on Electronic Information Technology and Intellectualization 2016, 664-665.