Virtual Reality in Architectural Design

and 3D architectural rendering or realistic computer-generated images, the introduction of BIM a few years ago encouraged further uptake of 3D modelling tools within the architectural design domain.

However, BIM despite its many benefits does have its limits. Firstly, the architect or designer cannot fully immerse himself in his design with traditional 3D models. Secondly, and in some ways the biggest challenge, the end client who certainly cannot understand 2D drawings or architectural drafting sheets quickly, also struggles to visualize the eventual design solution, even with the aid of 3D images and 3D walkthroughs. 3D models and BIM models are also not able to allow the client a real appreciation of spatial relationships as 3D rendered images and walkthroughs usually provide a third person, an eye level view where spatial relationships are difficult to apprehend.

Virtual Reality (VR) in construction is a tool that it is starting to bridge some of the gaps highlighted above. The ability to experience a self-controlled route or journey and experience in a proposed environment is something that was restricted to gaming just a few years ago. Being able to put an architectural design or a range of concepts into such an immersive environment starts to provide many benefits that would otherwise not be possible which is also known as VR in architecture. The remainder of this article is concerned with design team members (architects) and also the customers or end clients.