As VR and AR rapidly become more commonly integrated into the design process, design schools are beginning to see the need for adjusting to the rising desire of mixed reality experiences in the real world. In an effort to accommodate this new need, many schools are creating programs and dedicated spaces for students to explore these growing and ever-evolving mediums.
All images via SCAD
One such university is SCAD, who recently unveiled The Shed on their Savannah, GA campus, which now serves as the home of their new program in immersive reality. The massive building houses around 20 classrooms, including fully equipped VR/AR rooms as well as additional workspaces for various design programs such as industrial design, service design, user experience design and creative business leadership.
Some of the more specialized spaces the building has to offer include two studio labs for robotics and prototyping electronics, a special project shop for 3-D model making, two computer labs for virtual and augmented reality, and a user-testing lab with double-sided mirrors for studying user behavior. When visiting The Shed in person, we were particularly impressed to learn that the scale of the main studio lab is able to accommodate some pretty large prototypes, including full scale motorcycles.
The Shed was recently reopened for student use, but in true SCAD fashion, it isn't an entirely new building. Since SCAD was founded 40 years ago, the university has preserved and revitalized more than 100 buildings, including (but not limited to) a British magistracy building in Hong Kong, decommissioned public school buildings in Savannah and medieval ruins in Lacoste. The finished buildings preserved by SCAD, mostly located in Savannah, are turned into academic buildings for the school, ranging from classrooms to museums.
SCAD's The Shed is a think tank where many forms of design and STEM collide, promoting collaboration across a wide variety of majors and projects. "Our legacy and expertise in preservation design and adaptive reuse allows SCAD to support the continued growth of our preeminent academic programs, namely our digital programs, and our highest enrollment yet," says a representative from SCAD. It will be interesting to see how schools continue to adapt to the growing demand for immersive reality in education and out in the real world, but right now, SCAD's The Shed is a promising start.