Demetrios Tourtouras, BSBG Associate, explains why for architecture in Dubai, it’s time to become fully immersed in virtual reality – for designers, developers and building owners – from concept to completion.
In recent years the world’s leading architects have started to see virtual reality software, hardware and solutions placed in front of them by tech reps – keen to demonstrate that in a few short years this disruptive technology would be an established tool for design and visualisation.
Trialling began, more out of curiosity than expectation, and it quickly became apparent that, indeed, the possibilities offered up by VR present huge advantages across the board for everyone – from contractor, to developer, to end-client.
In terms of the Dubai architectural landscape, we are at the point where we can really expect our clients and partners to start to think this way too. Assessment of the best route for VR integration within BSBG design work began in earnest some time ago, and this is what we’ve found:
Designers can quickly and effectively communicate their designs in a way that leaves no scope for misinterpretation. Virtual reality provides the best method we’ve seen yet of conveying a concept from schematic design. The fact that we are able to now provide an immersive experience of the building design so early on in the process means that any ambiguity in presentation will become a thing of the past in the industry.
Virtual reality allows us as architects to utilise further the ever evolving possibilities represented by prevalent 3D software such as SketchUp and Revit. If the BIM revolution didn’t completely make 2D design tools obsolete, virtual reality almost certainly will.
The value of VR is undeniable, because by placing a VR headset in the hands of your client, you are providing an opportunity to see into the future – to see your vision, and to embrace it in the way you do, having designed it.
One of the disincentives associated with VR was cost and software compatibility, but we have seen in 2016 both of these objections fall by the wayside. Through the popularity of VR gaming and technical advances in this industry, VR is now affordable, software is now accessible and many software developers (such as Autodesk with 3ds Max and Stingray), have seen their VR software become the leading solutions within their product ranges.
We used to say in the future the architecture industry would at some point move into VR design, but that time is now upon us.
The ability to explore designs in immersive 3D environments will lead to more effective buildings being built, and an environment even more suited to the purpose for which it was intended.
As a practice that has always been quick to embrace technological advancement in our industry, I expect it to be only a short period of time before our clients are being guided through a walkthrough of their new project by one of our architects – and if you cast your mind back just a few years, the possibility of this and the potential it represents for our industry is nothing short of astonishing.