In March 2016 the first generation Oculus Rift was released, changing the landscape of technology and gaming and bringing virtual reality into the mainstream. But this new technology also created a huge opportunity for modernisation within the architectural industry, providing the means for 3D architectural design to be showcased in a way that fully includes and immerses the client in their future property.

At Archilime we recognise and encourage the use of virtual reality as a way to communicate design and concept ideas and spoke to our Lead VFX and VR specialist Dom Cox, to get his scope on this growing area of industry.

“I would sum it up as a new technological leap in communicative technology. We went from hand drawings to CAD from models to CGI visualizations and now VR gives us the possibility to dive into, move around and view an environment from a human perspective. The communicative power of fully immersing a client in a prospective project outways anything we have had at our disposal previously and it really does stand out as a quantum leap in our ability to communicate that which does not yet exist.”

Opposed to the older generations this new headset, the Oculus Quest, offers a higher resolution twin OLED display, enriching the colours shown within the virtual reality image and creating a more comfortable viewing experience. The other stand out feature of the Oculus Quest compared to previous models is the inclusion of 4 external sensors on the headset which track the user within the space and take away the need to set up individual sensors around the room. This enables even more realistic room scale experiences within the VR arena and much improves the headsets qualification for use within the architectural industry.

It is of course worth noting the benefits of the Oculus Quest compared to the Rift S, the upgrade on the original Oculus Rift. Whereas the Quest is the companies first stand alone headset, the Rift S must be connected to a computer to receive the majority of its computing power, with some feeling like this takes away from an easy and quick set up. The Rift S however, just like the Quest, uses external sensors on the headset to track the user around the VR space, taking away the need for sensors to be set up around the room. It is true that the Quest offers a lower quality of graphics due to not being connected to a computer; however this is seen as a perfectly acceptable trade off. Without the limitation of cables tethering the headset to a computer the user is completely liberated and gains a huge level of personal immersion, ultimately improving the virtual reality feel and experience.

Virtual Reality enables a common ground and communication median for all the construction stakeholders, inviting a truly collaborative experience for both Client and Architect. With so much of the success of a project laying on the synergy of expectation and reality,  the technology associated with virtual reality can weld the two, ensuring success and client satisfaction from beginning to end.

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