Virtual reality is completely changing how we design buildings!
From our small design studios in Lancashire, UK you can explore buildings around the world, including ones that don’t exist yet. You can walk along the edges of an under-construction building in London but be careful when you reach out to touch the structure you might just nudge one of the HAD designers, standing just beyond you and your VR goggles.
The release of powerful, PC-driven headsets like Oculus Rift and HTC pushed consumer virtual reality to an inflexion point. And the world of architecture has noticed. In VR architecture, the difference between real and unreal is fluid and, to a large extent, unimportant. What is important, and potentially revolutionary, is VR’s ability to draw designers and their clients into a visceral world of dimension, scale, and feeling, removing the unfortunate split between a built environment that exists in three dimensions and a visualisation of it that has until now existed in two.
“You can’t help but say wow,”
It happens every time a client or a designer jumps into a project for the first time. You can literally bring them into the project, and that makes design a more human experience.
We’ve used VR to help clients visualise not just space but data in three dimensions. They can give us feedback on projects while in VR, with HAD making changes to the original designs in real time, altering, for instance, lighting and ceiling heights.
We also used VR to help clients visualise options including finishes of wood, stone and marble. We needed a way to make quick, informed decisions between us, our interior designers, all the way to the staff proposed to work at the building. It’s a great tool for communicating to everybody, whether they understand architectural drawings or not.
That’s the whole idea. Practically nobody can understand architectural drawings, and even 3D visualisations are a stretch for most. But everybody gets VR automatically. You can get to the point very quickly. It either sells or kills the project right away. The VR glasses may be awkward and funny looking but they’re set to change how designers see and share their world.