Virtual Reality (VR)

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Brian Hubbard AIA

Architect/Virtual Reality Technology Leader Contact

Louis Johnson LEED GA, ASLA

Landscape Architect/Virtual Reality Technology Leader Contact

Virtual reality (VR) has transformed the world of architecture and design. Instead of relying on imagination to bridge the gap between 3-D digital models and the real world, new technology allows designers, clients and stakeholders to immerse themselves in a realistic and dynamic visualization of a project. Interpreting drawings and renderings to understand how a built project will be perceived in person often requires technical knowledge available only to experienced designers. VR puts everyone in the same 1:1 scale environment, where they can share a vivid glimpse into the future of a designed space. The option for self-guided navigation allows people to move away from pre-set paths and static images to better simulate the joy of discovery. Nuanced design factors, such as spatial relationships and the way that sunshine and shadows move across a building, can be observed in real time. VR also facilitates the quick study of multiple design options, accelerating the decision-making process, reducing conflicts, and decreasing the amount of costly design changes later in the process.

The value of VR’s environmental experience continues as an engagement tool, illustrating to the public how a project will impact their community. And VR is gaining momentum in other markets, with useful applications emerging for engineering infrastructure and manufacturing processes. Though the technology and software behind virtual reality are complex and ever-evolving, the real magic is in its ability to simplify and elevate understanding. Immersion shifts attention to spaces and experience, and adds a visceral, emotional layer so designers can observe reactions as they might happen in real life.. The lens of VR brings the design intent into sharp focus, strengthening trust and communication between project partners and paving a clearer path from virtual to reality. 

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