Communicating the Unbuilt: Ennead Architects and Virtual Reality

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Ennead Architects

2 Gansevoort Street

New York, NY 10014

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The Real – Unreal:

Perhaps the most compelling metaphor for VR is the metaverse described in Neal Stephenson’s Snow Crash, where a single hundred-meter-wide road runs the entire circumference of a featureless black sphere, where avatars interact freely with one another and develop real estate -- the only limitations being an avatar’s height and the software capabilities of its coder. Seem like science fiction? Consider Facebook’s $2 billion acquisition of a small Kickstarter project known as Oculus in June 2014. For Palmer Luckey, the inventor of the Oculus, “the goal is clear: It’s to make VR technology that’s as real as real life with none of the limitations.”

Ennead Architects will probe this translucent boundary between the real and the unreal. No longer beyond our perceptual reach, the unreal is a space unburdened by physical constraints, where we can investigate, manipulate and visualize aspects of human experience previously inaccessible to us as designers. With an entirely new suite of unreal tools at our fingertips, surely we can transcend previous limitations, thus transforming our design process and dramatically elevating the performance of our real environments.

Exploring how this model informs today’s architectural practice, Ennead examines the unreal aspects of current higher education and cultural projects in an attempt to better understand their real, built counterparts. Cocktails and light hors d'oevures will be provided. The event is limited to 50 attendees. Registration is required.

Featured Projects

Arizona State University’s Beus Center for Law and Society

BCLS is the new home of the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law located in downtown Phoenix, Arizona
Designed by Tomas Rossant/Ennead Architects in collaboration with Jones Studio

Opened on August 15, 2016

The design gives form to Arizona State University’s mission to revolutionize legal education in the United States and to educate the public on the central role of law in our civil society.

Shanghai Planetarium

Set to open 2018

Designed by Thomas Wong/Ennead Architects

The international competition-winning design celebrates the continuum of time and space: it is modern and forward-looking while at the same time presents a link to the past, mirroring both the rich history of Chinese astronomy and the future ambitions of China’s space exploration program.


6:30 pm Cocktails & Hors D'oevures
7:00 pm Presentation
7:30 pm Virtual Reality Demos
8:30 pm Event Concludes

Date and time


Ennead Architects

2 Gansevoort Street

New York, NY 10014

View Map

Organizer IrisVR and Ennead Architects with media sponsorship by The Architect's Newspaper

Organizer of Communicating the Unbuilt: Ennead Architects and Virtual Reality

About IrisVR

IrisVR tackles the biggest problem in the architecture, construction and engineering industries.  What will a space actually look and feel like when it’s built?  We’ve created intuitive, easy to use tools that use virtual reality to experience depth and scale.  Learn more at

About Ennead Architects

Ennead Architects creates buildings that shape the public realm, making significant contributions to the cultural life of their communities and the enhancement of their physical contexts, a tenet central to the practice since 1963. Ennead is committed to the transformative development of integrated architectural solutions and, in partnership with its project teams and Ennead Lab collaborators, approaches inherent challenges as opportunities to enhance vital connections to the natural and social environments.

About The Architect's Newspaper

The Architect’s Newspaper serves up news and inside reports to a niche community of architects, designers, engineers, landscape architects, lighting designers, interior designers, academics, developers, contractors, and other parties interested in the built urban environment. The Architect’s Newspaperdelivers quality news and cultural reporting through print, web, blog, newsletter, or twitter—all the news you want, in all the ways you want to get it.

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