Augmented Reality in Architecture: What Can We Expect?
Imagine looking at the world and seeing not just what is currently there, but also what might or will be one day. Sounds like science fiction, doesn’t it? But with the newest advancements in virtual and augmented reality, what was once possible only in movies is becoming commonplace. And we’re only just starting to explore all the options!
In fact, these new types of reality environments will change everything — the way we view the world, complete projects, and access information. Industries and professions will begin relying on these technologies more and more. Some augmented reality programs, such as Autodesk Navisworks Simulate, are already used by architects all over the world.
What Is Augmented Reality?
Though you may not have heard of the term before, you’ve surely come across or even used augmented reality (AR). To put it simply, augmented reality superimposes text, pictures, or information on the world around you. That means that you still see the real world as it is, but there are new elements, ones that don’t actually exist.
Hearing that, you may be thinking that you surely haven’t seen anything like that before. But let’s take a look at a few popular examples of AR — namely, games such as Pokemon Go or Snapchat filters. Though these are fairly simple instances of AR, they still do add something to the world that isn’t actually there.
Now that you know what AR is, just imagine what could be done with more complex technology. The options are endless!
Augmented Reality vs. Virtual Reality
Though both augmented reality and virtual reality (VR) use technology to simulate something that doesn’t exist, they are vastly different. As you’ve already seen, AR uses real-world data and environments and only superimposes information on top. To view that information, you use devices that support AR — mobile phones, laptops, or even smart glasses.
On the other hand, virtual reality hardly has anything to do with the real world — it constructs an entirely new computer-generated environment. Basically, with a VR set, you can be transported and immersed into a whole new world that doesn’t exist and never has. This technology has lately exploded in popularity in the gaming industry, where hundreds of developers now make video games for VR. But of course, VR has dozens of other uses and promises many more!
How Augmented Reality Helps Architects
Architecture is, without a doubt, one profession that can greatly benefit from everything AR has to offer. After all, just imagine how useful it would be to see what your project will look like before the construction begins. And that’s not even all you can do!
Curious about all the options that can be used by Augmented Reality in Architecture? Well, let’s take a closer look.
View 3D Models in Their Exact Locations
In the pre-AR era, architects only had their 2D plans and imagination. If they wanted to see the result, they had to wait until the building was completed. Of course, that meant they couldn’t experience their buildings in advance and predict potential issues.
With AR software, though, you can see exactly what your building design will look like in the location where it will be built. That way, you can visualize your design better, and you have far more info than otherwise.
Explore Various Possibilities and Solutions
AR will help you unleash your creativity’s full potential! Instead of settling on a single design, you can try out different ones with just a few simple commands. Make quick changes to any part of the building, and see what works best. And if your experiment doesn’t bear fruit, you can simply return to the original design in a matter of seconds.
Ultimately, there’s no risk of any kind — you’re altering a simulation, after all, not the real building. So don’t be afraid to explore as many options as you possibly can!
Allows You to Plan Out the Whole Construction Process
Most AR software doesn’t just allow you to view the completed model of the building but also watch its construction from scratch. It can show you what the construction site will look like and where the workers and the equipment will fit. Thanks to that, you and your team can plan every detail and ensure the safety of everyone involved.
Helps You With Troubleshooting
Even if you consider everything that could go wrong, your design might still have some minute issues. It’s completely natural to overlook a thing or two, but with AR, it’s also preventable. Simply input your building’s details into the software, and then begin troubleshooting. The computer is bound to find a few mistakes that you missed!
Easier Collaboration With Your Clients
Coming to an agreement with your client can be difficult — especially if you’re only using a blueprint to show them what you’ve envisioned. Many of them aren’t architecture experts, so explaining may take up too much of your time. And that time could be used for dealing with other parts of the project.
With AR technology, though, everything is quite simple. Use 3D models in real environments to show your client what you’ve imagined. If they have any objections or proposals, they can just as easily change the simulation to show you. That way, you can reach a compromise in no time at all!
What Does the Future Hold for Augmented Reality in Architecture?
As augmented reality further develops, its use in architecture will certainly grow. But that’s not all — in the future, AR and architecture may even merge.
For example, buildings may no longer be just constructions of brick and mortar. Instead, they could become information hubs, conveying all sorts of social, usability, and cultural details. This information would be available to anyone wearing AR glasses or a similar device.
Of course, architects would have to keep these new functionalities in mind when designing buildings. In fact, they would be the ones pushing the envelope, using augmented reality more than any other experts. The shift to AR is happening already, so don’t be left behind. Besides, even in its simplest forms, AR can make your job so much easier and more fun!