By: Jon Brouchoud, M. Arch
Owner/Founder – Arch Virtual
The ability to virtually inhabit and feel deeply immersed in a new building before construction commences is one of the most powerful uses of virtual reality (VR).
Since the earliest Oculus Rift VR headsets first became available almost four years ago, Arch Virtual has been developing a platform called Immerse, which translates Revit models and other software formats into virtual experiences. This technology helps architects, construction companies, real estate developers, and building owners visualize, coordinate, and promote new buildings before they break ground.
VR dovetails with industry standard software like BIM, which already enables highly realistic visualizations, by adding an immersive window into the model that helps convey proportion and scale in a way that is not easily understood on a flat screen monitor, TV, or through standard architectural illustration techniques.
Miron Construction has been exploring the use of VR technology, in collaboration with Arch Virtual, and is looking at ways to translate their projects into immersive virtual experiences that make it feel as if you are actually standing inside the building design.
It’s almost like having a crystal ball that enables all project stakeholders to easily see into the future, and to understand and explore a new building before it becomes a physical space.
Thinking beyond visualization, VR can also add value as a powerful collaboration tool. Arch Virtual has developed a multi-user add-on to their platform called “Immerse Collaborative,” which enables multiple project stakeholders to meet inside the VR model together, simultaneously. They can talk to each other, leave notes, configure materials, see paint colors and furniture layouts, and even reach out and modify the design on-the-fly using Oculus Touch hand controllers. The best part is participants can join from wherever they happen to be located to collaborate remotely within the VR model.
It can be an incredibly profound experience to virtually inhabit a new building design, walking, talking, and collaborating with all of the project’s stakeholders long before construction starts.
To learn more about Arch Virtual, visit http://www.archvirtual.com, or stop in for a visit to their studio and see it for yourself!
Jon Brouchoud leads Arch Virtual’s development team, and his passion is using virtual reality technologies to solve real-world problems. He has more than 20 years of experience in professional practice and has won numerous awards and competitions for his work in 3D development. Jon holds a Master’s Degree in Architecture, and his work has been featured in the New York Times, Business Week, Architectural Record, and the Chicago Tribune.