USA. Virtual reality (VR) is playing a key role in the design of the new Los Angeles International Airport Midfield Satellite Concourse (MSC)-North Gates project. That’s according to lead design firm Corgan. [Note: Moodie Davitt VR is brought to you in association with Mondelez World Travel Retail; see below for details and user instructions.]
The US$1.6 billion concourse and baggage optimisation project, designed as an addition to the Tom Bradley International Terminal (TBIT), will include 12 gates in the first phase of construction and will cover 750,000sq ft on five levels.
Corgan is tasked with creating the new area at LAX, which will house 44,000sq ft of dining and shopping options and 60,000sq ft of airline lounges as well as other guest services and amenities.
The new facility will be connected to TBIT by two 1,000ft-long tunnels – one with moving walkways for passengers and the other for utilities.
On the role of VR, Corgan Principal Brent Kelley tells The Moodie Davitt Report: “The ability to validate our design in virtual reality is remarkable, especially when designing mega projects and conveying scale of space to our clients,”
“We build a unique trust when we can put our clients into an expansive, challenging space and immediately understand if it feels and works the way we intended and they had comprehensively envisioned.”
As a design team, Corgan in association with Gensler, used virtual reality throughout several design stages within the LAX MSC project. Some key design decision decisions including the ramp control tower, end-user sight lines and vertical circulation conveyance of elevators and escalators and the positioning of decision points, were all planned and tested using VR as the key medium.
“It helped us understand how much floor space we wanted in the main core versus open atrium space, with airline clubs being located on the upper floors, we better understood what would be seen when looking down from those elevated spaces,” Kelley added.
“Restroom design was explored in virtual reality. At the groundbreaking of the project, Google Cardboard was given to attendees to help educate the public on the building and see in a 360-degree view what’s to come in the new satellite concourse design.”
According to the design firm virtual reality is a much more efficient, collaborative way to look at design information. “Our clients can spend as little as 30 seconds inside the interactive model and see the amount of information that may have taken 20 drawings to communicate before,” said Kelley.
“They can view design ideas related to exterior and interior and even make decisions related to the materials, signage, colour, lighting – effects of the sun and glass placement – things that simply are not possible in 2D renderings.
“The use of VR reduces the amount of time explaining and allows clients to make important design decisions and provide approvals with confidence.”
The group believes that being at the forefront of virtual reality use in a design environment is critical, driving the transformation of technology as it becomes an expectation in design reviews and presentations, similar to the growth and advancements of renderings and videos.
“Interactive VR models are created and leveraged to break down and understand the experience through various vantage points. We see virtual reality becoming a part of the initial process and presenting the comprehensive design in an interactive manner that allows people to experience the overall concept,” said Kelley
“VR will play a key role going forward, in passenger wayfinding research and what intuitive design elements may be incorporated to improve the travel process and lower stress for a variety of passengers navigating through the terminal.”
“It will also assist in designing operational components of an airport and how the critical functions can be placed to allow easy access by employees but with minimal visibility by passengers, positioned effectively so as not to take away from the overall experience,” Kelley concluded.
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