Virtual reality (VR) is revolutionizing the architecture industry, creating a new world of possibilities for architects and designers. By utilizing this technology, users can explore designs in an immersive environment that gives them a much better understanding of their creations.
With so many applications in this field, it’s no surprise that more and more architects are using it to enhance their work. This guide looks at some creative uses for virtual reality in architecture.
What are the uses of virtual reality in architecture?
Architects can use VR to visualize projects, collaborate more effectively, and assess how builds are progressing. They can also conduct walkthroughs with stakeholders for more detailed, informative presentations.
You may also want to check out some creative uses for VR in interior design.
1. Visualize entire projects in 3D
One of the most impressive capabilities of virtual reality is its ability to create detailed 3D renderings of building projects.
Architects can visualize what the finished building will look like from any perspective, giving them a much better idea of how the design will fit into its surroundings and allowing them to make any necessary adjustments before construction begins.
Did you know? VR is also a useful tool for real estate agents? Find out how in this article.
2. Design buildings
Architects can build structural models using industry-specific software without having to construct anything physically. They save time and money while still getting a realistic representation of their designs. Modeling allows for quick testing of new features and plan alterations without breaking ground on a project.
3. Collaborate with stakeholders
VR makes collaboration between stakeholders easy. Rather than requiring all parties to be present in the same room, virtual reality allows everyone to interact with one another from anywhere in the world. This can help save time and money while making it easier for everyone involved to stay on the same page.
Further reading: Check out some handy uses for VR in the automotive industry.
4. Assess construction progress
One of the biggest challenges architects face is keeping track of progress during construction phases. Virtual reality allows them to assess progress quickly by simply walking through a digital version of their design. It enables them to identify problems before they become too costly or time-consuming to fix further into the project.
5. Provide interactive walkthroughs
Virtual reality also provides an excellent way for architects to showcase their designs. Instead of building a prototype, interactive walkthroughs give the relevant people an inside look at the plans.
VR provides architects with a heavy-hitting marketing tool. It gives customers more information and enhances satisfaction levels since they can experience what they’re buying ahead of time.
Check out this video which provides some useful technical information on what VR hardware and software works well in the architecture sector.
6. Conduct user tests
Testing is an essential part of any design process. Virtual reality gives architects an easy way to conduct tests remotely; instead of having people come into a physical location. Relevant stakeholders can test designs virtually and provide valuable feedback within the platform.
7. Test structural integrity
In civil engineering, inspecting structures in the field may be necessary. This can be costly, time-consuming, and dangerous. VR models can also test various parameters, such as load limits and structural integrity. Experts can use apps to get data from the site in question and review it collaboratively in a virtual environment.
8. Create dynamic visuals
Although traditional rendering methods have existed for decades, modern technologies like VR provide more dynamic visuals. Designs use lighting and other digital effects that cannot be achieved with traditional methods alone.
9. Staff training
VR simulations allow the training of employees at scale and result in better information retention. Not only does this technology reduce the cost of training people manually, but it also helps improve safety levels. Staff gain experience working on risk-prone sites in an office environment.
10. Connecting the architectural community
VR can connect people across the globe who share the same interests without the need for travel. Architects can meet to discuss the latest trends and technologies.
Disadvantages of VR in the architecture industry
A significant risk associated with virtual reality is a lack of physicality. Although it allows for design exploration, it doesn’t have the same tactile qualities as building something in real life. Architects may only get a complete understanding of how something looks or fits together once they start construction.
While VR is handy for minor adjustments, it’s not always suitable for significant changes. If designers want to make drastic alterations, they’ll have to go back to traditional 2D CAD software, which could slow down the design process.
Another disadvantage of using virtual reality in architecture is that it’s not always accessible. Not everyone has access to the hardware and software required to create virtual environments. Even if they have access, they may not be able to afford it.
Working with these tools also takes a certain level of skill and knowledge. While some will quickly pick up the new tech, others may need help implementing it in their processes.
What is needed to get started in VR for my business?
Hardware: A hands-free headset and hand-controlled motion sensors. You’ll also need a high-performance computer with a quality graphics card.
Enscape: A popular visualization tool that works with most design programs like Revit, Rhino, Sketchup, Vectorworks, and ArchiCAD.
It’s easy to see why some architects are turning towards VR technology. There are countless benefits available that just weren’t possible until recently.
Creating detailed 3D models efficiently, collaborating with stakeholders across multiple locations, and monitoring construction sites remotely are a few applications. Training personnel safely is also a game-changer for architectural firms.
VR developers have only scratched the surface of this industry, and plenty of work is still needed. While we don’t suggest going all-in on the technology at this stage, architects should keep a close eye on developments in their space.