Architectural Virtual Reality

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Written by Taylan Tahir

Written by Taylan Tahir

Operating in a fast moving world, we are keen to continue to invest in new technology and know-how, developing our skills and expertise in communicating our designs with our clients. Over the past few years we have invested in software that enables realtime hardware rendering of our 3D models – the same technology that enables advanced graphics in today’s sophisticated video games and, for us, facilitates an immersive virtual reality experience of our designs.

Sevenoaks Nature and Wellbeing Centre, Competition Entry. 2017.

3D visualisation is one of a few key tools in our design arsenal and core part of our process. We produce all of our visuals in house as part of an iterative design process. We use this imagery to test options for composition, light, massing and materiality. These evolving images are shared with our clients and ultimately allow them to be involved in the journey and make the best decisions, together with us. Done well, a 3D visualisation can be very convincing but has its limitations, after all it is only a static image.

Interactive Floor Plans

We have used our project, Barnsbury House [LINK], as a pilot for new visualisation techniques including Virtual Reality (VR) and 360 degree renders.

Scanning QR codes on an ‘interactive floor plan’ unlocks a series of 360 degree views of the proposed internal spaces. These can be viewed any place with an internet connection, either directly from a smartphone or through a VR headset.

Lower and Upper Ground ‘Interactive’ Floor Plans for Barnsbury House.

Scan QR codes with your smartphone to view the internal spaces.

Virtual Reality

Wearing a headset from the comfort of home, it is possible to look up and get a feel for what it will be like to stand under a double height void; or understand just how much light will come through a new window. We are currently using VR to assess different sizing and rhythms of exposed timber roof beams and the amount of sky visible in between them (and daylight penetration).

While it is exciting to explore the design in this way, using VR also has a practical purpose. Communicating the design with clarity and making key decisions before construction is now more effective. Once the design stages of the project are complete our clients have the confidence to progress knowing exactly what will be created for them with less chance of changes (and associated costs) occurring later down the line.

Example of a 360 degree render created for Barnsbury House at RIBA Stage 2 Concept Design

Other Opportunities

We believe this powerful tool has much more to offer.

For our developer clients, we can now be even more convincing during the planning process. By ‘putting’ a planning officer on the street or giving them the ability to ‘walk around’ a proposal in context and experience it from true eye level we can reinforce the argument for a given proposal. This capability takes on added relevance during the current situation with Covid as many site visits with planners, whether pre app or during a planning application’s running, are held remotely.

When working collaboratively with a design team, we can convey complex spaces quickly and efficiently.

While working onsite with a contractor, we are able to show them a ‘digital mock-up’ with an exact detail or design intent increasing accuracy of construction.

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