Only 10 years ago, taking a virtual tour of a building only happened in science-fiction movies. But with the rise of technology, that is now not only possible but becoming a practice in the design-based industries.
You might have heard about Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) as entertainment devices. That, we can all admit, is a great use of these new technologies. But that is not where their purpose ends.
It turns out that VR and AR can also be used in fields such as architecture, transforming the industry completely and making it one of the most interesting career options of the 21st century.
We know that VR and AR are terms that are thrown around a lot lately. But what do these mean exactly? Let’s clear that up before we get into how they fit in the world of architecture.
What Are Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR)?
VR is a simulation of a 3D image or environment that you can interact with. With the use of the right electronic devices, such as special goggles, you can experience virtual reality as if it were physical reality. In architecture, that would mean that you could experience a building or a factory you designed before construction has even begun.’
Here’s one example of what that would look like.
AR, on the other hand, is a modification of a real-life environment. That modification includes adding digital elements to the real world, such as sounds and visuals. Using AR, architects can view a 3D model of a design at a job site, allowing them to visualize the changes that might need to be made.
As its name suggests, MR is a combination of virtual and augmented reality. It is a blend of the physical and the digital world. Mixed reality is important for future architects because it allows interaction between real and virtual objects.
That is a short overview of these technologies that will help you understand why they are important for architecture. If you want to read up more on VR, AR, and MR, you should check out this article about VR and AR in architecture.
Upsides of Using VR and AR in architecture
VR and AR are already a big part of the design process for architects. These devices allow the architects and their clients to get the feel of the buildings before the construction process begins. It’s safe to say that VR/AR technologies are here to stay — they can only be better from now on. With them, the architecture industry will grow in ways never seen before. But how exactly is VR/AR used in architecture? Here are some of the biggest improvements made with the help of these new devices.
VR/AR Allows More Creativity
While AR/VR is still somewhat new in the industry, it already allows architects to explore more interesting designs. Before, it would not be possible to try out bolder ideas, simply because architects couldn’t be sure if it would work. Now, on the other hand, they can see what their building would look like in virtual reality. That means they can express their creativity in more innovative ways. And if their idea can’t be executed in reality, they haven’t spent too much time or resources on exploring the idea.
VR/AR Shortens the Existing Process
Architects do appreciate the ability to try some new designs with the help of VR/AR. But what they love even more about these new technologies is how much they simplify the existing design process. The use of VR/AR prevents the architects from making so many mistakes. The reason for that is simple — they can explore the building virtually and catch any slip-ups fairly quickly.
You have probably noticed some buildings around your city that feel out of place. Well, that’s in the past now. With AR, designers can even see what their building will look like in the very location it is going to be built. That allows them to make the building fit in better with the existing environment.
VR/AR Makes a Better Presenting Option
Sometimes, having a good pitch is as important as having a good design. So when presenting to a potential client, VR/AR will be the way to go in the future. In fact, that future is already here — in a BBC show called Your Home Made Perfect. Check it out if you want to see how important it is to be able to present your ideas in such a way. It’s a great addition to the architecture industry because when you’re showing your project, you want your client to be able to visualize the building. And is there a better way to help them do that than a virtual representation they can walk around in as if they were in the place itself? Highly unlikely.
The Future of Architecture: What Does This All Mean for the Industry?
VR/AR software is transforming the industry in ways no one could have predicted 10 or 15 years ago. So it’s difficult to say what technology will bring us in the next 10 or 15 years. One thing’s for sure, though. The architecture sector has an amazing opportunity to grow. With VR, AR, and MR, industry experts believe that they will be able to not only improve their designs but also change the way our physical world is built.
Companies that decide to invest in these technologies now will be able to set themselves apart as leaders in the years to come. Likewise, future architects should look for opportunities to learn more about VR/AR software and its use in practice. That is what will make them stand out to future employers.
Technology only moves forward, and by the looks of it, these are the practices that are the future of architecture. Gone are the days when architects had to spend countless nights trying to figure everything out to the smallest details before they start the construction. From now on, the entire process will be much more efficient and much more exciting. Who wouldn’t want that job?
Written by Anna Liza Montenegro. Anna is a trained architect and director of marketing at Microsol Resources.