While the discovery of virtual reality technology goes as far back as 1957, its popularity became explosive less than a decade ago due to technological advancements. VR technology has many applications in a range of industries due to its scope, including real estate, architecture and construction — and this shift is becoming apparent with virtual travel.
Not long ago when the coronavirus pandemic broke out, the tech became exceedingly popular in the travel world amongst travelers who were stuck at home due to COVID lockdowns but wanted to continue exploring the world from the comfort of their homes.
Today, the fields of building design and architecture are starting to see the potential benefits from this technology, essentially through what is termed as virtual tours. So how exactly has virtual travel revolutionized and inspired architectural design? In this piece, we shall cover a few pointers on how virtual travel can be used in design and architecture.
Adopting Virtual Travel in Design
Virtual travel is a hot topic these days. As seen in the image above from Compare the Market AU, the search interest in virtual travel skyrocketed massively in the early months of 2020. One could argue that most of the searches came from travel enthusiasts, but a good majority came from people interested in seeing how far the technology has progressed. Thanks to the recent advancements in the VR field, virtual travel tours can also be adopted as early as in the architectural design stage of the project.
Through these tours, architectural design professionals can effectively paint a clear picture in the minds of their clients compared to when using only traditional design approaches. Some pros and cons of doing this include the following:
- Property walkthroughs are possible before building: Using virtual tours, designers and architects can create a 3D representation or a design plan that offers a visually immersive experience to the client. Using VR equipment and tech, the client can take a virtual tour to determine if he or she envisions themselves owning or living in the property. Since the VR experience feels almost real, this approach has proven to be more effective compared to sketches and drawings or even videos.
- More detail in the design: We cannot fail to admit that 2D drawings still hold significant weight in architectural design. However, virtual tour software helps you take the design to a whole new level. Users can build viewing tools that help the client to have a more comprehensive experience since VR technology allows more detail to be showcased. As long as the design is carefully created and the simulations are creatively done, it takes less effort to convince a client.
- Additional tech elements: Lastly, creatively designed virtual tours can also include other elements of modern tech, including video, background audio, social media links, or website URLs. These can help take your game to another level as a building designer or architect.
Virtual tours also come with several drawbacks when used in architectural design. Some of these include:
- You may have to go back to class to learn the new tech
- Limited resources can stall your project
- Creating VR simulations often takes time
Potential Job Opportunities in Virtual Travel
As with every new technology, several new job opportunities could arise from the increased use of virtual tours in architecture and building design. Companies that deal in these areas could have new job positions for people like:
- Virtual simulation designers
- Immersive reality modelers
- Data scientists
- Chief technology officers
To sum it up, immersive technology seems to be shaping the future of building design. Virtual tours are increasingly gaining popularity in the worlds of construction and real estate, and architectural design hasn’t been left out either. The rate at which it is being embraced makes it even more promising. In the near future, architecture and home design can easily become a DIY project.