Virtual Reality in Architectural Visualization

Immersive VR from a sketch or idea

Finally, the technology is here. Working up an immersive experience from a simple sketch or idea. VR will really change the way we see things in a lot of areas from entertainment to visualization. Within the next 10 years the non-linear, exponential growth of this technology will be very visible. For now, it has taken roughly 30 years since VR hit the public eye for this tech to finally be ‘ready’ for many applications. Few have seen it as more than a novelty (as often new tech comes). But it is not anymore.

The opportunities for Virtual Reality in architectural visualization, pre-sales marketing and other real development projects are present now. We can suspend disbelief. Fully immersive, beautifully lit interiors and exteriors with pristine and real finishes are possible to explore. Shadow, massing and visualization studies done on site, virtually, long before ground breaking. The feeling of standing in front of a 6 story contemporary structure, admiring its finishes long before it’s built is epic.

Reality in this context is more than ‘realistic’, it is a sense of space created through lighting, materials/finishes and the right visual cues. Scale and mass are easy (although irrelevant in an infinite space), however creating an inviting sense of space is complex and requires much more than a floor plan in CAD. Interior designers, architects, hardscape designers could all benefit from a ‘vision to experience’ workflow that has been unavailable previously. Many areas of endeavor, especially in the iterative creative fields will benefit immensely from this ‘freeing’ technology.

Nectar is exploring and utilizing Virtual Reality for artistic projects, trade show and architectural visualization. The R&D shown here depicts 2 environments developed in Unity to take full advantage of “room scale” VR. Room scale refers to the ability to walk around physically in the space as opposed to standing in one spot.

The above piece puts the participant into an inviting, infinite space with a scale model of a contemporary structure. Built with detail, finishes and presented in a somewhat familiar setting this model replaces physical models and allows for a variety of presentation options, including a full scale building to compare with perhaps? (That was unexpected.)

The interior shown below is a contemporary space populated with a few basic pieces to give a nod to interior style. Materials and lighting are mostly complete (aside from style/finish specifics). We have control over all finishes and hardware in play. An interactive daylight system offers control of Time of Day lighting. This environment is walkable and navigable via ‘transporting’, a popular navigation method in VR to cover large distances.

Posted by: Billy Jack

Posted in: Blog.

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