As host of the official closing party for Design Week Portland in April 2017, William Kaven Architecture transformed an old steel fabrication warehouse in Portland into an immersive virtual-reality installation. The warehouse sat on a lot in the heart of the Williams District which is slated to be the future site of William Kaven’s Parallax project, a 5-story mixed-use development that will include 63 apartments over retail space.

Using the existing structure, William Kaven virtually rebuilt every aspect of the shop—grime and all—and introduced a simulated setting complete with a ruined wall opening onto a body of churning water. Intersecting blue beams of light crossing the center of the space harkened to the phenomenon of parallax--a displacement or difference in the apparent position of an object viewed along two different lines of sight--that was central to the design of the future building. The Parallax building design features staggered windows, using metal panels angled and oriented in opposing directions to lend the elevation a dynamic movement. The panels together read as a gradient color change from different perspectives.

The virtual architectural intervention, which could only be experienced for one evening using custom William Kaven-designed headsets, served to temporarily transport viewers into a visually arresting and thought-provoking environment while allowing them to preview the site’s future potential.

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