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Architecture & VR ...

Can VR & and Architecture go hand in hand or is it to stay put in a gamer's realm?

Architecture Interior Commercial Animation Product Editorial
Posted by
14 April 2016

TWB were recently commissioned to produce the headline marketing image for the VR World Congress 2016 event, held here is Bristol and it got us thinking. . .

VR (Virtual Reality) is a buzz word that’s been floating around for a while now. In all honestly we have never ventured into what we perceived as a world of gaming graphics and lagging frame rates within a VR headset.

Virtual or Vacant Reality? Suddenly with the launch of the Samsung Gear and Oculus Rift ”VR” seems a real presence and could be within our clients foresight very soon. We better swot up. So what did we find? Can VR & and Architecture go hand in hand or is it to stay put in a gamer's realm?

Sony Playstation VR due to launch October 2016

As a design tool this could be huge and I can see every Architecture student with a VR headset as a core piece of equipment in the not too distant future. The ability to fully immerse yourself within a design; walk around the space, move walls, open light wells or even feng shui the furniture. Whatever your flavour is, with this technology, it's at your fingertips. Gone are the days of a 0.5 fineliner and scale ruler (I can hear my uni lecturers crying over their AJ back catalogue collection as I type). Currently German car manufacturer Audi are using gaming industry VR technology to make its vehicle design process more efficient. Today on 14th April 2016 we will see Dr Shafi Ahmed of the Royal London Hospital perform the world's first surgical procedure filmed on 360° rig at 4K resolution, livestreamed globally in VR.

Cross industry use is groundbreaking as this lends itself to the technology being more about a function than an “experience”. 

Shafi Ahmed is a surgeon and and co-founder of VR and AR firm Medical Realities

But what about the end product, marketing, promotion etc?. At The White Balance we pride ourselves on delivering high end Architectural CGI’s and Animations - we polish the unfinished and deliver glossy all singing, all dancing images for our clients to show their buildings, designs and developments in their best light. After the initial wow factor of a trip into a VR headset currently I feel the consumer would not be willing to purchase that penthouse apartment off plan after viewing the VR 3D walk through. It needs to pair with a glossy cgi, or animation to sell the vision - just as design development needs a pen and paper sketch, it's an aid to a presentation or in its own right conceptual reality.


Image courtisy of MI5VR

London and Madrid based Architects Mi5VR have made the somewhere between virtual and real leap, Offering real architecture or a fully immersive conceptual experience.

“Digital Era is redefining in a disrupted way our daily life experience. We are inhabiting virtual and physical scenarios simultaneously. We, Architects, have a commitment with this amplified personal space.”

The technology is moving in the right direction and hopefully, within the next 5 years, we will see the same 3D quality export for VR as the current CGI industry standard.It is an exciting time for Architecture Visualisation as it seems we are on the cusp of a new chapter and using a variety of different mediums to achieve the age old brief “Make that look better”

  • VR "Virtual Reality"
  • 4K Animations
  • 3D printing
  • AR "Augmented Reality"

The next few years will certainly be interesting and hopefully we will be using VR technology on live projects to achieve quality results soon... because after all it needs to look pretty!