XR Lab: Where Education Meets Virtual Reality

When Facebook rebranded as Meta last October, it brought the term into the mainstream, but for those working in virtual reality (VR), immersive technology and XR Labs, the concept of the “metaverse” is nothing new.

Programmers have long been captivated by the idea of creating virtual “worlds” and the potential this has not only for leisure but also for education, training and innovation.

At WindsorPatania, we’re keen to integrate cutting-edge technology like this into our architectural services.

In particular, we’re fascinated by the potential to show clients designs, and possible flaws with them, with the aid of computer-generated imagery (CGI).

Fascinated by the technology, our team was thrilled to earn the opportunity to work with West Suffolk College on the XR Lab (Extended Reality Lab), which will offer the College’s students a hands-on learning facility with virtual and augmented reality at its core.


What is the XR Lab?

The project is called XR Lab, which is located inside Hangar 2 of the University Studies Building. Offering virtual and augmented spaces, students will be able to interact with digital components that don’t actually exist in the physical world.

It’s not hard to imagine this concept’s potential and how it could reshape vocational training. Think how often a doctor in training would have to operate on a prop or device, for example. These objects could be costly and may not be able to be used more than once.

With immersive technology, students can get hands-on with digitally created objects time and time again, using this hybrid of real-world and digitally created environments to develop their practical skills.

It’s exciting to think also about what this hub could mean for the local community in Suffolk, and in particular, the opportunities it will create for young people.

With my roots in the area, and as a former student and Governor at the College, I believe it will not only enhance skills development and support retention of skills in the region but also create opportunities for local innovation.

XR Lab: Extended Reality Lab (Image from Windsorpatania Architects project´s library)

How was the XR Lab designed?

We wanted to bring a design element to The XR Lab that was in keeping with the captive character of the hub. The XR Lab maintains an exterior that is simple and inviting yet with an appearance of curiosity.

With enigmatic siding on the walls and clever use of lighting and projection in the interior, we’re confident we have captured an aesthetic of futurism while ensuring user-friendliness.

Built with our usual focus on the ‘RIBA 2030 Climate Challenge’ in mind, we’re proud of the finished project and excited by the opportunities it will offer to the College’s more than 13,000 students, as well as its staff and other stakeholders.

XR Lab Lecture Theatre (Image from Windsorpatania Architects project´s library)

Can I try it out?

Set to open in August officially, The XR Lab is an innovative project with uses that go far beyond higher education, and could be of interest to businesses in fields as varied as medicine, surgery, engineering and landscaping.

If you’re a business owner who likes the sound of getting hands-on, why not reach out to the West Suffolk College team? Alternatively, get in touch with me, and I’ll be happy to provide more information.

Lecture Theatre (Image: Windsorpatania Architects project´s library)

If you liked this article and want to learn more about WindsorPatania Architects, please get in touch via our website: www.windsorpatania.com.

Originally published in IQ Magazine | Issue No. 40 | May 2022 (Page 10)

Ryan Windsor

Ryan Windsor

(Development Direct, Co-Founder at WindsorPatania Architects) Ryan Windsor is a property developer and entrepreneur who has invested in the industry for 15 years. Graduated from Cambridge University Judge Business School, currently advising on large capital projects and consulting over 730 projects. Ryan is passionate about social entrepreneurship, mentoring, and founding adviser for multiple start-ups. His experience gives him the expertise to guide you through your development journey.


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