Over the past few weeks, we’ve been discussing how technology is transforming architecture and engineering. From real-time renders to 3D scanning and printing, the virtual world is making construction faster, more efficient, and more precise than ever. It’s even making sites safer, as techniques like drone surveys enable us to access those hard-to-reach areas that would have once compromised health and safety.
Today, we’re going to move on to one of the most futuristic developments in building design: virtual reality simulations. Virtual reality or VR helps us explore a simulation of a 3D image, enabling architects and clients alike to immerse themselves in the design. It might sound gimmicky, but the reality is that there are a whole host of advantages. We’ll take a closer look here.
VR and the design team
The opportunity to visualise a space during the design stage is invaluable. Often, kinks in the concept are only perceptible after seeing the space in person. It then becomes a costly exercise making these changes. With the dawn of VR designs, architects can try and test different solutions and immerse themselves in the environment. This gives the design team the ability to make tweaks before the idea is rendered in bricks and mortar.
VR tools can also enhance collaboration between the design team and contractors. Different stakeholders will have different ideas about the end result and this creates the potential for miscommunication and errors. VR tools help the team collaborate more effectively as they can gain a deeper understanding of each party’s vision.
VR and the client
VR isn’t only useful for communication between the design team – it’s also invaluable for client relations. One of the hardest things about architecture and engineering is helping the client understand and visualise the finished result. Floor plans, renders, and models all help, but there’s nothing like providing an immersive experience. Clients can interact with the space, walk in and out of rooms, and experience the design as if it was completed.
This, of course, is a tremendous help when it comes to keeping the client happy. It enables changes to be made quickly, seamlessly, and with the maximum insight and collaboration with the client. This helps accelerate the decision-making process, while enhancing confidence in the final product – not to mention helping keep the project on schedule and within budget.
Could VR be the future of the built environment?
The potential of virtual reality-aided design is vast. We’re only just starting to utilise this technology to its fullest potential, and soon enough, VR tools will be as synonymous with building design as AutoCAD or the good old fashioned blueprint. It will help us experience a site as if it was already finished, helping us to fine tune designs like never before.
However, the true benefits of VR, like much technology, lies in its potential to help us communicate. The key advantage of this technology is its capacity to help architects and designers express their ideas, which ultimately, leads to smoother and more productive client relations.