Author Archives: Nolan Dalman

Project Reflection

  1. Introduction

This studio project was a mixed media project encompassing research in eye-tracking, virtual reality, and concept driven design. The design task was to create a future transportation hub for the innovation corridor development by the University of Cincinnati in the uptown Clifton area. The intent was to find a way to use the development of eye-tracking and virtual reality technologies to create a cohesive project and look into the true applicability of using these technological advances in the field of Architecture and future transportation design.

  1. Eye-Tracking

I used Tobi eye tracking software and technology early on in the design process. This was a three round process spanning the course of the entire semester so that I would be able to use, implement, and refine this research to implement into the concept throughout the project. The first two rounds were conducted using still images that a viewer who has never seen the images before would be subjected to a short period of time for their gaze to be tracked. The third and final round of eye tracking is in a real time rendered walk through intended to see the final results of the research compiled and embodied in the project.

(Figure 1 & 2)


As seen in figures one and two, the first round of eye tracking, I was able to see what particularly drew interest immediately. This was done with a preliminary model of my project that had structure, floor plates, and a skin. I was wanting to find out what forms, contrasts in light, and depth meant when it came to what we perceive and are attracted towards. It can be seen in figures one and two that there are scattered events of view on many areas, but particular areas are perceived as interesting and focused on for a longer duration. From this first round of eye-tracking research, I was able to conclude that people are attracted to pints that seem to be centers of patterns, patterns of repetitions, and areas of high dense contrast.

(Figure 3 & 4 )

The second round of eye tracking, figures three and four, are when I was first able to try to implement the research of eye tracking into the design of the interiors and exteriors of my building concept. In the interiors, I created furniture that used repetitive forms to pull the viewer’s gaze to and across the furniture upon immediate glance. I also created a woven complex suspended lighting feature intended to have more visual of an impact to guide the interactants through the project as way finding. As seen in figure three, a majority of the viewer’s gaze is placed on furniture as well as the lighting feature. In figure four I wanted to capture the way that the change in language from the skin to the opening would impact the way that someone approaching the underside to the building would find their way.  The skin is intended to be an interesting pattern that speaks to the language of how the building was designed, while not being distracting from the experience of the building. At the entrances I used more familiar structural and tectonic languages for the entry to stand out in the enveloping pattern of the skin. As seen in figure 4 the technique was successful in being able to draw the gaze of someone seeing the project for the first time mostly towards an appropriate entrance to the building.

( Video 1) ( Video 2)

The third portion of the eye tracking was done in the virtual space. The viewer was able to walk through a rendered model of the building and I would be able to see how the utilization of design concepts catered towards directing a user’s gaze would work out in reality. As seen in the two videos of the eye capture, the strategies I used became more complex of an interaction once it is moved into the 3D interactive space. The user’s gaze behavior is different that with a still image. One has to think and take in an environment so they can navigate. It creates a different dynamic between the gaze of the user and the experience they have.

What I was able to conclude from this final round of eye-tracking is that it is much more complex that I first imagined to utilize eye-tracking technology and strategies to be an effective way of directing a user experience in  architecture. Many times one’s direct choices do have an impact on the user experience, and at times it can be very impactful. Through, in the end there are so many variables in Architecture and the architectural experience that are individualized and cannot be fully accounted for. What I have learned from these eye tracking experiences are that we use our eyes much differently in the 3D walk through experience than that of still images. The research that needs to go into the relationship between our gaze and our experience can benefit architecture, although it has a way to go before it sees direct rewarding applications.

III. Virtual Reality

Virtual Reality: an artificial environment which is experienced through sensory stimuli (such as sights and sounds) provided by a computer and in which one’s actions partially determine what happens in the environment. Merriam Webster

This project was developed with the intent to have the final presentation and user experience be conducted in virtual reality. Virtual reality has become a point of interest for much of the Architecture community. It is currently being researched across the world in Architecture Academia, and in the working practice of Architecture.

My intent with using virtual reality as a large focus in this project was its ability to communicate the ideas I have to peers, professors, and critics. In using virtual reality for representation of an architecture project it allows one to see much more than one would be able to in section and plan. It allows one to have much more of a human perspective on the architecture being represented. It has amplifying effects on the conversations that one is able to have with others about the ideas they are trying to communicate. One can easily use virtual reality to show someone their project and ask questions normally improbable with a perspective unseen before. How does the space feel? How does the scale of this project translate? Can you feel the concepts of the architecture in the spaces? These are all questions one is able to ask now because of virtual reality.

In this project’s specific case I was able to showcase my project in real time at almost all steps along the way of the design process. Being able to change materiality, change proportions, and change interactions were all things I was able to show and change on the fly with feedback almost just as fast. Many times throughout the designing process I was able to get feedback from Professor Ming on things that would have been much more difficult to comment on had I used traditional methods of architecture representation.

These themes of higher levels of communication carried through to the final presentation of the project. The critiques were able to grasp the building much faster than one would have normally. Being able to show sequence and experience of the architecture was a streamlined process as easily seen as a projection screen. This lead to much fuller critique on the spatial qualities, concept, and execution of the project.

The use of Virtual Reality and architectural representation and workflow are concepts that need to be explored much more. It is a niche portion of the current existing mediums of architecture. In the future, development and research in the field or virtual reality and its relation to architecture can change the entire  way that architecture exists in the world of academia as well as the workplace leading to built architecture that would not have been possible otherwise.

IV. Project Summary

This project is the embodiment of the progression of research in transportation efficiency and development. Slime mold has been studied in its relation to transportation. As a single celled organism it lives in colonies and has the capacity to grow and learn as a collective. It organically finds the most efficient paths between itself and desired locations such as food sources. It reinforces efficient paths and abandons others, creating the most efficient network possible adapting and growing in real time.

I wrote a grasshopper script to simulate individual agents that would behave likewise. I set up a blocking and program with particular points of interest and ran the simulation letting the agents run free to develop a network. I then used that network to generate the form of the building using a script to develop forms around the paths creating larger spaces where more density of paths existed. The patterns on the form are generated from the same agent based simulation allowed to run free on a surface. The structure was created using scripts to create a structure that would be able to run directly across the organic forms and allow for support.

The interiors feature two main ground level spaces. One is focused more towards people awaiting use of metro buses and the other for ride shares. The use of holograms for signage, interaction, and ticketing are features to improve the interaction between the user and the services. The second floor is an amenity space that has restaurants for serving the customers as well as a place to rest and take in the ethereal environment serving as an open space for transporters and the surrounding community. The second floor bridges over the main spine of the vehicular circulation blocking it from the elements and allowing for the vehicular traffic to experience the architecture in a profound way. The intent of this architectural project was to create a hub in the innovation corridor with surrounding community parks and gardens. The architecture is meant to become a midway play for transportation as well as one’s day to day life.

Eye Tracking Round 3 Nolan Dalman



Eye Tracking Round 2

P6 Eye Tracking

P5 Midterm

Deep Dream

P4 Concept

Concept Presentation

Protected: P2 – Site Topography and Linework – Nolan Dalman

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Nolan Dalman: The Future of Urban Mobility

In my research on the future of urban mobility and the development of smart cities I was able to find multiple resources that have done studies, found implemented strategies, and done analysis on this specific idea. My main source is a reference to the way that the European Commission’s are taking on the development of cities and infrastructure that has predated the idea of smart cities and developed before the concept of urban mobility was an idea implemented at the time of urban development.

Almost a hundred years ago it was slow and expensive to move around cities. The main form of getting across a city was walking or carriages for the for fortunate. Cities that grew into metropolitan areas were almost inaccessible or unfeasible to travel around. This was until the development of the assembly line and the Model T by Henry Ford. Now we are seeing again that massive metropolitan areas such as LA and New York City are having a very similar problem. Cars end up in gridlock transportation grinds to a halt and it is difficult and sometimes unfeasible for people to be mobile in the city. This is what is calling for another revolution in Urban Mobility.

‘By the year 2030 sixty percent of the world’s population will live in urban areas. There are already around 1.2 billion passenger vehicles on the road today. By 2030 this figure is projected to reach 1.6 billion. As cities continue to grow the sustainable transportation of people and goods will become ever more important and complex.’ (Arup)

This problem will be getting more and more imperative for us to find solutions for. This problem is such a broad problem. It needs to be viewed as a comprehensive problem that fits into the broader concept of the city and its strategy towards the development of it’s infrastructure and density. This is why the European Commision has already developed a plan and method for the development of smarter cities with smarter transportation. This whole plan is a cycle that does not try to attack the whole problem at once. It takes stock of the broader picture and tries to identify ways that the city would be able to integrate small changes to set themselves up  to develop more smart technologies implementing them into their transportation and the city as a whole. (see Figure 1)

[Figure 1]

The whole idea is to implement this alongside of a multileveled transportation model in order to grow density and urban mobility at the same time. (see Figure 2) The Multilevel transport model attempts to be used as a guideline for looking at the different scales of urban transportation and how they fit together to create better urban transportation. It plans on implementing technology such as MIFARE or contactless smart card technology to streamline the way we plan our routes, are transported, and live day to day. What is great about this direction of using set plans and strategies to develop urban mobility further is that the approach they are taking lends itself to the collection of data for the future changes in this cyclical strategy.

[Figure 2]

Overall these plans and models have a few things in common. They are moving towards more public transportation and less personal transportation. The amount of personal vehicles on the road that have a single occupant are at an all time high. This leads to inefficient use of existing infrastructure, slow downs in traffic, excess wasted Co2 emissions, and at a financial level millions of dollars of excess travel expenses across the world.

The European Commission was able to implement and analyze the specific use of the Sustainable Urban Mobility Plan and the Multileveled Sustainable Transportation model In the city of Gdynia, a city with a population of nearly 250,000 in north Poland. This was the first city to have developed and implemented the multilevel model for the purpose of [the] Sustainable Urban Mobility Plan process. (Okraszewska) The city has been growing significantly over the last few years with a significant increase of personal vehicular traffic for those aged 15-75+. This is now the main mode of transportation for the majority population of Gdynia. The goal was to increase the mobility of the population and reduce the time required to travel the city. The main strategy that was implemented was dedicated bus lanes that would make it extremely efficient for busses to get around the city expediently and allowing a significant increase in the amount of public busses as well. The results were drastic. (see Table 3)  There were many technologies that were included in this including MIFARE that allowed this to be such a successful project. A strategy such as this cyclical development of an urban area is an idea that should be used to progress urban mobility in many cities across the world.


 [Table 3]


The Future of Urban Mobility (Arup)

The Future of Urban Mobility (TEDx Talks)

Integration of a Multilevel Transport System Model into Sustainable Urban Mobility Planning

Okraszewska, R., Romanowska, A., Wolek, M., Oskarbski, J., Birr, K., & Jamroz, K. (2018) Integration of a Multilevel Transport System Model into Sustainable Urban Mobility Planning

The Future of Urban Mobility: Smart Cities Use the IoT and Mobile for Better Ways to Move People and Goods

Lackner, and Christian Lackner. “NXP Home >” NXP Blog, 5 Mar. 2018,


Wefering, F.; Rupprecht, S.; Bührmann, S.; Böhler-Baedeker, S.; Granberg, M.; Vilkuna, J.; Saarinen, S.; Backhaus,W.; Laubenheimer, M.; Lindenau, M.; et al. Developing and Implementing a Sustainable Urban Mobility Plan Guidelines—Developing and Implementing a Sustainable Urban Mobility Plan Title: Guidelines. Developing and Implementing a Sustainable Urban Mobility Plan; European Commission: Brussels, Belgium, 2014.

[Figure 2], [Table 3]

Okraszewska, R., Romanowska, A., Wolek, M., Oskarbski, J., Birr, K., & Jamroz, K. (2018) Integration of a Multilevel Transport System Model into Sustainable Urban Mobility Planning