Global engineering and consulting firm Arup has announced the launch of Arup ExperienceLab, a unique immersive facility which will change the way designers, clients and stakeholders can experience, test and improve their designs.

Arup ExperienceLab allows groups of designers, clients and stakeholders to step inside and move around virtual representations of their plans, enabling them to understand how their decisions will impact the experience of an environment, space or building before they are implemented. 

Using this new immersive technology creates an environment which allows users to experience complex problems from perspectives which previously weren’t possible, using high quality audio data and an immersive visual experience to give them a new level of insight and help them to adapt and enhance their plans.

Surrounded by 26 speakers and facing a 6m curved screen, users can experience their designs, using stereo headtracked projection which fills your field of view and responds to your movement. It provides a verified experience with accurate depth of field and perspective coupled with a calibrated immersive sound environment of everything from concert hall room acoustics to the sound of traffic.

This kind of collaborative immersive facility is unique to the built environment and other professional services sectors, removing the need for isolating VR headsets and allowing groups to work together in the space and discuss solutions and changes. Groups can test and experience a greater range of holistic scenarios and variables than has previously been possible. This ability for greater collaboration in the design stage, combined with the immersive reality technology, will give project teams the capability to work together towards informed and therefore better decisions.

The facility also has a data visualisation capability which can give a clear indication of how a project will impact a surrounding area, for example through mapping potential changes to vehicle movements. This capability will also allow masterplanners to translate complex environmental data into a visually rich representation, allowing them to test their proposals to reduce noise or air pollution in cities, or to visualise the usage of a space rather than reading complex data analysis.

Ian Knowles, Arup's Director of Acoustic AV and Theatre Consulting, said: “Arup ExperienceLab is a digital facility that can genuinely improve how we design and plan our built environment through human experience."