Virtual Reality in architectural design

2016 is clearly the year of Virtual Reality. It’s one of the hottest topics on technology blogs and news. Generally, there’s a strong focus on entertainment apps, but beyond that this technology has enormous potential for business purposes — particularly in the construction and architecture industries where Virtual Reality (VR) offers a wide range of possible applications.

I’m one of the founders and managing director of a digital agency named Mikavaa. We are specialized in the development of applications for the visualisation and presentation of building projects — and quite a few of our solutions have incorporated VR technology.

One of the biggest challenges in the development of our projects was the deployment and discussion of the design progress. Usually construction project teams are quite large, where team members do have different competencies and not everyone involved is able to picture a whole building or even just a room based on floorplans. The use of virtual 3D environments enables every team member to experience the project’s progress and creates a basis for a profound and constructive discussion.

To help us efficiently create our designs, we developed a web-based revision tool. We call it REVIZ, and it helps us to optimize our work process — both internally and together with the client.

REVIZ Screenshot

At any given time, we can export 3D models from a CAD-software and upload it to REVIZ. On the server side, the model will be rendered to different visualisation types, including stereoscopic 360° visualisations. Using the REVIZ mobile app and a VR headset, each team member can view the model in a virtual environment to get a near realistic impression of how the project will look in real life. Everyone can comment on the design and mark the corresponding areas directly within the 3D environment. All comments are organized in a chronological discussion and can be checked off just like on a to-do-list. The different visualisations of a project can be linked with hot spots, allow us to easily add virtual tours through complex projects. Additionally, visualisations are organized in revisions, providing a seamless documentation of the whole design process.

We currently use REVIZ internally in projects for Schlösserland Sachsen, GRAAT Architekten and a major IT company (For reasons of confidentiality, we won’t name the company here.), but we are planning to open up the service to other companies, as well. Of course we welcome anyone who is interested to check out our demo projects. Just get in touch at www.revizapp.com.