Defining the Architectural Foveal | Isle of Portland, UK | Unit 21 | 2022

Within the scarred landscape of Portland, a proposed climbing research and training centre explores the agency of the eye’s gaze as a design tool. Through experiments in spatialising foveated level of detail (LOD), the fixations and saccades of the eye are utilised to encode and refine spatial narratives. Whilst utilising the same technologies to explore new climbing typologies within the centre. Serving as an attempt in lessening the dissonance between the imagined and experienced architecture, the climber, and the wall.

Alongside hosting formal sports climbing events regulated by iFSC (International Federation for Sport Climbing), the centre also facilitates an archival system, utilising photogrammetry to capture climbing routes present around the world within the architecture. Acting to preserve and celebrate historical climbs at risk of disappearing to rock fall and weathering. This process manifests as a collaboration between the existing quarrying industry on Portland and the international climbing scene, breathing new life into Portland’s wavering economy and social mobility.

The Eye-Tracking Headset

A custom eye-tracking headset was designed to achieve sub-2° gaze accuracy. Featuring 2 IR eye-tracking cameras and a world camera for calibration. This allows for the accurate encoding of eye-tracking data within the architectural space.

North-East Elevation – Embedded
Within the Hillside

The climbing archival spaces are cut directly from the hillside, utilising a combination of quarrying machinery and 6-axis robots.

Encoding the Narrative

The eye-tracking information is encoded within the space, directing the users through the centre. Parameters such as saccades and fixation are utilised to define a hierarchy of information.

Eye-tracking Pathways

Emerging narratives within the space are mapped and tracked. The eye-tracking data then projected onto the space for manipulation.

Proposal Plans

The building orients itself up the hillside at Nicodemus Knob in Portland, acting to utilise the natural verticality to arrange the scan archive as a procession up the site. Where the site intersects with the existing coastal path at the top of the site, a reconstruction of the now non-existent coastal wall through the scan data from around Portland redirects the user over the site.