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VR is critical tool for Stockholm redevelopment

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The €1.2bn project to reconstruct one of the most historically important parts of Stockholm city centre to a masterplan by Foster + Partners is thought to be the first in the world to record all its design information digitally, using no paper documents.

VR was utilised throughout the Slussen lock project to communicate project information to different stakeholders in a more intuitive and easily accessible way.

Johan Stribeck, area business manager at project manager Tikab, told BIM+: “We have streamlined the process to export any kind of project model, whether Revit, Tekla or others, into Unity in about half a day.

“VR is a core tool in the design phase, it doesn’t replace anything else, we still use Navisworks for clash control, Revit for collaboration, but this addition gives a lot of value and doesn’t cost very much.”

The chief of Greater Stockholm’s Fire Department donned a pair of VR goggles to navigate the 1:1 scale model and examine access routes for emergency services, and get a clearer picture of plant, stairway clearances, ladders and steel ceiling heights.

According to Stribeck, had this meeting been carried out traditionally using 2D floor plans and sections, the views would have been less easy to understand, and the design would have had to be altered at a later stage with greater implications on cost.

“When you see people who have never previously seen the facility or used CAD or BIM programs, suddenly running up and down stairs and through the corridors it is very inspiring!” says Stribeck.

VR was used by designers to experience the traffic model from inside a moving car – a virtual vehicle model uploaded from the Unity asset store – driven using a joystick. In addition, Unity plays animations of fully-operational mechanics and moving parts of the lock, including the whole functioning sluice mechanism, to improve understanding.

“Our mechanic guys are in heaven, even if you have the 3D information in Solidworks, you don’t get the same sense of scale as when you see it at 1:1. They can solve problems they have never been able to see before,” concludes Stribeck.

Last week, the project designers used VR headsets to review Foster Partners’ new proposal for the most vital part of the project – a total redesign of the buildings on Södermalm.

The review group was able to experience and interrogate several rendered 360-panoramas using three pairs of Samsung Gear VR goggles, plus a fully-navigable Unity model of the entire project featuring Fosters’ new proposal for the buildings.

Our mechanic guys are in heaven, even if you have the 3D information in Solidworks, you don’t get the same sense of scale as when you see it at 1:1. They can solve problems they have never been able to see before.– Johan Stribeck, Tikab