Virtual reality and its role in architecture

On March 24th, I gave a presentation on real-time rendering and virtual reality (VR) at Midwest University 2016.

05/24/2016


On March 24th, I gave a presentation on real-time rendering and virtual reality (VR) at Midwest University 2016. Courtesy: CannonDesign

On March 24th, I gave a presentation on real-time rendering and virtual reality (VR) at Midwest University 2016. Midwest University is a regional architecture, engineering, construction conference held annually in Minneapolis. Straying slightly from this year's central theme of BIM process workflows, I presented an introductory course on VR-as many architects are just starting to embrace it, but they either don't know how to get started or don't know how to present it to their clients. Also, recent advancements in headset technology along with new software created specifically for the design industries have made VR much more accessible and affordable.

To define a few concepts and explain the three different VR experiences that we offer clients, I showed the audience how to use desktop VR to navigate a digital model in real time at nearly a photorealistic level, how to use immersive VR to place yourself in a digital model at a 1:1 scale, and how to use augmented reality (AR) to let users navigate a virtual scale model with a phone or tablet. With minimal effort, these technologies allow us to give our clients enough control to see and "experience" every part of their building, improving their understanding of the design and giving them a chance to make important decisions earlier in the design phase. Working with programs like Enscape, which interfaces directly with Revit, we can even send a stand-alone, executable file of a model that anyone can open, making it easier for clients to navigate our models on their own.

The presentation concluded with a few step-by-step workflows that CannonDesign has experimented with, including the interoperability of our Revit model with the Oculus Rift headset. Soon after, I showed the audience how to setup their own VR scenes and how to work with a few of the other VR headsets that are either currently available or coming out soon, including the very affordable Google Cardboard. Using the Google Cardboard, we're able to render a stereoscopic panorama that you can open on a smartphone anywhere in the world, making it easier for anyone to experience VR without the need to buy an expensive headset.

The possibilities for VR in architecture are truly extraordinary. Its ability to help illustrate not only what a space looks like, but also how it "feels" is already revolutionizing the way our clients understand and participate in the design process. As the technology continues to advance, I have no doubt that interacting with a space virtually will become just as immersive as the real thing.

So what's next for CannonDesign? We're anxiously awaiting our shipment of the new Oculus Rift consumer-version headsets, which we will continue to test and hope to make available for our project teams within the next few months. Stay tuned.


-Jacob Simanowitz is a Design Application Specialist working with our Digital Practice group in our Chicago office. This article originally appeared on CannonDesign. CannonDesign is a CFE Media content partner.



No comments
Consulting-Specifying Engineer's Product of the Year (POY) contest is the premier award for new products in the HVAC, fire, electrical, and...
Consulting-Specifying Engineer magazine is dedicated to encouraging and recognizing the most talented young individuals...
The MEP Giants program lists the top mechanical, electrical, plumbing, and fire protection engineering firms in the United States.
integrated building networks, NFPA 99, recover waste heat, chilled water systems, Internet of Things, BAS controls
40 Under 40; Performance-based design; Clean agent fire suppression; NFPA 92; Future of commissioning; Successful project management principles
BIM coordination; MEP projects; NFPA 13; Data center Q&A; Networked lighting controls; 2017 Product of the Year finalists
Transformers; Electrical system design; Selecting and sizing transformers; Grounded and ungrounded system design, Paralleling generator systems
Commissioning electrical systems; Designing emergency and standby generator systems; VFDs in high-performance buildings
Tying a microgrid to the smart grid; Paralleling generator systems; Previewing NEC 2017 changes
As brand protection manager for Eaton’s Electrical Sector, Tom Grace oversees counterfeit awareness...
Amara Rozgus is chief editor and content manager of Consulting-Specifier Engineer magazine.
IEEE power industry experts bring their combined experience in the electrical power industry...
Michael Heinsdorf, P.E., LEED AP, CDT is an Engineering Specification Writer at ARCOM MasterSpec.
Automation Engineer; Wood Group
System Integrator; Cross Integrated Systems Group
Fire & Life Safety Engineer; Technip USA Inc.
This course focuses on climate analysis, appropriateness of cooling system selection, and combining cooling systems.
This course will help identify and reveal electrical hazards and identify the solutions to implementing and maintaining a safe work environment.
This course explains how maintaining power and communication systems through emergency power-generation systems is critical.
click me