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The importance of VR in Architecture: what does it mean for digital innovation and for customers

The advantages of using online VR to experience 3D BIM models in a simple web browser

With the promise of the digital revolution, being able to navigate in 3D space to view your 3D creations in virtual reality (VR), can represent a great leap ahead for your professional reputation. The first thing that crosses our minds when we talk about VR is that adopting these technologies is too expensive and complicated to use. But there’s a way out with a completely new way of accessing VR viewing tools using just a simple web browser.

Let’s find out how with usBIM.reality, the usBIM system integrated application for online, full-immersive virtual reality viewing experiences.

The first step to start using usBIM.reality is to get hold of a compatible VR headset and a PC connected to the internet.

usBIM.reality navigate online in virtual reality BIM models

usBIM.reality navigate online in virtual reality BIM models

What is virtual reality for architecture?

Virtual reality is a technology that allows you to create a simulated context wearing a Head Mounted VR headset for first-person experiences, in any setting.

Applied to architecture, it’s an innovative tool that allows designers and architects alike to navigate within the 3D model together with their clients by connecting the HMD viewer to the PC.

For professionals in the construction sector, VR (Virtual Reality) can be useful at various stages of the design process and, in particular, during:

  • project concepting
  • project reviewing
  • project presentations.

VR during design

During the project concept phase, VR can adapt to the different levels of detail of the model, supporting the designer in the decision making process (defining spaces, rooms, etc.) and in more advanced phases (arranging furniture, wall colours, materials, etc.).

In the preliminary phase it helps to imagine new spaces and new forms. Designers can get a direct perception of the spaces they are designing while detecting bad model geometry or spot texture UV issues.

Online virtual reality: advantages in the design phase

Online virtual reality: advantages in the design phase

The refinement stage of a project can often be the hardest stage, mainly because problems are harder to identify, and are mostly in the realm of “taste” but virtual reality acts as an evaluation and control tool too: during each step you can navigate the model and check whether the design idea is in line with the original plan and whether it stands up to the the client’s requests.

During the final design stage , VR helps to define details, materials, colors, etc.

Finally, in presenting the project to the client, he makes the project “alive” even before its realization.

This allows designers to minimize errors, to accurately predict the final result of the work, to prevent surprises during the work but also to develop greater design freedom and to experiment with new, more daring solutions, also increasing the final quality of the project.

Ultimately, the benefits of using VR in the design phase are:

  • more competitive work
  • creation of more articulated, fluid and less conventional spaces and volumes
  • simplification of the creative process
  • greater possibility of comparison between different design solutions
  • better communication of project ideas
  • reduction of design errors and misunderstandings with the client
  • greater possibility of reflecting on details that are difficult to understand through static images.

Virtual reality and model review

During the review phase, virtual reality is useful for verifying the choices made and having a constant control of the project before sharing it with the client and moving from the preliminary to the executive phase.

This is a delicate phase because it interrupts the linearity of the design process, contemplating the possibility of going back, re-evaluating, questioning the choices and making changes before continuing with the final / executive design.

Revising the project in a traditional way, interpreting plans, elevations, sections and renderings, may not be the optimal solution. The static images, in fact, only reconstruct a partial idea of the project and may not highlight any errors.

With virtual reality, on the other hand, by entering the model in the first person, you have the privilege of observing all the details before the creation of the work and this is very important because it allows you to re-evaluate some choices, even if formally correct.

In summary, we can say that the advantages of using VRi in the project review phase are:

  • reduction of design errors
  • greater awareness of all design choices
  • support to the designer in defining new spaces and new solutions
  • visualization and perception of the project details as if they were already realized.
realtà virtuale (VR) online per l'architettura con usBIM.reality

online virtual reality (VR) for architecture

Virtual reality for project presentations

During the project presentation phase , VR makes it easier and more immediate to communicate your design ideas: from material and furnishing choices to the distribution of spaces. The client really has the opportunity to experience the project minimizing the possibility of any misunderstandings with the client.

Through VR, an environment is totally recreated, introducing the viewer into a new completely virtual scenario capable of almost completely bridging the gap between reality and the customer’s imagination. This is one of the fundamental aspects: to fill the gap between the representation of the project and the client’s imagination.

Ultimately, it is a great tool for:

  • conscious decision making, crating realistic visuals to see the concept as if it were already built;
  • allow the client to participate in the design process evaluating materials, interior design aspects and address lighting techniques too;
  • improve communication to amaze and convince the client.

The advantages of using virtual reality online

All of these aspects certainly have a strong meaning for designers, in fact VR is a tool with great potential that can make the professional offer very competitive.

Although an innovative, almost futuristic technology, virtual reality is now within everyone’s reach.

With usBIM.reality you can even browse 3D models without having to buy any software or have the BIM authoring license with which the models were generated.

View your IFC, EDF, RVT or SKP format models by simply uploading them to usBIM.cloud.

The true advantage of usBIM.reality is that:

  • it works directly online;
  • it’s great simplicity;
  • no need for any specific software;
  • you can take virtual tours of any 3D model even if created with other BIM software;
  • share the model with colleagues and clients and take virtual tours from any PC;
  • you can try it for free for 30 days.

How to use usBIM.reality

To navigate in a 3D model you can use usBIM.reality.

To get started, just access the usBIM page and enter your ACCA account credentials.

come accedere ad usBIM

How to access usBIM

If you don’t have an account yet:

  1. go to the MyACCA web page
  2. register your account
  3. enter your email and password.

If you are logged in to usBIM, follow these instructions to activate the usBIM.reality application for free for 30 days:

  • click on Applications, at the top right of the usBIM screen
  • choose usBIM.store
  • browse through the applications and choose usBIM.reality
  • Click on the Activate button to get usBIM.reality free for 30 days.

How to start using usBIM.reality, the application for online virtual reality

At this point, all you need to do is load the 3D model in an usBIM cloud folder, open it, connect the viewer to your PC, click on the usBIM.reality icon and you’re all set up and ready to go.