Exploring the Benefits of Virtual Reality in Architecture Visualization

Technology advancements have provided architects with various options, such as 3D-printed models, computer-generated imagery, and virtual reality. While these tools have their limitations, architects are increasingly turning to virtual reality to provide a more immersive experience for clients.

Architectural projects are incomplete without visual aids that can help non-architects envision the project in a tangible and easily digestible format. With technology progressing in leaps and bounds every passing year, there are many visual aids at the disposal of architects, including 3D-printed physical models, computer-generated imagery, and the increasingly popular virtual reality.

A 3D-rendered image, while realistic and pristine, may not be enough to convey the ‘feel’ of a project. Similarly, 2D renderings, physical models, and blueprints help clients understand the connectivity of spaces, but they cannot help them understand the experiences within these spaces. The limitations of these architectural visualization tools have compelled an increasing number of architects to turn toward VR.

Source: Pixabay
What is Virtual Reality?

Virtual reality refers to a computer-simulated 3D environment that users can interact with. While VR technology is yet to develop into a fully immersive environment where people can engage all their senses, it allows them to move around and explore various virtual surroundings. In most cases, users need to wear VR gear such as helmets, goggles, or gloves to experience the best of virtual reality through touch, sound, and sight. Thanks to the realistic sensory engagement it provides, VR technology is being used in several industries, including medicine, real estate, and architecture.

Source: Archdaily
Benefits of Virtual Reality
1. Enhances The Collaborative Design Experience

Every architecture firm has its own design language. When new members are added to the team, it is essential that they familiarize themselves with the firm’s design principles to help maintain its visual identity. Virtual reality can be a useful tool to help new team members get acclimated to the firm’s design language and unleash their creativity. They can visualize existing projects with the help of VR and can learn at their own pace. They can further explore the design elements they find the most interesting without actually having to go to the site.

VR technology also enables the creation of visual tours and models for remote teams before they start working, providing everyone with a clear idea of their roles in the project. This collaborative design experience fosters an environment of creativity and innovation.

Source: Freepik
2. Improves Client Experience

Virtual reality is an accessible tool that can improve communication between an architect and their client. Designers can use VR software like Unreal Engine and Unity to easily create virtual environments, which clients can then experience through affordable devices like head-mounted displays (HMDs). 

 

With the help of this visual aid, architects can convey ideas, no matter how complex, to their clients by transporting them into an immersive 3D representation of the project. The interactive 3D environment gives clients a better and more accurate vision of the project through a real sense of scale, depth, and space. Unlike traditional 2D drawings or renders, where the client may need some technical knowledge to understand the conjunction of spaces, VR allows a person to understand the design with much more ease.

 
Source: Freepik
Guides Space Management And Anthropometry

In order to effectively understand and design a space, architects need to be able to imagine its spatial characteristics and relations. VR technology makes this process easier by helping designers manage the existing space more effectively. It can also help guide conversations about user-specific design and anthropometry.

The technology helps architects find design inefficiencies much quicker, thus saving them time. By simulating the experience of walking through a room or building, designers can also test and improve the functionality of its spaces, leading to a real-time design experience and a continuous feedback loop.

Source: Archdaily
Helps With Lighting Design

In most cases, architects and lighting designers use mathematical calculations to design luminaires and decide their numbers and positions. Although this is quite effective, a certain degree of guesswork is always involved. VR technology gives designers a more tangible representation of lighting, helping them test and improve light intensity, colour, and exposure.

Additionally, giving a clear visual representation of how light interacts with different textures and surfaces within a space helps architects reduce glare and light blocking. Questions such as whether the amount of light a window lets in will be enough can be answered much quicker in comparison to conventional calculations.

 

Source: Freepik
5. Gives Architects A Competitive Edge

For any architectural practice to succeed, it must keep up with emerging technologies and utilize them effectively. In a world that is becoming increasingly digital, VR can give architects a competitive edge when it comes to conveying ideas to potential clients and investors, thereby directly impacting the firm’s sales.

For example, if two architects compete to win a project, VR can give either of them an extra edge, giving the client the message that the architect is fully prepared. It assures them that the architect knows what they are doing, especially since they can feel and experience the final product even before it is built. Moreover, VR can also help cultivate client relationships, as it provides a personalized user experience for them.

Although still in its infancy, virtual reality is rapidly changing how non-architects experience spaces. Immersive 3D environments, when widely adopted, have the potential to improve team and client communication, create a personalized experience for said clients, and help architects make the best of their resources, such as time and money. When used in tandem with existing marketing strategies, it can boost growth and create more exciting opportunities to innovate.

Source: Freepik
Written by

Estefania was very kind and professional to work with. A little difficult for the different local times to work with different artists but they put great effort to sort the problems out but it could end up with some delays. All the renders were very good in the end. thanks again

Pasquale Pinto
Redfish Design