As a practicing architect and 3D technology enthusiast, my initial experience with virtual reality (VR) was not walking through an architectural model, but rather a “Jurassic Park” short film that came with the purchase of Samsung Gear VR. It was an amazingly realistic animated scene, the experience through the VR lens was so real my 4 year old daughter had to take off her headset as the Brachiosaurus approached. At that moment, I realized virtual reality technology’s value and its potential to become an integral part of design.
In the following weeks, I collaborated with Dan Kraemer, MGA&D’s in-house visualization artist, to test and develop standard VR workflows for our office. We worked with a company called Insite VR to help translate our Revit and 3DS Max models to use with their cloud-based presentation platform which allows us to present anywhere in the world with the VR screen mirrored onto any projected display from a laptop. The advantage of this is there will be no guessing as to the particular views the person in Gear VR is looking at. With the addition of a Bluetooth wireless controller, a person can move freely within the VR model and look in any direction.
I walked around the building exterior in VR a few times only to discover views I’ve never imagined before.
In an early building model we tested, I walked around the building exterior in VR a few times only to discover views I’ve never imagined before. It was truly fascinating. Then I walked up and down the interior stairs exhaustively and realized how beautifully proportioned some of our interior spaces looked. I eventually found a few flaws and imperfections that I had to later fix in our design and I realized virtual reality is not just for presentation, but it is also an extremely useful tool to review and improve designs.
As a result of our implementation of virtual reality technology, we are able to collaborate with clients throughout the design process and allow designers and end users to experience the spatial qualities of our design long before it is built. We are very excited to be working with this technology and we hope to share with everyone more case studies in the near future.