UX Designer

Immersive Environment

Case Study

Team Members 

Team Members 

Ground Up is

An immersive environment project for the city of  Detroit, this initiative started out of the documentary movie Detropia that outlines the difficult economical and social situation Detroit faced in early 2010 with an Urban Decay.

We start working on the Detroit - Reboot project in winter 2017, utilizing the design thinking and agile process of  Design Sprint invented by Jake Knapp at Google Ventures. 

We ran the sprints during the course of 4 months with a total of three iterations until completing a high-level immersive environment design concept. 

  • My role in this project was in charge of the Virtual Reality Component and 3D modeling using the tools of Maya and Unity

Detroit Reboot- Project Brief

Exhibition Day - for more photos visit @detroitgroundup

Exhibition Day - for more photos visit @detroitgroundup

Design problem

Detroit is in need of solutions to ensure its sustainability and rebuild a thriving community for its residents. Identify opportunities to help Detroit reboot itself to become a thriving and healthy place to work and live.   

Room for Opportunity

Detroit has the opportunity to become a world leader in sustainable development and more specifically environmental sustainability. 

Ideation Process

                         Immersive                      Environment


Rought Solutions 

In our first attempt to put down ideas, we did a round of brainstorming ideation process with sticky notes to then categorize in clusters and finally get the common following topics. We that in mind we went to sketch what these common topics would look like.

  • Vertical Farming
  • Food sustainable buildings
  • Waste-free environment 
  • Work/ life/ school -- core area transformation
                         Immersive                      Environment


Rapid Variations

After gathering five different sketches of rough solutions, one per each team member, we went ahead and push our creativity with a crazy 8 activity that will help us to come up with a different variation of the initial sketches and ideas.

  • The main purpose of the sketches is to make tangible ideas in our head and help us to find precedents 
  •  I total we made 13 different sketches but the common denominator was: A sustainable living system that will attract tourism and new residents looking to establish themselves in an upcoming city whilst helping residents to get a thriving way of living.

Final Ideation Solution

Final sketch design concept

Final sketch design concept

Design Concept

Ground Up’s goal is to help homeless youth and provide them with an opportunity to improve their future. Our primary focus is vertical farming along with 4 different programs within a one-year training process. 

They can pick one to specialize, we offer a guaranteed job after successfully completing our learning system. Our idea is to create a live/learn/work-in building complex.

We are the middle-man bringing the opportunity for homeless youth and services to work together. We want to help them build their life up again from the Ground Up.

One of the three user personas created

One of the three user personas created


Based on the documentary and other background research on Detroit and its decay in the late 2010s, we agree on focus on the homeless population of Detroit.  

  • One of the main purposes of focus on this specific population was the increasing number of people that end up on the streets due to the lack of economical opportunities.
  •  Homeless people face often challenges of stable income to meet their needs and therefore struggle to stay motivated
  •  The personas created was based on the documentary that showcases their struggle and goals and motivations. 
  •  Our design was directly focused not only to find the solution to boost the economy of Detroit but offer a better way for citizens to find a prosper path that will help them to overcome their situation.  

Michigan Central Station

Michigan Central Station

Michigan Central Station

Why a new building if we can reutilize?

After revising of sketches and the overall concept idea, in our second iteration, we revaluated the points that make Detriot fall into decline and the main concern of the citizens, which it was the urban decay and the misused of exiting landmark buildings. 

Detroit needed it to be an attractive place to live in to also overcome problems of population decline and social issues such as poverty and crime.   

Second Iteration Concept Video

Deliverable Task : Characters asset creation 

User Journey

We envision a day in the life of a user, once the Ground Up project was up and running.

  • We determine the process from point A to Point B from a user point of view including the Journey of all stakeholders involved instructors, counselors, and investors. 
  • After completing this journey, we wanted to have a vivid experience of what it will be like to walk through the building and the different scapes that the Michigan Central station could have.  

 collaboration on sketches of user Journey map during Ideation process

 collaboration on sketches of user Journey map during Ideation process

Final Concept Promo Video

 Task: script of video 

Learning System

                         Immersive                      Environment

Education Platform

Once the Concept and  objectives were clear in terms of what we will like Ground up to accomplish 

  • Create a social service 
  • Show community support
  • Improve the lives of homeless and at-risk community

We move ahead with what a companion learning tool will look like for people that initiate A 1-year training program at Ground up

Virtual Reality Component

Deliverable Task : 3D modeling assets, Design of the VR environment and development of VR interaction.