Ever since I tried a virtual reality headset at the Edinburgh Fringe one year, I've been fascinated with VR and it's potential in Architecture. So much so that I've been investing in the latest tech, and now offer it as an integral part of the service of Nicholls Architecture and Design - take a look at the latest VR project here: www.nichollsarchitecture.com/new-build-buckinghamshire.
As of the beginning of 2017, all my projects will be VR enabled meaning that from the earliest stages clients will be able to experience not only how their future projects look, but how they feel. Since all my work is done using the software Revit (see how architects work for more info), VR is something I can offer at no added expense.
VR offers so much more than just some fancy visuals. Over Christmas I subjected my in-laws to trying it out on some projects I've been working on. Overwhelmingly they went in thinking it was going to be a gimmick, and came out completely on board and more importantly asking some interesting questions about the project that wouldn't have come up in 2D presentation. The great thing about VR in domestic architecture is that it requires no special skill or experience to understand what is being shown, making it an amazing tool for conveying design ideas to people who may not be familiar with reading construction drawings.
If you've not tried it, it's difficult to explain why virtual reality is so powerful... but I'm going to try anyway! Imagine looking at a photo of the Empire State Building. Now imagine you are in New York, standing at the base of it looking up. It's massive, towering over you, and you suddenly get a feeling for just how tall it is - something that the photo or any amount of dimensions and statistics could ever make you feel. The experience of VR is so much closer to that feeling than looking at a 2D image, and that's why it's so exciting.
So applying this to a domestic project, think about those situations where it's difficult to visualise how a design might look and feel. Things like the room created by a loft conversion - will the sloping ceiling make it feel cramped or will it actually be quite spacious? Or on a bungalow conversion, what will the view out of the new upstairs window look like?
So what is the best thing about this? From the first design concept it is possible to step inside the model in VR and take a look around. Making big decisions about designs early on is vastly more cost effective than changing your mind once you've started building, and I'm hoping that by offering VR from the start it will help clients make these decisions. No doubt I will be posting more on VR in the future as my projects progress, but in the meantime if you're reading this and are interested in seeing what it's all about why not give me a call for a demonstration!