Virtual Reality is changing the way architects are working on the processes of their designs and the way clients and others are visualizing spaces. It is creating a revolution of sorts in the way the digital tools are aiding and influencing the physical world of today.
Architects and designers are gradually working with and analyzing the benefits of the virtual imagination and almost identical representation of reality. It offers a competitive advantage against computer-built 3D renderings, which can only go so far in creating an accurate feel of the building. VR, however, takes a large step forward by allowing the user to walk through and see each detail.
Apart from this, it gives an added advantage making the customer experience a proposed building on a more intricate level, it is also more likely that the client will choose the design he has understood and experienced better. It is believed that VR gives the experience of the structure, which is certainly different from merely looking at drawings and 3D renderings leaving the design to the imagination.
Competition and the struggle to get projects can be an easier process if architects decide to take one step ahead in the digital circuit. VR is the next step in the way we imagine spaces, hence, staying ahead of the game will certainly help architects do better business and get more projects in their pocket. This will also profess one’s firm to be an innovator and digitally at par with an enormous industry trend at the moment.
The investments are minimal for the kind of results and outcomes they give, at present, the VR equipment is available at Rs. 27,000 for an Oculus Rift and Rs. 77,000 for the HTC Vive on Indian online portals. These costs can be great one-time expenses and will be easily recovered with the first project they manage to bag using it.
Since these equipment help explain the projects with much ease, and also give the clients a very clear illustration of the projects it leaves lesser room for multiple corrections and amendments to projects, something the architects’ firms are rather accustomed to do. This process can help ease the process of design and avoid elongation of the time required for the project to reach the conclusion of its design stage. This will in-turn reduce the time taken to execute the project and benefit all the parties to a great extent. These VR scenarios can also help replicate real-life scenarios such as a fire in the building and the time one will take to reach from one point to the exit. Other scenarios can also be replicated such as the way the lighting in the building is changing and developing as one is moving through the spaces.
At some architecture offices, this is already happening, for example, at a dedicated VR station inside the Los Angeles office of John A. Martin & Associates, employees strap on an eye-tracking headset and navigate using handheld controllers through 3D models created by a BIM software. Visualizing a design in this context lets users detect structural irregularities they might otherwise miss.
These aspects may only be on the surface of what lies in the future of the Virtual reality world. We see a great opportunity for designers and engineers that will move beyond visualization to actually create structures and products from scratch in VR. What if design can happen with the use of an eye-tracking headset and, with the movement of the hands and wrists, one can grab a footing, scale a model, push it, extrude it, and model its form? Programs like the Google Tilt Brush let’s one paint in a 3D VR environment, and could signal to what lies ahead of us for creating design projects in VR. It, ofcourse, seems extremely futuristic, much like most episodes of the new Netflix series Black Mirror, however, appear totally believable in the future when we will move to a transformed virtually digital world.
The future of VR could move away from being dependent on the VR headset and then further having to make changes on mouse-and-keyboard software to make changes. Architecture and manufacturing design software could be innovatively combined to create an extensive immersive environment, as well as provide tools within to interact with and make changes to the design.
In India, things are slowly picking up in terms of the VR realm in the architecture and the construction fraternity. However, there lies a logistical problem in terms of experiencing the design. Since most of real estate projects are combined decisions between many people, and using the Oculus or the virtual reality lens is only for one person, it can be experienced only singularly. Others can view the same on screen hence the whole group cannot immerse into the process together, something the architects are attempting to express in a plural way. As on today, since the experience is very digital and is developing on its human interface, users have complained of dizziness after the experience.
About Team One Architects (TOA)
Founded in 2001, they’ve completed more than 400 projects and designed and built 60 lacs plus square feet. Known for iconic projects and steadfast commitment to design excellence, innovation, and sustainability, they recently bagged the DNA 2015- Best Architecture Firm Award as well.keyrole in the firm by holding the position of Director, Partner and Strategist. Visionary & Progressive, Aditya’s proficiency in manning the Architectural ship is commendable. In this article, which he himself authored exclusively for Surfaces Reporter Magazine, Aditya went in-depth to speak about – Virtual Reality and its role in architecture and design.
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