Using Virtual Reality As An Architectural Tool

The year’s top technological trend is carving out a place for itself in the architecture industry. Virtual Reality (VR for short) can provide architects with quick outputs of virtual spaces that may not be built for months or even years. VR is a three dimensional simulation of a real or modeled environment/space that can be inhabited, and often interacted with, through the use of special VR equipment. In order to navigate smoothly through a virtual space a highly powerful computer is needed.

VR has also become an effective marketing tool for many real estate agencies. Capturing VR footage of an existing space requires no expertise in the field, just a 3D camera in a fixed location. The process after a room is scanned varies and depends on the brand of the equipment. For example, Matterport’s monthly plans allow a user to upload room scans to the cloud “where a powerful algorithm” processes the data. In other words, all of the captured photos are stitched together to form a 360-degree image.

Rapid outputs of interior spaces stand to significantly benefit the architecture community, which is constantly looking to streamline practices and maximize efficiency. Design software platforms such as Autodesk’s Revit have begun to integrate VR as an output option. Revit allows users to place a fixed point and provides a 360-degree, three-dimensional view of the space from that position. The procedure is realized in a matter of minutes by selecting any point in a built model and adjusting graphic options. VR promises enormous value throughout the design process in its ability to communicate design strategies within a firm or to consultants, contractors and clients. For years, clients have struggled to fully comprehend or visualize a space based on floor plans. VR could act as an effective tool for architect-client communication from both a time and cost standpoint.

Improvements to visual representations most specifically image distortion are needed to the current VR outputs for a more comfortable and smooth virtual experiences.Although it is still in the development stage, the possibilities are boundless. Imagine a VR experience where you are standing inside a modeled room and have the ability to simulate the sunlight entering for any given time and date or the ability to walk-through different modeled spaces. Solar studies and walk-through animations already exist, so it will not be long until it’s incorporated into the VR option. It’s safe to assume that these advances could lead to the creation of architecture from first person perspective and the use of gestures as modeling tools. The ability to interact with design models in virtual spaces would be groundbreaking. These ideas are already in the works, so try not to blink because you just might miss this revolutionary step in design.

Check out our project Forbes Townhouse VR Experience:

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