The architecture profession is changing. It’s no longer enough to build a building and call it a day; firms need to be able to visualize their design in the virtual world before they even break ground. Virtual Reality (VR) consultants can help architects augment their design process, making projects more efficient from start to finish. In this article, we’ll look at what VR consultants offer for architectural firms and why they are so important.
The truth is, virtual reality is not failing in architectural firms. Rather, it’s being approached incorrectly and is being underestimated. For VR to succeed in architecture, firms need to make use of specialized VR consultants with a background in architecture.
In an era where every industry needs digitization as part of its strategy, architecture is not an exception. However, while other industries have adopted new technologies that guide them into a more inclusive design process, architecture has remained largely unchanged.
Guilherme Lopes, a virtual reality consultant and founder of Gui & Cia VR Studio, said in an interview that “architects need to be able to conceptualize their projects as they are designing them instead of just looking at sketches.”
Lopes argues that architecture firms should use VR consultants for more than just visualization; he believes it is important for clients to experience the design before construction starts.
“It’s not only about having advanced rendering techniques or photorealistic representations,” says Lopez. “It’s also about immersing people into a different environment so they can understand what this project will feel like when you walk through the door.”
Why Has VR Failed in Architecture?
VR has failed in architecture for the same reason it has succeeded: design process.
Regardless of whether architects are using VR to visualize or augment a project, they need to be aware that this is not just about rendering techniques and photorealistic representations; it’s also about how efficiently the consultants can work in what is an extremely fast-paced production environment.
Large architectural firms are notorius for their cut-throat environments. Overtime is the norm for these firms, and employees are often pressured to meet time-crunching deadlines. The architecture industry has always been one with a culture of long hours and endless revisions, and this why it’s difficult to pair architecture and VR.
VR, on the other hand, requires a lot of attention to perfect. If your virtual environment has below-standard textures or is not baked properly, the presentation could result in a disaster.
So, here is what we are left with – an industry that seems like it has no further room in it’s existing workflow for additional vizualisation antics, but desperately requires a tool to help it surivive in an era of immersive technology.
To answer the question posed in the title: virtual reality consultants are key to solving this paradox. They allow architecture firms to augment their design process with an immersive, tangible experience that is crucial for future workflows and flexible enough to be integrated into existing processes seamlessly.
With architects constantly pushing themselves towards long hours and deadline-driven deadlines, it’s difficult for them to find time for VR visualization (even though they badly need it).
Why has VR failed in architecture before when its so good at other industries like video games or film production?
The key to distinguishing why game design and firm has done so well with virtual reality is understanding the need for good forms of art and the level of competition in the industries.
When Does An Industry Need to Be Art-Focused?
Video games and film are a lot more reliant on being good forms of art and experience than architecture currently is. This is largely due to the clients of architecture firms being property developers who are focused on numbers and profit. There’s nothing wrong with being focused on numbers and profit, but as long as their is focus on architecture still remaining an art form, it will be easier to incorporate virtual reality into the design process.
The Bigger The Audience, The Bigger The Competition
Game designers and film makers are willing to spend a lot more money and automate other processes in their design process in order to accomodate virtual reality – and this is also because of the level of competition that the industries are currently at.
The level of competition for video games is quite high, with developers competing against each other on a monthly basis for top-selling titles. The film industry also has a very competitive environment, where movies are constantly trying to get their funding sorted out before release day so they can compete with others at the box office as well. Because architecture firms are focused more on individual projects rather than being able to compete like these industries do, there’s less pressure put onto them by clients or investors when using VR technology such as headsets and gloves.
However, in a world of open-acess and digitalization, this is soon going to change. If youre looking for the best architect, you are no longer restricted in looking at your local architecture firms. You can now view the portfolios and hire the best architect for the job on a global scale. Due to the globalising effect that large communication technologies have on hiring, the competition between architecture firms is increasing.
With this increase in competition, we are predicting that architects will rely more on better design and presentation platforms like VR.
The design process becomes much more efficient because you can have virtual reality consultants on hand to help create a better first impression. Not only does this save time, but it also saves money for the architecture firms as they dont need to invest in creating their own technology and VR designers.
Plus, the design process can be more collaborative with VR. Clients will have the ability to move around objects and change textures as they see fit within a virtual environment. This makes the process much more collaborative and easily understandable.
What are some Resources for Finding VR Consultants?
Since virtual reality can be used as a design tool in architectural firms, it only makes sense that many of these companies hire their own VR designers instead of having the architects create this technology from scratch – which would lead to more time spent and money wasted. Not only does this save time but also saves money since they don’t have to invest in creating their own hardware or software for designing with virtual reality when an outside company offers the service at a much cheaper price point than if they were hiring another architect within the firm (which would cost thousands).
Finding and hiring a virtual reality consultant can seem really daunting. Most likely, you will come accross several ‘game designers’ who do not understand anything about architecture.
Here is the key to hiring the best virtual reality consultant – make sure they have an architectural or BIM background. This will save a lot of induction time and will make sure that the consultant will have some knowledge on the design process.
If a VR consultant who has an architectural background seems too far fetched, then think again! There are several passionate designers who have substituted a career in architecture with a career in coding.
Luckily, there are some resources for finding VR consultants. The best places to find them is on job boards like LinkedIn or Indeed and searching through game design firms themselves. There are a few virtual reality developers you can find on freelancing sites like Fiverr or Upwork.
How much should a VR Consultant get paid?
Pricing for a VR consultant depends on their experience, the size of the project and how much they are willing to travel.
The price can range from $50-$200+ per hour with smaller projects costing less than larger ones. If you’re not worried about having someone come into your office regularly then it may be worth hiring an international virtual reality consultant because rates will likely be cheaper due to lower costs of living in other countries.
How much work does a virtual reality consultant typically do?
A virtual reality consultant’s responsibilities vary depending on the needs of the project but they often include:
– Helping you identify problems that need solving, or designing solutions for new features
– Finding bugs and providing feedback about what works and doesn’t work by testing throughout development
– Creating visuals, animations, interactive content, etc., which can provide valuable insights into how users behave when using an interface design.
– Solving technical challenges
What Should Architects Consider When Working with VR Consultants?
Anyone who has worked in an architectural firm will know that the one thing that is certain is that your project will undergo a lengthy and stressful revision process. The largest barrier that your firm will need to tackle is by defining how this revision process will work in accordance with your VR developer – how far away from the presentation deadline will your developer need to start their portion of the work? How many revisions will you restrict your client to after they have seen the presentation?
One of the benefits that VR consultants can provide a firm is by helping to solve this dilemma. If you work with an experienced developer, they will be able to develop your architecture in such a way that it does not hinder their ability to iterate on ideas and make changes. This means that when working with them up front, re-iterating over revisions won’t slow down or stop progress altogether; instead these iterations will allow for improvements as well as alterations which could potentially save time later on down the line through better planning.
In addition, if there are any technical challenges during development then having someone who specializes in virtual reality from day one can help alleviate the stress associated with overcoming these hurdles.
A virtual reality consultant may be beneficial for an architectural firm looking to embark upon a new project. This is due in part because they will have the experience of designing structures that can handle potential changes without halting progress entirely. They are also well-versed with technical challenges, which could alleviate some stress associated with overcoming these hurdles during development.
In conclusion, it is worth considering having a virtual reality consultant when working within your architecture firm as they will more than likely provide many benefits such as increased creativity and better visualization through their expertise in augmented and virtual realities.