How Virtual Reality Made Us Better Architects


Architects and designers don’t need to wear the Oculus Rift goggles to know how virtual reality transformed their work and career for the better. It’s true and everyone can taste how good it is.

Virtual reality, dubbed as “a whole new way of designing”, was able to shake up the entire architectural industry as a theory even before 2016. A year after, almost 77% of the architecture and design firms all over the world are experimenting on virtual reality. Meaning, more architects and designers are sharpening their skills with this tool, in pursuit of breaking in the industry. The more architects get involved with VR, the better they shape this craft’s future.

Virtual reality pushed us to the boundaries of visualization

Traditionally, architects have blueprints and 2D/3D images and scale models. When virtual reality got in the limelight, it gave design professionals a new way to plan and present a design to their clients.

With VR, designers can immerse you in a computer-generated environment. They close you off completely from the outside world so you can experience your project before it’s even built.

With that in mind, architects must strive to put their clients in a photorealistic room. The higher the levels of detail they see, the bigger the impact on their behaviour. Their clients might feel convinced that they are their avatars and they’re moving in a real space. With VR, architects can make you see not just what a space will look like, but also what it will feel like.

photorealistic room

Is photograph a completed room or a 3D computer-generated render? [Superdraft, Houzz]

We build your dream structure is faster than ever before

Since designers can simulate life-like experiences with VR, it’s easier for the client to communicate what they want in the design. They can confidently ask questions and make suggestions to make the final design better. The clients automatically engage themselves in the design process, making collaboration easier for both parties.

Think about it—the entire building process will be faster if the architect and the client work as a team. As a client, when you already know and saw where your money is going, the more likely you’ll buy the design. The architects and the builders then may proceed to construction. Sooner or later, you’ll be moving into your new home or property.

We’re careful in partnering with builders

The ability of VR to create stunning, photorealistic images increases the client’s expectations. There’s no problem with that—in fact, it’s challenging. Architects need to deliver something better than what the computer created. To do that, we carefully partner with builders. It’s a shame when a project ends a disaster after putting so much time and effort in the design.

At the end of the day, we still give it our best shot

At the end of the day we still give it our best shot

A lot of design firms and architecture companies will use virtual reality as a unique selling proposition. The idea of VR will most likely excite you to grab their services.

Here’s the thing: this VR technology grows and changes at an incredibly fast rate. Yesterday, we had an interface similar to a computer game. Now, we have augmented reality and mixed reality in architecture well. Not everyone has the resources to cope up with that change. So, look beyond what firms show you. The perfect VR experience doesn’t always mean better service. If you can find a firm that can hit both targets, the better.

This guest article comes from Charlene Ara Gonzales, the design writer in Superdraft Pty. Ltd.’s team of architects in Gold Coast, Queensland. In 2016, they launched their own virtual reality platform called VIZ 360.