Architecture as a field and as a study is taking advantage of augmented reality technology to enhance several stages of the design process. From the classroom to the architect’s office to the homeowner or interior designer’s visions for the finished space, augmented reality and virtual reality are the newest tool in the toolbox.
Virtual reality (VR) creates completely computer-generated environments, while Augmented reality (AR) offers an overlay to real-world elements. Virtual reality technologies are now granting architects gestural control—the ability to design and manipulate projects using your hands and fingers rather than keyboard and mouse—as well as letting the architect virtually inspect and walk through a virtual environment version of their design.
Although both VR and AR are being used within the architectural design process, today we will look specifically at apps that offer AR.
Formerly Visidraft, Pair allows architects to drag and drop 3D versions of furniture and appliances into their renderings, which is a huge opportunity for furniture and appliance manufacturers. The ease of use on an iPhone or iPad – including being able to walk around the room virtually – makes this a popular visualization app.
Overlay your design to any environment, including the actual land or space where the structure will be built. Point your device at the space and see how your design will look there using this interactive app. ARki is able to track and augment any environment, lets you adjust coloring and materials, and gives you a clean visualization of your architecture.
Overlay an interactive BIM model over your printed construction plans to see a 3D version. You can then zoom in, see the stages of the project as they will unfold, and see the layers of a structure. SmartReality is very useful for the hands-on understanding and inspection of a model.
This app is a real-time live-link integration with Revit, meaning that any changes made in the app as you explore the virtual rendering will be updated real-time in the Revit file. Inspect BIM information, annotate in the app, and virtually analyze things like lighting, coloring, and measurements.
Furniture and Interior Design Apps
Nearly every major brand of furniture, paint, appliance, or interior design now offer augmented reality apps that allow you to see their products in your own space. Everyone from IKEA to Behr Paint to Anthropologie with their ceramic door knobs are making it easy for shoppers and designers to glimpse how their products would finish off a room.
Contact us at Miller Architects & Builders to see how we are using Augmented Reality to help our clients visualize their designs.