Virtually There

“Imagine what you can do here?” – Pittsburgh 250

The construction phase of the High Point Pittsburgh Investigation has been completed!  This innovative, fully interactive, Web-accessible simulation of the world’s first Viewseum allows you to be Virtually There!

You can also watch this 90-seond video overview of the project:

The Tale of Team VT

During the Spring 2012 semester, four graduate students at Carnegie Mellon University’s Entertainment Technology Center assisted by three students from its School of Architecture constructed a virtual version of Pittsburgh’s newest destination in the sky: a three-story, 65,000 square-foot public facility proposed for the one-acre roof top of the U.S. Steel Tower.  Construction updates were posted weekly at the VT Online project Web site.

High Point Pittsburgh Virtually There is an interactive, on-line platform that allows site visitors to experience and explore this innovative attraction on their own.  The Virtually There platform is based on design criteria and architectural renderings developed during projects at CMU’s Heinz College and School of Architecture as part of the High Point Pittsburgh Investigation, an on-going effort led by David Bear, fellow at CMU’s STUDIO for Creative Inquiry.

The Virtually There experience begins at the facility’s ground floor entrance center on 7th Avenue. There visitors can board one of the four external, glass-walled elevator cars for the 65-story ride up to the Peak of Pittsburgh, enjoying an ever more amazing view of the city while hearing an introduction to its pinnacle of perspective.

Once atop the “Roof of the World,” visitors are free to wander throughout the facility on their own or take a guided tour. They can grab a quick bite in the Pie in the Sky Café or enjoy a more elegant virtual meal in the new Top of the Triangle restaurant.

Looking through any window, they can enjoy great panoramas of Pittsburgh. In huge “Viewseums” in the building’s corners, glass-floored areas let them peer 850 feet straight down to the streets below.  The most awesome vistas are found on the glass-walled rooftop promenade.

In addition to all of these incredible view points, Virtually There offers virtual visitors opportunities for exploration, experience, eduction, and entertainment.

Along with accessing a dozen interactive kiosks; exploring its media gallery and video theaters; checking out a performance in its central atrium; and many panoramic perspectives, site visitors can ride elevators or climb stairs to the rooftop promenade and enjoy a virtual fireworks extravaganza. They can even get an overview helicopter perspective of the project.

Future construction considerations include.

A variety of embedded programs providing access to a range of interactive information about Pittsburgh.

Interactive kiosks where  visitors can access information about area sights and sites to which they can zoom directly via Gigapanaoramas or Google Earth. With direct connections to affiliated Web sites, visitors can also get downloadable directions and money-saving coupons to the area’s wealth of cultural and institutional attractions, as well as its green assets, from riverfront bicycle trails to its notable sustainable structures.

Regular concerts, plays, movies and other entertainment events will be staged in High Point Pittsburgh’s presentation space. Virtual social gatherings, from business receptions to weddings, will be held in its multi-function areas.

Other programs provide brief background programs on all things Pittsburgh, from its geology and geography, to the histories of its people, commerce, sports teams, neighborhoods, and more.  A unified calendar provides details about upcoming attractions and events in the area.

Other displays provide insight into High Point Pittsburgh’s own green and sustainable features; its innovative technologies to passively generate electricity from both the wind and the sun; its systems to gather and use rainwater; its natural climate control features; its glorious and sustainable greenery; and its unique, energy-efficient vertical transportation system.

Virtual visitors will be able buy actual mementos of their experience in the High Point Pittsburgh gift-shop.   And while waiting for the elevator back down to reality, visitors can sign the comment book, interact with others via FaceBook and other social media, as well as befriend High Point Pittsburgh.

You can also like and follow the project on Facebook.

For more information about the Investigation and its activities, send e-mail to high-point-pittsburgh@cmu.edu.