Will Virtual Reality Transform the Way Architects Design?

Will Virtual Reality Transform the Way Architects Design?

Over fifty years ago, Bob Dylan sang the words that we still know so well today, “the times, they are changing.” He was right.

We’ve seen change happen all around us. Architecture looked pretty different 50, 30, and even 10 years ago. The technology powering the industry has also evolved to keep pace. First, with a move from the drafting table to the computer screen with 2D CAD, and now to Building Information Modeling (BIM) where information-rich 3D models allow architects to create in unprecedented ways.

RPC characters are added to the visualization in Revit Live

Since the beginning of BIM, architects have been able to produce high-quality renderings and walk-throughs from their design models. With the introduction of cloud-based rendering tools, high-resolution visualizations became even more accessible to architects, speeding processing power from hours to minutes and removing the barrier of costly hardware. Even in the earliest stages of design, architects have used technology to get a much more accurate view of the final product before construction.

While static renderings and walk-throughs are effective for architects to visualize their design and share their vision with stakeholders, they are limited in their ability to communicate an experiential view of the design model. Technologies like virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) have filled this gap, enabling architects to fully understand, explore, and share their designs in new ways.

Thanks to innovations in design technology, visualization capabilities continue to evolve, becoming more accessible and affordable for every architect. According to a survey in CGarchitect, nearly 70 percent of architect respondents use virtualization technology in production or are planning to, while 77 percent of respondents experiment with the technology or are planning to experiment.

International Data Corporation (IDC) projects the AR/VR market to grow to more than $162 billion in 2020, making it clear that consumer expectations for AR/VR experiences, including those of architectural clients, are growing.

VR has become the ultimate tool to help architects interact with their designs and make better-informed decisions. The combination of full immersion, spatial awareness, and depth of interactivity enables a far more creative, efficient, and connected process for designing.

The sunlight adjusts based on BIM data from the user’s Revit model

Visualization matters. It’s really, really critical that people understand what they’re looking at and can contribute meaningfully to the dialogue, said Matthew Krissel, Partner at KieranTimberlake. You want experts and non-experts to be able to derive actionable insight from what they’re seeing.

While architects can use VR to validate their own design decisions during conceptual design, they can also use the technology to present to stakeholders during design review. VR enables clients to understand how the space will feel and function before it’s built, leading to better outcomes and happier clients.

With the introduction of the Revit Live cloud service, Autodesk has made this design technology accessible to any architect. Designers can quickly extend their Revit® and Revit® LT models into immersive visualizations and VR experiences, in one click. With a tight integration to Revit, BIM data is automatically transferred and accessible in a more meaningful context.

Using the “tap and go feature,” a user easily navigates through their model

And with an easy-to-use interface, architects can explore their model in a VR environment with the addition of the Oculus Rift or HTC VIVE™ hardware.

Revit Live makes it easier for designers to keep pace with the demands of the industry, meet client expectations, and leverage valuable data to design better buildings in new ways.

Step inside your design and explore your Revit model with a free trial of Revit Live.

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Cite: "Will Virtual Reality Transform the Way Architects Design?" 30 May 2017. ArchDaily. Accessed . <https://www.archdaily.com/872011/will-virtual-reality-transform-the-way-architects-design> ISSN 0719-8884

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