Augmented reality is often associated with Lewis Carroll’s “Through the Looking Glass” where Alice crosses through the mirror into a bazaar imaginary world. At the Augmented Reality / Virtual Reality in Action Conference it was easy to believe far more than “six impossible things before breakfast”.
The number of applications and demonstrations was impressive and inspiring. The roles for AR and VR are blossoming beyond games into medicine, education, art, music and, of course, architecture.
As architects we are generally able to visualize the spaces we are designing. It’s part of the job description. But to be able to show clients their building, for them to be able to walk through a space, see the view from the window or rearrange the furniture, all before a shovel meets the ground, provides a much higher level of comfort and excitement than any number of drawings ever could. In addition, the technology is advancing beyond static models. Animations can display information about building age or condition, show the process that resulted in design decisions or how a space can adapt to different uses or changes in the weather, even how a building could grow over time as a client group grows to need more space.
Arrowstreet’s VR demonstration was well received by attendees who were able to wander around a space play with toys, change materials and write in open space, all “as large as life and twice as natural”.