There’re many benefits of Virtual Reality in architecture attached to moving architectural practices into a virtual environment.
“The incredible thing about the technology is that you feel like you are actually present in another place with other people. People who try it say it is different from anything they’ve ever experienced in their lives.” — Mark Zuckerberg
We’ve outlined a few of the integration of Virtual Reality and Architecture below :-
A. Low Start-Up Costs
When considering introducing virtual reality technology into an architectural practice, the start-up costs are relatively low. For internal presentations and walkthroughs, higher-end hardware such as the Oculus Rift or the HTC Vive would be beneficial. These headsets cost around $600-$800 per unit. Additional computer hardware would be required too, but all-in-all a VR setup can be put together for under $8,000. And for most architects, a single client won off the back of implementing a suite of virtual reality tools will mean it’s money well spent.
B. Gain A Competitive Edge
If an architect is pitching for work, and it’s their turn to present to a prospective client, which of these do you think will win the day?
- A computer-built 3D rendering?
- Or a fully immersive virtual reality experience?
We would wager the latter would come out on top, provided the design was up-to-scratch. This is because a potential client will be won or lost on their ability to truly visualize the finished design. What better way to help them do that than present them with a to-scale detailed representation that they can walk around and interact with.
Staying ahead of the technological curve and becoming an industry leader is therefore crucially important for architects. Specially, when it comes to securing more lucrative business.
C. Avoid Rounds of Revisions
Placing a client into a virtual and detailed representation of a building design will, in theory, make the feedback process that little bit more straightforward. They can clearly see what they like and dislike about certain elements of a design better than perhaps they would if viewing a floor plan or 3D model. And this means less time spent going back and forth revising designs and awaiting further feedback.
Real-time changes could also take place in the virtual world. It’ll allow clients to get a sense for specific aesthetic features, such as wall colour, lighting, and even furniture.
D. Replicate Real-World Scenarios
Another important aspect of architectural design is understanding how an individual manages to navigate his or her way around a building. By utilizing VR for architecture design, it becomes possible to test the routes to emergency exits, for example.
While typically this has been tested via computer models, Virtual Reality will allow for real people to react to real-world scenarios, helping architects to better understand just how safe their design really is, and what improvements are perhaps required. For instance, we’re witnessing a number of startups, specifically geared towards virtual reality and architecture, entering the VR marketplace.
Below are some of the best that have caught our eye recently
- First up is Symmetry. This innovative suite of tools allows architects and engineers alike to convert 3D CAD drawings into fully immersive virtual environments. This solution is very exciting in that it offers its users the ability to both interact with and alter designs from directly within the virtual space.
- Next is IrisVR, which is quite similar to Symmetry. It transforms the files created with industry-standard 3D rendering software into immersive VR environments. The difference between the two appears to be the user-friendliness — IrisVR doesn’t require extended training.
- Another built specifically for architects, ARQVR uses a controller and the Oculus Rift headset to recreate structures. It offers a novel & customizable interface for building and rearranging objects, and even adding some aesthetic touches by painting walls.
- The penultimate startup in this section is Truvision, which recreates virtual environments, allowing architects to walk around, observe, and interact. Using one of Oculus Rift, HTC Vive, or Samsung Gear VR, its users can identify structural issues and resolve them before even breaking ground, saving time and money.
- Finally, taking Virtual Reality and architecture to the next level, NBBJ allows its users to not only explore inside virtual structures, interacting with them in the process, but they can also create immersive urban designs.
Users will also be able to use the 3D renderings created during the design process to quickly and efficiently build out VR versions of upcoming projects that can then be explored using a smartphone device. 2017 became a banner year for Virtual Reality. User numbers swell, revenues continue to grew, & mainstream adoption became a very real prospect.
“VR is bringing designers and end-users together in a way we have never been able to before” — Kelly Funk