VR technology, which entails creating a simulated version of what you experience in the real world, is making deep inroads into almost every commercial field. Of all the myriad segments of trade and commerce that are reaping the benefits of VR applications, two industries deserve special mention-architecture and design. Virtual Reality, together with its concomitants, AR (augmented Reality), and MR (Mixed Reality), is influencing the world of architecture in an unprecedented manner.
That architect will invariably bank on VR for creating blueprints of modern-day structures may become a reality sooner than later. Virtual Reality will have a crucial role to play in nearly all design-oriented industries, including interior design. Architects and designers have always struggled to assure their potential customers that projects, when completed, would look much better than their 3D or 2D projections.
But with the escalating interaction of VR, AR, and MR with architecture and design, businesses engaged in these industries are experiencing an irreversible transformation. This article walks you through how VR is catalyzing the professional fields of architecture and design in ways that are benefiting all stakeholders. We also highlight the benefits that architects and interior designers can reap by effectively harnessing virtual Reality and augmented Reality.
How is Virtual Reality influencing architecture?
A plethora of industries is taking full advantage of virtual Reality for consistent growth and development. A few industries using VR to the hilt that deserve a special mention include the automotive, law enforcement, tourism, journalism, entertainment, marketing, recreation, and education. For instance, automobile engineers can create different prototypes using VR for having a fair idea of how a vehicle will look and function in Reality.
So it can be said without mincing words that VR is bringing about changes that designers and architects could not envisage even a decade back. There’s no gainsaying that virtual Reality can come in immensely handy for architecture and design professionals, enabling them to design projects that appear more realistic to their clients. From initial design mock-ups, to project collaboration, through to the finishing touches that make a building design go from good to high, virtual Reality possesses the capability to sell an idea better than any other medium.
As mentioned at the beginning of this article, one of the most significant challenges faced by architects is working with a client to convince them that a design works, before receiving valuable — and workable — feedback that can be integrated into a finished design. And the bigger the project, the more stakeholders it will inevitably involve. It’s unlikely that there will be one single decision-maker; instead, multiple people will be asked for their input on various aspects of a building’s design.
Getting all these people into a single room to discuss these design decisions can be incredibly difficult, not to mention time consuming and inefficient.
The interface of VR with architecture: Benefits architects stand to reap
VR for designers
When VR is revolutionizing nearly every industry, starting from automotive to healthcare, it’s hardly surprising that the design industry will not remain unaffected. Designers share a relationship with virtual Reality that is not only rational but also direct. Designers or interior designers have hitherto conceptualized the décor of a space or reconceived the current layout using analog or digital drawings.
So an interior designer smoothly graduating from analog and digital illustrations and representations to three-dimensional portrayals is like a duck taking to water. Designers have found it much easier to adopt VR and integrate the technology with their work compared to other professionals. Very few professionals have been able to take up virtual Reality as effortlessly and effectively as interior designers.
For most of us, the applications of VR are limited to gaming, movie viewing, or enjoying amusement-park style simulated rides. However, VR has dramatically evolved over the years as the technology’s claims are not only restricted to gaming. VR is finding extensive use in industries including but not limited to automotive, retail, education, healthcare, real estate, tourism, and entertainment. But when it comes to exploiting VR in interior design, the focus is more on communicating and presenting the design ideas to customers and less on ideation.
Professional designers have it easy to comprehend layouts and outlines of buildings, floor plans, and interior décors in two-dimensional formats. However, those who are not conversant with design specifics and details may find it challenging to interpret and understand 2D illustrations and projections of designs and blueprints. And this is precisely where VR can come to the aid of budding designers and clients as the technology facilitate a 3D projection.
Put viewing a three-dimensional image of the interior of a building or a floor is akin to seeing the layout in person. No wonder the demand for VR, AR, and MR design software applications has witnessed a tremendous surge of late. The majority of the state-of-the-art interior design software, tools, and apps such as SmartDraw, Sketchup, and HomeByMe now allow potential homebuyers to download and install concrete tiles, wallpapers, and paints.
You can use your smartphone’s digital camera to install a floor plan in the home you’re planning to buy. Additionally, you’ll be able to view and interpret how different paints and wallpapers look in an illuminated room containing replicated furniture. On the other hand, you’ll come across a wide variety of VR apps that let you customize the arrangement of furniture and furnishings in your dream home.
A few renowned brands like Lexington, Bernhardt, and IKEA have designed and developed proprietary software for displaying and promoting their products. There are VR software apps that enable you to measure a room or space with precision for directly extrapolating the layout on a live feed through your smartphone’s camera.
However, veteran designers are making the most of VR and AR, discovering a novel way to exploit the technologies.