In the last 20 years, architecture has been led by BIM, transforming traditions of hand drawings to the computational power of 3D modeling. These developments have always been made with the purpose of driving efficiency, particularly in the context of communicating ideas and information.

Virtual reality (VR) is fast becoming the next step in communication for architecture. As an immersive technology, VR brings communication to a new stage of BIM and allows you to step into a true-to-scale simulation of your design before ground has ever been broken. In the very near future, VR will play an integral role not only in client presentations, but at all stages of the design-to-construction process.

Be fluid and explore where technology allows you to go (Photo by Max Ostrozhinskiy on Unsplash)

The challenge for architects today is not getting left behind as this new wave approaches. It might be tempting to wait until VR becomes widely adopted before you try it for yourself but can you really afford to wait when technological adoption rates are moving faster and faster? In this article I’ll explain how using VR can benefit you, and why the best time to get started is right now.

Gain a competitive edge in client presentations

As an architect, you know that the outcome of a project depends heavily on your ability to effectively communicate with the client.

The biggest challenge lies in convincing your client that the finished project will match what they’ve envisioned. But no matter how detailed your blueprints or 3D models are, some things will always be left to your client’s imagination — especially things like spatial relationships and scale.

VR solves this problem by transporting your clients into a realistic simulation of your design that is fully interactive and precisely to-scale. It allows you to clearly communicate what your finished design will look like, but also what it will feel like.

Clients, now more than ever, have access to information right at their fingertips. With the boom of VR over the last 2 years in the architectural industry, clients soon will all be expecting a virtual walkthrough of their future space. It’s a great time to give your company an edge in the market and become leaders in architectural technology.

Radically streamline feedback and collaboration

The biggest pain point of working as an architect is moving the project forward  through multiple points of consensus.

Bigger projects will involve multiple stakeholders, each of whom need to weigh-in on different aspects of the design. Not only is getting all of these stakeholders in the same room difficult and time-consuming, but they’ll all come in with slightly different mental models of what the building looks like.

VR presents your stakeholders with a single source of truth, and radically streamlines the feedback and collaboration process.

Walking through a simulation of your design, clients can give clear and specific feedback on what they like and dislike. As a designer, you can action on their requests immediately by making real-time adjustments, giving them the opportunity to instantly visualise and affirm their decisions.

This saves considerable time going back-and-forth in the revision process, allowing all parties to move forward with greater clarity and confidence.

Why NOW is the best time to start using VR

VR is transforming the architecture industry, and forward-thinking companies are already leveraging its power to streamline their workflows and deliver unprecedented value to their clients.

Don't get so attached to paper when the whole world is moving away from it... (Photo by Thomas Charters on Unsplash)

The time to get on board is NOW.

The biggest challenge with any new technology is integrating it into your company’s processes. VR itself is incredibly intuitive to learn but as with anything new it takes time for organic adaption. The earlier you get on board, the more time you have to experiment with the technology and incorporate it in your team’s workflow. VR is booming, and the innovations will keep coming: by learning the basics now, you’ll be able to fluidly adapt to new technologies instead of struggling to implement them later.

Now is the time to start experimenting with how your studio will optimize VR in the future.

Start using VR today, so you have time to experiment with the technology and realise its full potential. When the rest of the market catches up, you’ll already be ahead of the game.

How to get started

  1. Get a computer that is VR ready. You need at least a 1060 graphics card.
  2. Get a VR headset. The ones that currently run with River Fox are the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive.
  3. Make sure that you have enough space — you need deskspace if you’re using the Oculus Rift, or floorspace if you’re using the HTC Vive.

If you think you’re ready to learn more about how to adopt VR technology in your practice, book a FREE call with us and get personalized advice on which VR setup is best for you.