Immersive Design: Transforming Architecture with Virtual Reality

Virtual reality and other kinds of 3D visualization have been with us for decades. Building Information Modeling (BIM) has been with us for decades, too. And while architects and designers have been working to create immersive experiences from BIM models since at least the Autodesk Cyberspace project in 1988, recent advances in processors, display technology, and cloud connectivity are expanding the possibilities enabled by immersive technologies. Today, architects, engineers, and designers are using VR and other immersive experiences to convey design intent, streamline the design and construction process, and even optimize designs.

Seeing Is Believing

MRV, the leading residential construction company in Latin America, builds and sells more than 20,000 new apartments every year. They have historically marketed their apartments by building full-scale, fully decorated sample units that potential customers can walk around in. Igor Macedo, CTO of IM Designs, helped MRV make the transition to a virtual reality experience that has resulted in significant savings. He sat down for an interview about his work at AU Las Vegas 2019.

Building a Land Bridge to Better

The ability to convey design intent in an intuitive way, even to people with no background in design or construction, is an important benefit of design visualization and immersive technology. And that was the original goal when Ryan Noyes, a technology strategist with engineering and design firm VHB, turned to immersive tech to accelerate approval of a new land bridge project at James Madison University in Virginia. In the end, though, the VR experience delivered additional unexpected benefits.

Insight for Better Buildings

Communicating design intent and improving collaboration is good. Actually improving design? That’s even better, and it’s what David Weir-McCall, a senior designer and digital design specialist for architectural firm CallisonRTKL, did with a recent research project that they called Insight.

The Experience of Design

BIM put data into our designs, but we haven’t always done much with that data. As immersive technologies have matured, they provide a powerful way to put that data to work. Whether it’s more aware stakeholders, more informed customers, more efficient workflows, or more ambitious designs, virtual reality and other 3D experiences give us new pathways to better understand the potentials of our built world and, ultimately, build better.

Entrepreneuring | curious thinker | technology advisor | photographer at stories by AMG | CTO of paradigm IT |