Two-dimensional drawings are no longer the only way to describe our designs. Clients and architects alike are utilizing 3D printing and virtual reality to bring projects to life and make design decisions. These technologies make the architectural design process accessible even to those who cannot comprehend the drawings. The benefits of 3D printing and virtual reality to the design process are unlimited.
With the advent of 3D printing technology, we are now able to give clients pieces of their home to touch and feel. 3D printing allows us to create architectural models quickly and precisely. Primarily, we use 3D printing to show details of a particular part of a piece of a home such as an ornately carved wall panel or column. We can even construct a bird’s eye view model of the entire exterior of the home. When clients can get a true feeling for the sense of space or detail, they feel much more comfortable in their design choices and the process.
Beyond 3D printing, virtual reality adds yet another opportunity for clients to experience their home before it’s built. Using virtual reality software and glasses, clients can actually walk through their home design. (In some ways, it’s much like a video game.) The design of the home is built within the virtual reality software so that it is perceived to scale with the client “walks” through it. This powerful tool helps clients get a true feeling for the flow of a home and where things are located prior to construction. Through virtual reality, I am able to communicate the intent behind the design. Virtual reality elicits a visceral response in the viewer, just like physical architecture. Some clients love it so much they’ll spend 30 minutes “wandering” through the hallways of their future home.
Despite all the technology available, I continue to sketch out all of my design by hand first. This simple action grounds me in the details of the home. Simply put, it’s how I’ve always done it and I feel more comfortable beginning my design process with pen and paper. But there is room for the new in my old school approach and I enjoy watching clients “see” their homes for the first time.