On the Latest Representation Trends and Immersive Experiences in Virtual Design Platforms: SpaceForm x CRA

The proposal of CRA-Carlo Ratti Associati to develop sustainable solutions for urban heating networks was chosen as one of the four winners of this global Helsinki Energy Challenge. Hot Heart, a project that proposed floating seawater reservoirs in an island-like setting to heat Helsinki in a sustainable way, was selected as one of the four winners of the global Helsinki Energy Challenge. Twinmotion, Epic Games’ real time visualization platform for architecture industry, was used to design the intervention. A digital representation tool was needed to put scale into perspective, engage clients, and show instant changes in natural factors like daylight. SpaceForm is a data-driven virtual design and presentation tool. The technology was created to allow remote collaboration and allows clients or other stakeholders to immerse themselves in the story of the design.

SpaceForm, a smart platform, is helping teams and remote projects to work together in a more productive way. It allows them to create compelling 3D presentations using Sketchup, Revit, Rhino 3D or Revit. This tool makes it possible to conduct real-time design reviews, as well as discussions about sustainability, costs, materials, and performance. CRA used the platform during the initial design phases for the Hot Heart project. This is the largest infrastructural facility that has ever been built.

Hot Heart Axo. Image © CRA-Carlo Ratti Associati
Hot Heart Axo. Image © CRA-Carlo Ratti Associati
Hot Heart -The plan. Image © CRA-Carlo Ratti Associati
Hot Heart -The plan. Image © CRA-Carlo Ratti Associati

We had the opportunity to meet SpaceForm’s design team and CRA-Carlo Ratti Associati’s Hot Heart project team, as well as the collaborative presentation platform. Continue reading to learn more about the new representation system, its future, and the impact it has on architecture. Also, watch the demo at the end to experience the immersive experience of floating seawater reservoirs.

AD: Tell us more about this new method of representation. What is it that makes it different from other platforms?

SpaceForm is a revolutionary way to present your ideas to a group of people in real time. This feature has never been offered before in the built environment. To achieve a similar result, you will need to hack into one of the existing platforms or build your own.

Hot Heart . Image © CRA-Carlo Ratti Associati

AD. What are the key factors of the Hot Heart Project that only this website can highlight and portray?

SpaceForm allows you to control the narrative in a presentation. You can explain the concepts behind the project as well as tour the space together and explore the interactive movement. Hot Heart’s design is heavily influenced by nature. The platform’s ability to show the atmosphere at different times and weather conditions helps us communicate our main design concepts.

Hot Heart . Image © CRA-Carlo Ratti Associati

AD: Which are the most important projects that have used this technology for immersive experiences?

There are many activities that are under NDA. Our most recent project is the Korean Football Association project with UNStudio. It was created in Amsterdam and then presented to the client in South Korea via SpaceForm.

Hot Heart . Image © CRA-Carlo Ratti Associati

AD: What do you see as the future of SpaceForm? how it will affect representation and general future trends. How important is it for the future architecture?

The platform should expand our understanding of design visualization. This will allow everyone to see and feel the impact of design decisions on the experience. It will also make it easier and quicker to produce better results. It’s not just about the next iteration in visualization. We believe it takes the same thinking to create a physical model. There is something visceral and tangible about seeing a design in an immersive environment. In the future 3D internet, architects will be the human interpreters for design. It is possible to bring together design and data, making it easier for us to push the net-zero agenda. SpaceForm and other platforms can be used to bridge the digital and physical worlds. This is where we are headed, whether you like it or not.

Hot Heart is an international collaboration to the Helsinki Energy Challenge, created by the teams below.

  • CRA-Carlo Ratti Associati Design/ CRA team: Carlo Ratti (Design), James Schrader(Project Manager), Alberto Benetti (Project Manager), Federica Busani and Rui Guan. Juan Carlos Romero and Chenyu Xu are also represented by CRA. Renderings by CRA graphics team: Gary di Silvio. Pasquale Milieri. Gianluca Zimbardi
  • Ramboll (General Engineering) – Mika Kovanen, Kreetta Manninen
  • Transsolar (Climate Engineering) – Monika Schulz, Thomas Auer
  • Danfoss Leanheat (Demand Management Engineer) – Oddgeir Gudmundsson. Jukka Aho. Juho Nermes. Lauri Leppa. Nico Klecka.
  • Jani Vahvanen, Schneider Electric (Technology Partner to Sustainability and Energy Efficiency).
  • OP Financial Group (Financial Analysis)
  • schlaich bergermann partner (Lightweight Structural Engineering) – Mike Schlaich, Boris Reyher
  • Squint/Opera (Communications Partner)
Hot Heart plan . Image © CRA-Carlo Ratti Associati
Hot Heart plan . Image © CRA-Carlo Ratti Associati
Map of Helsinki . Image © CRA-Carlo Ratti Associati
Map of Helsinki . Image © CRA-Carlo Ratti Associati
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