One of the biggest issues that faces Architects today is how can they adequately convey the vision of their project to their end customer. Currently, this usually happens with the aid of plans and models but this doesn’t always show an accurate depiction of the architect’s vision. Recent advances in computer technology has meant that 3D imagery has become the norm, leading to it becoming a standard tool in the modern architectural practice. Whilst 3D modelling is great it’s still not perfect. One of its limitations is that the fact that by its nature it is flat and this doesn’t always allow the customer to perceive the depth of the project. This is where Virtual Reality (VR) comes in. It allows the customer to experience a 360-degree view of the project, meaning that the customer is able to ‘see’ the actual building for themselves in a way that plans or models just can’t compete with.
VR is being used more and more in architectural practices. By doing so architects can transport their clients into a highly realistic, 3D world of their concept. They can actually walk through the building, perhaps stopping to look and examine certain elements of the design in greater detail. VR also gives the customer a much more accurate perception of the space and can help them to better visualise the finished site. For off-plan developments, this technology is amazing and can really help the buyer to imagine their future life in what, in reality, is just a big hole in the ground. It can even play the sort of music they might listen to when they’ve moved in. As well as helping a potential buyer, it can also assist the designer to validate certain elements of the concept to see whether they actually work in practice. In addition, the interactive nature of VR means that designers can experiment with several different options, for example changing materials or lighting.
So what does the future hold for VR technology and in particular its use in Architecture? We predict that as VR technology continues to evolve and improve there will be a wider variety of innovative applications to use the technology with. We also expect that VR will be much more widely used in the architectural design process and not just for presentation of projects to clients. It’s widely accepted by most experts that within 5 years VR will be almost as convincing as the real thing. Big claims indeed. Lastly we believe that Developers will make much better use of VR in marketing their projects. Who knows, perhaps sometime in the not so distant future, this technology may even be available in the form of contact lenses. Far-fetched I hear you say, well only time will tell…
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