You can approach virtual reality ( VR) as a typical product, which means: use it and satisfy your hunger. You can also try to see something more in it, the value that  reveals in the context of other ” texts of culture.” If you choose the latter, you will fill in the gap that has always existed between the project and the product.

Case Study: Architecture meets VR

Nowadays, when we talk about looking at the draft of our dream house or apartment, we mean examining the architectural sketch, concept, perspective plan, some calculations of metric area, and etc. However, VR technology gives us something more; it shows us possibilities that previously were within the scope of our imagination only. For example, it allows us to enter a building and stroll through the rooms; and at the same time, look through the windows and enjoy the beauty of the landscape.

This total immersion is the experience of something that does not yet exist. Nonetheless, with VR, you can forget about that and watch  shadows on the wall at a certain time of the day or year, or find the best place for your favorite picture. You can SEE the real image of what is still in your mind. It is awesome, isn’t it?

What still prevents us from trying VR solutions, is our old-fashioned thinking, which keeps being immersed in the past. Therefore, it is difficult to feel the pleasure VR technology promises. Instead, we are still looking back and seeking solutions in the pool of  already existing designs. I am not saying that everything must change, only that the new tools that we have created, can significantly change the way we understand the intentions of other people. In other words, if someone says that his intention was fusion of the property with the beauty of the landscape, focusing more on functionality or maybe originality, why not take advantage of the possibility to verify the artist’s intention? All this is possible with VR technology.

Sometimes, the project itself may look bad or – on the contrary – fabulous; still, we may fail to grasp the idea ​​the artist (architect) had. Therefore, the implementation of the project is always a risk. Of course, one can check and see computer presentations of projects, but they are just pictures. Only VR allows to replace drawings by the possibility of free, personal experience in the virtual world. The idea is to look inside and  be inside.

Zumthor suggests that  an architectural drawing has to show precisely an object and its role to play in the location chosen for the object by the designer. However, his effort, seen in the graphic image, may result in something unexpected, inability to see a real object in that place (p.12). How can we fix this disadvantage?

You still may have questions: How my house will look like when full of people or empty? How it will change in the winter or spring? When will all small trees and shrubs grow? To us, it is a dream come true, but is it the same for the architect?

In the process of realization, which starts with simple strokes on paper and ends with the occurrence of an object in space (which also applies to VR), it is all about interest arousing effects rather than replacing. Curiosity leaves a lot of room for creativity, which can be filled, and replacenet – writes Zumthor “no longer contains promises.” VR products are therefore a kind of promise that we are experiencing, putting on goggles and immersing in the created worlds. We fill them (the worlds) the same way they fill us and inspire.

The design process is based on the constant harmony between feelings and reason. Feelings, tastes, longing and lust, which show up and want to become a form, should be examined by critical reason ” (translated from Polish, p. 21).

How to achieve such harmony?

VR presentations, of course, will not show everything – I mean it will not show “our awareness of the passage of time and human life, which happens in the places we stay at, and fills them with energy in a special way” (p. 26). However, we would like to be sure that such awareness happens in the place we love and which we have created by ourselves. In case we cannot notice the uniqueness of our lives and experiences, we are not likely to look for its meaning. On the other hand, for those who need depth, and know what they want – it is like a new world of possibilities.

I am not sure whether VR can improve the functionality of places, but it can definitely improve their aesthetics. For a moment, you will find yourself in the heart of beauty. All you need is simple tools 360 VR Player slideshow application and 3D product showrooms. Everything is at your fingertips.

If, in fact, we are interested in more practical usage of VR in architecture, here are just two areas for improvement that lead to savings:

  • Streamlining the toilsome process of creating plans.
  • Reducing the cost of errors and subsequent changes that arise during work.

Reason? The lack of a coherent vision of the architect and the investor. However, if we get the opportunity to spend a couple of hours in the house we want to build and  invite friends, who can tell us about their experience, there is a chance that we can improve the project and avoid unnecessary disappointment in the future. The uniqueness of this experience lies in the scale: when we see the apartment, move the premises, or go outside – everything we see is in the real perspective. We have great confidence that the impressions and feelings that arise at that time, reflect the physical ones.

This shows that VR gives us more than we can expect. You just need to reach out and … wear goggles.

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