Art, Design & Communication in Higher Education, vol.19, no.2, pp.221-240, 2020 (ESCI)
This study mainly examines the contribution of the virtual reality environment to architectural education. The primary aim of the study was to investigate the theoretical possibilities of VR technology in an interactive and participatory educational environment that would allow students to examine architectural components and inter-component relationships. A group of 160 volunteers participated in the study, with participants asked to design villas in both natural (non-VR) and virtual reality (VR) environments within a specific period. Designs made in both environments (VR and non-VR) were evaluated by a team of five experts (jurors). For the evaluation, jurors wore eye-tracking devices and were asked to comment on the designs in both environments. In the virtual reality environment designs, the following categories showed significant differences over the drawings in a natural environment: functionality, aesthetics, user perception of space and internal physical quality (light quality), indicating that the virtual reality designs were examined more closely by the jurors than were those in the natural environment. This study will contribute to design discipline if virtual reality systems are adopted in architecture education.