Real Virtuality

April 7, 2019 · architecture

Gilles Retsin Architecture combines timber construction with Augmented Reality and Automation at the Royal Academy.

Exploring how Augmented Reality could be used for fabrication, rather than merely visualisation, Gilles Retsin Architecture used Microsoft’s Hololens to assemble modular timber building blocks in real-time. The Hololens overlays a digital model of the envisioned design in the exhibition space, indicating the position of the lego-like blocks and their connections. As the blocks are modular and the design is not fixed, adaptations to the design could be done in real-time.

Each plywood building block consists of a 9mm and 12mm soft plywood sheets that has been CNC-milled in a kit of parts. The elements are then engineered to be able to perform in any structural situation within the installation. In themselves, every element is relatively weak, but the redundant combination of the elements establishes a strong structure. The building blocks are kept together under tension with lateral steel rods placed in specific, repeating connection points between the elements.