Visualizing what a space will look like is an important part of architectural design. This is true for both the planning and building teams as well as the client who will eventually inhabit the space. Over the past few years, the use of virtual reality (VR) in architecture has made it easier for all parties involved in a project to visualize what it will look and feel like at completion.
(Image Credit: tzido / 123RF Stock Photo)
For decades, architects have used blueprints, scale models, and 3D models to help both themselves and their clients see how a project would appear upon completion. This required everyone to use a lot of imagination, which could produce conflict and a highly inaccurate picture. VR pushes past these limits to allow people to not only see but feel what it will be like to live or work in the new space.
Virtual Reality and Architectural Tools
It might look a bit funny at first, but an architect wearing a pair of VR glasses while holding a motion controller in each hand can produce highly realistic results. While completely immersed in the scene in front of them, architects can change it with just a few simple hand motions. The hand-held motion controllers allow users to add furniture, walls, doors, and more in three-dimensional space.
As amazing as this experience is for an architect, it doesn’t stop there. With a turn of the head, he or she can see the room from a variety of different angles. This allows immediate feedback on the impact of every decision in the building and planning process. The instant feedback means that the architect can easily change form or materials when it comes time for the actual construction to get underway.
Although the concept is new and only a few companies have developed the technology, it has gained worldwide attention. The consensus is that those in the architectural field won’t want to go back to the old way of doing things once they have experienced using VR in the concept and design phase.
Using VR to Gain Useful Feedback from Clients
Architects consistently state that one of their greatest challenges with clients is getting them to visualize what their completed design will look like. It requires a level of trust between architect and client that hasn’t necessarily been established yet. From the client’s point of view, VR makes their future home or workspace so realistic that they can use their motion controllers to open doors and windows, climb stairs, and see each room from a specific angle.
After taking this virtual tour, clients can provide immediate feedback for architects to help plan the building process. They can state what works as is, what they want to exclude, and what needs a bit more attention before it will be acceptable to them. This eliminates numerous rounds of back-and-forth that can be costly in terms of time and money. With low start-up costs and the ability to gain a competitive edge in vying for clients, implementing VR technology is a profitable decision for any architectural firm.