Virtual architecture: the revolution in architectural design?
In recent years, the two concepts of virtual reality and architecture have been going hand in hand. Virtual reality is changing our industry, and it is up to us as professionals to decide how we are going to respond to those changes. Can virtual reality really offer a competitive advantage?
At a time when the industry is gradually beginning to take off again, this new technology can help reduce costs and make it easier to present designs to potential clients. Virtual reality has become a strategic element for architecture and the real estate sector when looking for investors. By reproducing different spaces using Oculus Rift, Cardboard or Samsung 3D glasses, it is possible to show exactly what is going to be built or purchased.
There are now many potential applications for the industry:
1.- Exploration of virtual scenarios, either built or to be built.
2.- Presentation of architectural projects for building, selling or leasing.
3.- Recreation or visualisation of landscaping projects.
4.- Layout of interior items to meet the client’s tastes.
5.- Virtual tours through recreations of historical landscapes or works.
6.- Study of the structural behaviour of buildings subjected to different stresses.
Here are some examples of work currently being carried out by a number of architecture firms:
This movie shows a virtual reality, real-time tour through Ty Hedfan. It was made by technology firm IVR Nation with Unreal Engine 4, and it is compatible with VR platform Oculus Rift. The video is 90% realistic; in the demo version, potential clients can change wall and floor materials, reposition lights, etc.
The uses to which virtual reality can be put are not exclusively geared towards clients and users. They ¡also offer new possibilities to architects and designers. Virtual reality tools that allow professionals to design spaces while immersed in them, using VR software and hand-operated motion controllers.
VRtisan has created a video showing the design process, in which an architect uses VR-games development software from Unreal Engine in combination with the HTC Vive headset and motion controllers.
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