Virtual reality (VR) is being used to radically change how many industries work. Architecture and design are being revolutionized by the possibilities virtual reality offers. One long-time and major issue for architects and designers is getting clients to understand what the finished project will look like and, more than that, what it will feel like. Virtual reality offers clients the chance to experience the finished project while it’s still in the planning stages.
Virtual reality offers the chance to change the entire workflow for architects. From working out the initial design specs to changing how collaboration throughout the projects works, to deciding upon the final touches to take a project to a next level? Virtual reality can improve every step of the design process.
Large projects tend to have many stakeholders. Anything that helps communication flow between these stakeholders helps make for a major project. VR technology also means these people don’t need to assemble in one place for a meeting and go through floor plans, expensive handmade models, or 3D renderings. Instead, each stakeholder can actually virtually tour the proposed project. It makes it easier for everyone to understand the architect’s vision, but also makes the needs and wishes of the clients easier for the architect to understand.
How will virtual reality change the design process for architects and designers? A client who can walk through a project, flicking light switches, opening windows, and hanging up their coat as they come in the back door allows clients to offer far more robust and practical feedback they might not be able to verbalize otherwise. Recording this feedback and incorporating it into actionable changes that will make the client’s real-world experience in the finished design better will be vital for the successful completion of a project.
There are many reasons why architecture and design firms are investing in virtual reality. Considering the benefit, the start-up costs are relatively low. The costs can typically be won back by attracting one new client. The competitive edge virtual reality offers firms is another huge benefit. Clients are wooed by modern firms that will allow them unprecedented access to the design process. It goes beyond architecture, of course. Firms with their own interior design units also benefit because walking through a beautifully appointed room allows clients to understand the vision in a way fabric samples and pictures of chairs never will. Virtual reality software also offers a chance to save money by avoiding rounds of costly revisions. Clients who can walk through a project virtually will provide better feedback and the design can be changed in the (far less expensive) early stages of the process. It also allows for better planning of things like walkways and emergency exits.
Every day, designers look at 2D represents via floor plans, finish boards, and elevations and are able to properly envision what the finished space will look like. However, non-professionals often struggle with this. A wide variety of augmented reality kitchens and other interior design apps have flooded the market in recent years. However, they were often difficult for professionals to use because they were focused on one brand’s product offerings. Now, the technology exists that allows designers to use a plethora of brands to create a virtual representation of the project.