Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions

MSCA-COFUND-CLEAR-Doc - PhD Position #CD21-10: Characterization of architectural spaces using immersive virtual reality from a City Information Model

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    Université Gustave Eiffel
    Computer scienceInformatics
    First Stage Researcher (R1)
    21/03/2022 17:00 - Europe/Brussels
    France › Marne-La-Vallée
    H2020 / Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions COFUND


Studying emotions is a complex and subjective phenomenon. Psychologist and neuroscientist have deepened their quantitative understanding of bodily reactions using advance biosensors. Nevertheless, these studies are unable to provide guidelines and practical criteria so that architects and desginers are able to incoprate emotions in their designs. This reductionist approach to understanding the impact of architecture on emotions fails to address the complex and multisensory nature of the architectural experience. In order to improve the measurement of emotions it is necessary to combine objective and subjective tests (surveys and interviews).

We propose a reliable framework that enables co-creative urban cities development between University and Architects, by letting civil engineering and architecture students assess real estate projects with virtual reality engines. The idea is to design an evaluation scale by comparing the perceptual experience of students to the sensations aimed by the architects and urbanists. A control group of unbiased people would give the baseline assessment of the quality of the built environment. This way real estate developers could include students of the field in their design process at very early stage of their process, instead of relying solely on their professional experience. It would give them the ability to leverage their BIM (Building Information Model) to compare architectural choices while building a strong bond with Education.

We want to provide Uni Eiffel, Uni La Laguna and UniBo with virtual reality tools based on a real large scale CIM to study the built environment for architects and urbanists practionners as well as for education purposes. The work imply technical developments, setup questionnaire based experiences with human participants from France, Spain and Italy, and evaluation of the design of the built environment in dynamic scene. The goal is to use human sensations at the design stage to predict the urbanistic interest generated by a built environment. We plan to extend the study started at ULL [1] based on questions in which the participants expressed their sensations about dimensions that the virtually built space show such as scale and size, construction materials, architectural style, use and related activity, degree of enclosure. The relevance of the sensations (serenity, warmth, comfort, exposure, nostalgia, elegance, protection, freedom…) would then be compared to the predominant one proposed by the architect.

The main stages of the thesis are:

- A first prototype of an immersive visit of LaVallée was already built with TwinMotion and a HTC Vive Pro, during the internships of 3 Master 2 students from GRETTIA, ESIEE and UniBo. The first year at Uni Eiffel is dedicated to develop the VR visit of the district, select places of interest and integrate travellers multimodal motions including walk, bicycle and cars. It requires devising semantic methods to automatically extract basic elements from the high precision BIMs of the project, and integrate the work of a thesis of Eiffage/Future E3S programme [2] (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UQB0S16a4m4). The ESR will have access to the material and experience of ESIEE in VR [3] and Eiffage for BIM aspects.

- Apply the framework established at ULL to study architectural ambiances and make an evaluation of the perceptive experience of selected places of the district in VR by participants. It would extend the scope of the ULL study to a very large and real district (500mx400m) with various urban identity and public spaces. Two scenarios would be of interest : static scenes and populated scenes with dynamic motions.

- Compare the perceptive virtual experience results with reality when the district is built. This part is done in the real built environment with participants when the district is delivered and populated. The experimental protocol is prepared in selected places of Tenerife and Bologna meanwhile. Architects, real estate developers and municipalities stakeholders would participate in an a posteriori co-evaluation of the district in terms of urban design and quality-of-life.

- Develop academic materials common to the 3 Universities, to prepare the ground for future architecture design process based on immersion and BIM. For instance, analyze the improvement of spatial skills through the full-scale sketching of architectural spaces in virtual immersive environments. An extension of the experimental setup already started at ULL would include cognitive load measurement apparatus at Unibo, to measure variations in EEG, ECG and gaze direction. See our work [4] at LIA NextRIM (UniBo/GRETTIA). See also https://sketchfab.com/johnbel/collections/rv4 for samples developped at ULL.

- Participants are three kinds: students, practionners and people. Master students from Civil Engineering and Architecture of University of La Laguna and from University of Bologna. Practionners are architects, urbanists and cities stakeholders. Perceptive experience of unbiased people provides a baseline reference from which reliable prediction and interpetation can be devised. Note that the project assess the built environment based on human sensation, not the opposite.

International Mobility:

A 9-month secondment at University of Laguna, Tenerife, Spain + a 3-month secondment at University of Bologna, Italy.

For more information, contact the PhD thesis supervisor.

More Information


  • High-quality doctoral training rewarded by a PhD degree, delivered by Université Gustave Eiffel
  • Access to cutting-edge infrastructures for research & innovation.
  • Appointment for a period of 36 months based on a salary of 2 700 € (gross salary per month).
  • Job contract under the French labour legislation in force, respecting health and safety, and social security: 35 hours per week contract, 25 days of annual leave per year.
  • International mobility will be mandatory
  • An international environment supported by the adherence to the European Charter & Code.
  • Access to dedicated CLEAR-Doc trainings with a strong interdisciplinary focus, together with a Career development Plan.

Eligibility criteria

  • At the time of the deadline, applicants must be in possession or finalizing their Master’s degree or equivalent/postgraduate degree. At the time of recruitment, applicants must be in possession of their Master’s degree or equivalent/postgraduate degree which would formally entitle to embark on a doctorate.
  • At the time of the deadline, applicants must be in the first four years (full-time equivalent research experience) of their research career (career breaks excluded) and not yet been awarded a doctoral degree. Career breaks refer to periods of time where the candidate was not active in research, regardless of his/her employment status (sick leave, maternity leave etc). Short stays such as holidays and/or compulsory national service are not taken into account.
  • At the time of the deadline, applicants must not have resided or carried out their main activity (work, studies, etc.) in France for more than 12 months in the 3 years immediately prior to the call deadline.
  • Applicants must be available to start the programme on schedule (around 1st October 2022).

Selection process

Additional comments

  • The First step before applying is contacting the PhD supervisor. You will not be able to apply without an acceptation letter from the PhD supervisor.
  • Please contact the PhD supervisor for any additional detail on job offer.
  • There are no restrictions concerning the age, gender or nationality of the candidates. Applicants with career breaks or variations in the chronological sequence of their career, with mobility experience or with interdisciplinary background or private sector experience are welcome to apply.
  • Support service is available during every step of the application process by email: clear-doc@univ-eiffel.fr

Web site for additional job details

Offer Requirements

    Computer science: Master Degree or equivalent
    ENGLISH: Good


  • At the time of the deadline, applicants must be in possession or finalizing their Master’s degree or equivalent/postgraduate degree.
  • At the time of recruitment, applicants must be in possession of their Master’s degree or equivalent/postgraduate degree which would formally entitle to embark on a doctorate.

Work location(s)
1 position(s) available at
Université Gustave Eiffel
5, Boulevard Descartes

EURAXESS offer ID: 718031


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