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Virtual Reality: A Game-Changer for Architecture

Design, Technology

Virtual Reality (VR) technologies are revolutionizing the architecture field. Virtual Reality allows designers to push the boundaries of visualization, giving colleagues and clients new ways to experience and understand a building or space long before it is actually built. With VR, architects can transmit not just what a building will look like, but also what it will feel like. Making major leaps for communication and presentation, VR allows architecture models and concepts to be more easily understood and experienced. Whether designing a home, hotel, civic space or city, VR can close the gap between design expectations and reality with clients and consultants.

Creating An Experience

For architects, communicating a concept, especially one out of the ordinary, can be a trying task. Hand-drawn sketches and 3D computer-built renderings often do not communicate the true depth of space or the experience that will occur inside the built structure. With a VR presentation, the user is able to walk through the unbuilt structure and see each detail. Fully immersing the client into the design through VR puts them at the center of the story, which changes the way they experience, interact and engage with the concept. When a customer can experience a proposed building on a more visceral level, they’re more likely to choose the design. The traditional “look before you leap” concept is taken to a whole other level with VR, making it an extremely effective marketing and sales tool.

VR For Architectural Design

Another benefit of VR is that it can be rendered at different levels of design, so an architect in the early design phase could have an immersive experience in a non-photorealistic room, just to get a sense of spatial relationships and massing. Or the experience could be hyperreal so that a VR video could have the weather and sounds one might experience at the built site. Exploring their own creations means changes for problem shooting can be made a lot sooner in the production process, which can save both money and time for the final product. A new tool for the VR industry is Google’s VR painting app, Tilt Brush, that could allow architects and designers to walk through their sketches in 3D as they draw them by using a simple controller that mimics the gestures of painting. As a result, VR becomes a discovery tool to better understand the client’s priorities and their intended, actual use of a space.