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Architecture, engineering and construction embrace VR

VR in architecture, engineering and construction is going through a period of ‘rapid’ adoption according to Italian architect Fabio D’Agnano, a presenter at the XR Summit at ISE yesterday.

D’Agnano, director of the postgraduate masters course in digital architecture at the IUAV, informed XR delegates on Tuesday that at least two thirds of architectural practices are now experimenting with VR, according to his research.

The architect added that adoption tended to be higher among the larger practices, who have the time and resources to commit.
For those who have used VR, most have applied it to more than five projects and were using it across the design, construction and maintenance stages.

In terms of how far away these new technologies are, for many job, such as 360 rendering, it is possible now and is ‘no more effort than a standard 3D render,’ according to D’Agnano: ‘You press the same button.’

He estimates that real time rendering, which would enable architects and clients to go on a virtual site visit, is less than ‘a couple of years away’ and what is likely to happen in the interim is that a blend of both 360 and VR technologies will be used.
D’Agnano added that VR was still very much a ‘solo technology’ and one of the challenges the sector faced was adopting the technology to meet the collaborative needs of the industry.

Companies such as MatrixWorks are addressing this by working on collaborative platforms, he added. Other near future applications included integrating VR with BIM data so that projects can be tested on site via 3D model.