VR’s Potential Effect On Architecture

VR's Potential Effect On Architecture

Virtual and augmented reality are beginning to grow at a faster rate. More commonly abbreviated as VR and AR, these technologies took a little bit of time getting off the ground as mainstream, consumer-facing phenomena.

Very early on, there were articles proclaiming that VR had flopped like 3D television, and wouldn’t become a popular or ubiquitous technology. Now, however, with the industries behind this tech having had a chance to find their footing and focus on improvement, the growth is coming.

VR and AR still aren’t ubiquitous, but they’re getting closer. And according to at least one projection we should expect a 52 percent growth rate for the next five years.

Much of this growth will be expected to come via video games. It’s games that largely introduced the world to VR in late 2015 and early 2016, and then again to AR in late 2017 (unless we count the year-early release of Pokémon GO on mobile devices, which did work in augmented reality).

And it’s through games that we’re already taking note of growth and expansion. Early last year we learned that online casino games were being taken into a new dimension via VR, effectively opening an entire branch of the video game world to the tech.

Later in 2017 we saw the first examples of mainstream AAA console games (which basically means the highest quality ones) easing into VR.

And AR now has its own category in mobile app stores where the latest games are advertised like front page news. In short, every little bit of VR/AR growth in gaming is noted.

A 52 percent growth rate projection encompasses a great deal more than new video games however. A number like that speaks to very real concept of VR and AR affecting far more of our world than just the corners of it occupied by video games.

The technologies are being used for practical, business, creative, and educational purposes as well. And included in the increasingly broad range of applications for VR and AR is architecture.

As a matter of fact, articles are already being written suggesting that AR and VR – together known as mixed reality – have he potential to revolutionize the design process. One such article delved into the experience of a design team meeting up in a virtual world, within the building that’s under construction.

It’s actually a fairly straightforward concept to grasp once you recognize the general idea. Advanced virtual modeling can essentially form a detailed, scaled simulation of a project that can actually be explored in space that feels physical.

Teams can test out ideas and see how they work out, get a feel for proportion and exact measurements, and in some cases even see how a given project fits into and interacts with its intended environment.

Ideas can be shared from a world away, such that an architect can work remotely, or a team can get together without actually being in the same physical space.

Of course, a lot of architects and city designers will contend that there’s no substitute for being on an actual building site and seeing things coming to life, and that’s perfectly fair. But this aspect of the job doesn’t have to – and likely won’t – disappear.

VR and AR are merely making things more convenient from start to finish, allowing teams to work more efficiently and making the creative process more exact and more immersive.

It’s a thrilling and massive shift, and it’s going to happen very quickly judging by how we’ve seen mixed reality developing so far.