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Using virtual reality to bring the architecture of Bahrain to Blacksburg

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Category: academics Video duration: Using virtual reality to bring the architecture of Bahrain to Blacksburg
Interior Design professor Eiman Eglewely and an interdisciplinary team of students have created a 3D virtual reality replication of the house of Sheikh Isa, a Middle Eastern structure built in the 1800s. This project has shown students sustainable approaches to cooling and opened their eyes to another part of the world without leaving Blacksburg.

Funding was provided by a faculty-initiated grant through the College of Architecture, Art, and Design in 2022 and a major SEED grant through the Institute for Creativity, Arts, and Technology in 2023.

I visited the house, I fell in love with it. The main thing that really sparked my attention was how really people used to live in that arid climate and that very hot weather without any type of air conditioners or electricity. I was thinking, how can we learn from the past and apply some of these kind of passive systems into our contemporary architecture so that we can maybe reduce the consumption of electricity and energy. We created the 3D virtual environment which allows the students to explore the house, move from one space to another. It's really helps you kind of learn about the project in a different way. Since I never worked with it before, everything is kind of in your head or you look at the floor plans and the sections trying to visualize in your head. But now with VR, you're able to see it in a different way. Personally, I love Islamic architecture. As a Muslim and then ethnically as a Pakstani It's always been something I'm really interested in. Even in like history classes, art history classes, there's really only like two main buildings that they talk about, but there's an entire world of Islamic architecture that hasn't been explored yet. Having the opportunity to learn about other cultures and thinking about this kind of layers of information, I think that is the main goal of what we are doing and trying to involve our students in our research.