Virtual reality is architecture’s next big game-changer 

Submitted by Katy Tomasulo on Thu, 11/14/2019 - 00:03
{"version":"0.3.0","atoms":[],"cards":[],"markups":[["a",["href","https:\/\/\/resources\/6151-firm-survey-report","target","_new"]],["b"],["i"],["a",["href","http:\/\/\/blog","target","_new"]],["em"]],"sections":[[1,"h2",[[0,[],0,"As improvements to virtual reality technology continue at a rapid pace, AIA partner ConstructConnect explores how architects can reap the benefits."]]],[1,"p",[[0,[],0,"Of all the technology being adapted and developed for the AEC industry, our experience in the technology sector and monitoring trends reveals that virtual reality may have the biggest impact on architectural firms in the coming years. The visualization and interactivity that virtual reality delivers provides architects a better way to present how their designs will look to clients. "]]],[1,"p",[[0,[],0,"Architecture firms are already seeing the benefits of virtual reality. According to the "],[0,[0],1,"AIA Firm Survey Repor 2018"],[0,[],0,", 16% of architecture firms are currently using virtual reality in their practice. The report also shows that more than 25% of firm leaders surveyed state that virtual and augmented reality are having an important impact on the industry today, and 66% believe that the technology will have a significant impact within the next five years. "]]],[1,"h3",[[0,[1],1,"Recent advancements in virtual reality technology"],[0,[],0," "]]],[1,"p",[[0,[],0,"Despite being around for decades, virtual reality has garnered a lot of attention over the last few years due in large part to a resurgence of tech companies competing to bring viable applications to market. Computer display technology and graphical interfaces have improved significantly over the last decade. The technology has advanced to the point that the promise of virtual reality can now be delivered, and at a reasonable price point. "]]],[1,"p",[[0,[],0,"Among the advancements:"]]],[3,"ul",[[[0,[],0,"Hardware and software advancements have resulted in improved renderings of 3D images and faster frame rates. "]],[[0,[],0,"Head tracking lag has decreased to the point that it\u2019s practically unnoticeable. (Perceivable head tracking lag, poor renderings, and slow frame rates have been known to create nausea-inducing virtual reality experiences as well as cause headaches and eyestrain.) "]],[[0,[],0,"The portability of lightweight head-mounted displays has improved over older headsets, which were heavy and cumbersome. Peripherals such as game console controls, infrared sensors for motion tracking, and omnidirectional treadmills will allow a user to move about the virtual environment and interact with objects. "]]]],[1,"p",[[0,[],0,"For architects, another big advancement of note has been the process of converting a BIM model to virtual reality simulation. Newer software, including Autodesk\u2019s LIVE platform, IrisVR, and ArqVR, have automated the conversion process for creating immersive and interactive architectural visualization, making it easier to get started using virtual reality. "]]],[1,"h3",[[0,[1],1,"Creating a more immersive client experience"],[0,[],0," "]]],[1,"p",[[0,[],0,"Better project visualization will be a main driver for adoption of virtual reality by architecture firms. Unlike a 2D drawing, 3D CAD drawing, or 3D BIM model on the screen of a laptop or tablet, virtual reality allows a user to immerse themselves inside a full-scale 3D virtual environment and interact with the design just like they would in the real world. Imagine being able to walk through a virtual copy of the building, traverse hallways, and open doors and windows. "]]],[1,"p",[[0,[],0,"Virtual reality will provide architects, stakeholders, and end users a better understanding of the space and what a project will look like when completed. Changes and clashes can be easily detected and corrected before construction begins, helping to reduce costly, time-consuming changes once construction is underway. "]]],[1,"p",[[0,[],0,"Virtual reality also could lead to greater acceptance and implementation of BIM, since most VR applications are using BIM models and integrations with BIM software as the basis to create virtual environments. "]]],[1,"h3",[[0,[1],1,"Design benefits of virtual reality"],[0,[],0," "]]],[1,"p",[[0,[],0,"Perhaps most important, virtual reality will improve communication between and allow for instant feedback from all parties involved, including owners, architects, engineers, end users, and general and specialty contractors, thus speeding up the decision-making process. Multiple users in different locations can interact with the virtual environment at the same time. In virtual environments, designers can instantly change out design elements such as lighting fixtures, windows, and flooring materials, as well as incorporate furnishings, to get a real sense of how the finished space will look. "]]],[1,"p",[[0,[],0,"The technology also allows architects to gather data on how building occupants will interact within a simulated environment to inform design. This data can then be fed, along with other metrics, data points, and parameters, into generative design software to quickly run through all possible design permutations to deliver hundreds or even thousands of design alternatives. This can be used to increase daylighting, improve energy efficiency, enhance the productivity of building occupants, or identify the best building materials to use. "]]],[1,"p",[[0,[2],0,"Want more understanding of how technology is improving the architecture, engineering, and construction industry? "],[0,[3],1,"The ConstructConnect blog"],[0,[],1," covers the latest insights and trends on construction technology. "]]],[1,"p",[[0,[4],1,"AIA does not sponsor or endorse any enterprise, whether \npublic or private, operated for profit. Further, no AIA officer, \ndirector, committee member, or employee, or any of its component \norganizations in his or her official capacity, is permitted to approve, \nsponsor, endorse, or do anything that may be deemed or construed to be \nan approval, sponsorship, or endorsement of any material of construction\n or any method or manner of handling, using, distributing, or dealing in\n any material or product."]]]]}
As improvements to virtual reality technology continue at a rapid pace, AIA partner ConstructConnect explores how architects can reap the benefits.


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By creating a more immersive experience, virtual reality provides architects, stakeholders, and end users a better understanding of the space, reduces the need for changes after construction begins, and improves communication.
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