Deliberations on the Imagined

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  • Title: Deliberations on the Imagined: Exploring the [Virtual] Body in Architecture
  • Author(s): Stephanie Liddicoat
  • Publisher: Common Ground Research Networks
  • Collection: Common Ground Research Networks
  • Series: Design Principles & Practices
  • Journal Title: The International Journal of Architectonic, Spatial, and Environmental Design
  • Keywords: Virtual Reality, Architectural Design, Architectural Representation, Research Methods
  • Volume: 13
  • Issue: 2
  • Year: 2019
  • ISSN: 2325-1662 (Print)
  • ISSN: 2325-1670 (Online)
  • DOI:
  • Citation: Liddicoat, Stephanie. 2019. "Deliberations on the Imagined: Exploring the [Virtual] Body in Architecture." The International Journal of Architectonic, Spatial, and Environmental Design 13 (2): 17-34. doi:10.18848/2325-1662/CGP/v13i02/17-34.
  • Extent: 18 pages


Utilizing immersive virtual reality (VR) environments, this study explored, compared, and contrasted the perceptions of virtual spaces of students enrolled at the University of Melbourne. In particular, the level of immersion and subjective perceptions of spatiality within architectural VR environments were investigated. Participants in the study were invited to experience three architectural environments in VR using HTC Vive equipment. These three environments were each inspired by a Maggie’s Centre, a support centre providing counselling, information, and advice for anyone who has been affected by cancer; the first by architect Frank Gehry, the second by architectural practice OMA, and the third by architect Zaha Hadid. Participants typically spent ten to fifteen minutes exploring each environment and completed a post-VR survey. Findings from the analysis of participant responses are discussed across three broad areas: volume, materials, and other design aspects; deliberations on the imagined; and agency within virtual reality. The article concludes with a discussion on the use of VR as a representational tool for architectural space within architectural practice and research contexts, outlining recommendations for future investigation.