Virtual Reality has recently become popular across many industries. While most people think about VR and the video game industry, the truth is, Virtual Reality can be used across many other areas. One such area that has seen an increase in use of this technology is the architectural industry. Virtual Reality will soon become an integral part of designing projects as well as presenting them.
When it comes to design type industries, one of the most difficult challenges is often trying to convince a client that the finished product is going to look like the 2D or 3D representation that is presented. No matter how talented a designer is, it often takes a vivid imagination combined with a leap of faith from a client to get them excited about a design idea. This is how virtual reality for design and architecture can help to transform the entire industry.
Let’s take a closer look at some of the possible benefits for both the client and the designer for creating in a virtual world as well as how the industry can evolve and grow as VR is more readily implemented and accepted.
VR Potential for Architects
There is a ton of potential for designers and architects when it comes to VR technology. From the initial mock-up of a design, to project collaborations, to the finishing touches that can make a building design go from okay to great. Virtual reality offers the ability to sell an idea better than any other type of medium.
As mentioned previously, one of the challenges that many architects face is working to convince a client that a design will work before receiving workable feedback that could be integrated into the finished design.
The larger that a project is, the more stakeholders will be involved. It is unlikely that there is a single decision-maker, but rather many people who will be asked for their input on different aspects of the design of the building. Getting everyone into a single location in order to discuss the design decisions can be difficult as well as inefficient and time-consuming.
3D renderings, floor plans, and models are typically used to portray an idea for a space within a design. However, these approaches can fail to communicate the idea to the client. This is where virtual reality can really shine. VR can transport the users into an interactive environment, which allows them to fully explore the representation of each room, floor, or the design of the building as a whole.
Benefits of Virtual Reality for Architecture
There are several benefits of moving architectural practices into a VR environment. Here are some of the main benefits.
Low Start Up Cost
The start up cost for introducing VR technology into an architectural practice is very low. For walkthroughs and internal presentations, hardware is beneficial. Headsets range in price from about $600 to $800 for each unit. Additional hardware for the computer will be necessary as well. The cost for an entire VR setup can be completed for under $8000. Winning one client from this set up makes it well worth the cost.
A VR setup provides a great competitive edge when it comes to pitching to potential clients. Just think about how much more impressive a VR tour of your design idea is going to be when compared to a simple model or 3D rendering. Essentially, clients can be won or lost simply by the presentation and when you are presenting in VR you are going to appear that much more impressive to each client.
Providing a client with a detailed virtual representation of your building design will make the feedback process more straightforward. The client will be able to easily see what they like and do not like about the design, which makes it easier to fix. This will mean less time spent revising designs and awaiting more feedback. Virtual Reality makes it possible to make changes in real time, which allows a client to get a sense for aesthetic features including lighting, furniture, and wall colors.
Create Real World Scenarios
When considering architectural design it is important to understand how an individual will navigate their way around the building. VR allows people to test different routes throughout the building. Using this technology will allow the architect to see how safe their design is as well as how practical it is in the real world.
Implementing VR into Architectural Companies
It is becoming easier to implement VR technology into architectural companies. While it is a good idea for architectural companies to invest in different hardware to use such as the aforementioned VR headsets and computer programs, in addition, there are applications that are being created that can be easily installed on a client’s smartphone. This means that it will be easy to supply a cheap VR headset to the client along with the diagrams and floor plans.
The latest smartphones are powerful enough to support virtual reality graphics. The accelerometers that are built into these devices will help detect movement as the client navigates their way through the VR world.
Overall, when it comes to Virtual Reality it truly is the future. While it is currently being used in the gaming world, it is also being implemented into many other businesses as well. Design and architecture are just two of the many areas where VR can be extremely beneficial. If your company is currently using 3D models and other methods to present your projects to clients, it is time to jump on the VR bandwagon.
Expect the next few years to be banner years for virtual reality technology. More and more apps are becoming available to allow designers and architects the ability to show their work in an augmented reality that allows clients to truly see the ideas first hand. Using this technology is becoming more and more popular and if you are in this business it is best to be at the cutting edge so that you do not get left behind.