Using Virtual Environments to Test the Effects of Lifelike Architecture on People

  • Mohamad Nadim Adi
  • David J. Roberts
Part of the Studies in Computational Intelligence book series (SCI, volume 536)


While traditionally associated with stability, sturdiness and anchoring, architecture is more than a container protecting from the elements. It is a place that influences state of mind and productivity of those within it. On the doorstep of adaptive architecture that exhibits life like qualities, we use virtual reality to investigate if it might be a pleasant and productive place to be; without incurring the expense of building. Thus this work has a methodological contribution of investigating the use of aspects of virtual reality to answer this question and the substantive contribution of providing initial answers. It is motivated by juxtaposing (1) responsive architecture (2) simulation in architectural design (3) adaptive computer mediated environments, and (4) use of VR to study user responses to both architecture and interactive scenarios. We define lifelike architecture as that which gives the appearance of being alive through movement and potentially responds to occupants. Our hypothesis is that a life like building could aid the state of consciousness known as flow by providing stimuli that removes the feeling of being alone while not being overly distracting. However our concern is that it might fail to do this because of appearing uncanny. To test this we hypothesise that occupying a simulation of a life like building will measurably improve task performance, feelings of wellbeing, and willingness to return. Our four experiments investigate if people feel more at ease and concentrate better on task and others when the walls around them appear to organically move, are happy for the walls to help them, and prefer to come back to a building that reacts to them.


Architectural design Construction Experiment methods Simulation and behavior Social virtual environments 


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© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of AlbertaEdmontonCanada
  2. 2.University of SalfordManchesterUK

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