Nearly every project we do is modelled in 3D software, already providing our designers with the ability to visualise buildings with applied realistic materials and minute accurate lighting. This is great for designers who benefit from continual review of the building form, lighting, and materiality. Then add the next dimension of being able to get a sense of the space by immersing yourself inside the building. This is great for the designer, the client, and the end user.
In our Northbridge studio, we have a Dedicated In-house Virtual Environment Room (DIVER), where clients can walk through their designs in the comfort of a chair and at their own pace. The clients drive their own walk-through in the VR by means of easy to use hand controllers, which provides a wonderful sense of discovery as they choose where to look and where to go. Other people in the room can see what the person using the VR can see through additional connected monitors, which can also be shared through videoconferencing so that external parties can join the conversation.
VR aids our clients in visualising their projects in greater detail, within a more personal experience. We find this enhances our clients’ understanding of the design and how it will translate into a physical building, they get a greater sense of scale, spatial qualities, and how details will look. This improved communication of the design intent leaves less room for misunderstanding, increasing client confidence in the design and enabling them to make project decisions quicker. Overall, what VR provides is an invaluable tool for a greater comprehension of how a design will translate into a physical space, the feedback from this improves architecture outcomes for all.
1968: Ivan Sutherland demonstrates “The Sword of Damocles”, the first head-mounted display for AR.