virtual reality cover

Virtual reality applied to architecture and design

01 / 30 / 2019

The future of architecture and design is closely linked to virtual reality and augmented reality (VR/AR), tools that not only help architects and designers to better conceive space and volume but also to present the project to the customers.

Thanks to this technology, it is possible to see oneself inside the designed environment, and this represents endless advantages at all levels. On the one hand, it is a cost-saving tool as it enables users to foresee possible problems or design changes before they are implemented. Decision making becomes easier as the project can be seen and explored. On the other hand, VR/AR provides an immersive user experience which overcomes one of the main problems designers usually face: to communicate his/her idea to the client.

Design and architecture universities are slowly implementing these tools in their degrees so that in a near future they will be applied to all design processes. One of the industries where virtual reality is most used is the automotive industry. By means of simulations, it is possible to check features such as the interior design of the car or if the control panel can be correctly seen from the driver’s position. This technology allows decision making without having to resort to costly techniques to obtain a prototype.

Another field where augmented reality has really excelled is interior design. We can currently imagine how our house will be without having bought a single piece of furniture or without having painted one single wall. A very simple example aimed at end users, without the need for prior training, is Ikea Place, an augmented reality app to decorate our home. However, there are much more sophisticated tools for professionals, such as Shapespark, which allows designers and architects to create interior visualizations, with the right lighting, materials furniture and colors, ideal to show clients with the aid of a virtual reality device such as the Oculus Rift.


An app that really surprises due to its futuristic approach is the Touchable Holograms. Created by the research team of the University of Bristol, these holograms allow the extension of virtual reality beyond sight and sound, applying it also to touch. Thus, it is possible to feel textures and materials and choose the one that best fits your project.

All other fields (not only design, but also industry, education, medicine, etc.) will slowly add these technologies to their processes until they are present in all aspects of our daily life. Can you imagine how much can be achieved with these technologies? There are endless possibilities.