A Queensland architect has shared three major benefits of employing virtual reality (VR) technology within a design firm, and how future developments in VR will advance the industry.

VR takes 3D modelling to a whole new level, says Jeremy Ward from Cayas Architects, who’s been using the technology on his clients, allowing them to walk around and experience what it feels like to be in their newly designed space before it’s built. 

He says the benefits of using VR go well beyond enhancing the client’s user-experience. It has significant implications for the overall cost of design and construction, by improving communication between an architect and their client, refining the accuracy of documentation, and increasing efficiency throughout the design process.

Here are two examples of VR by Cayas Architects – Norths Leagues Club entrance and foyer and bar and dining area.

Below are the three major benefits of using VR according to Ward.

1. Better communication

Effective visual communication is crucial in architecture, yet an overwhelming number of people find it difficult to fully understand a design proposal by only reviewing traditional floor plans and elevations. 

By literally putting clients in the picture, they get a greater sense of connection with the space. It makes communication at every stage of the project much easier, and an architect can gauge a client’s reactions and feedback immediately.

2. Greater accuracy

Where artistic renders and 3D representations of a building are often limited by accuracy, detail and scale, VR can re-create the design in incredible detail at 1:1 scale. By detailing the fixtures, fittings and layout, clients can better comprehend how the end product will appear in context.  

When a client can experience a project in such intricate detail, they’re able to get a better feel for what they want, and don’t want. This means less back and forth between a client and architect, and less time spent reworking models and waiting for feedback.

3. Increased efficiency

Architects who use VR right from the initial sketch design phase can test and evaluate different design ideas. In addition to minimising rework, this means they can make decisions faster and relay them to their clients sooner.  

It also allows an architect to render changes to the design in real time. This is particularly beneficial in designing highly complex spaces, such as commercial kitchens and other back-of-house operations. 

In the past, the only way a space could be experienced by a client was through a full-scale model or prototype. Not only would this be costly to build, but any changes made during this stage would incur lengthy delays to the build.