A Step Into Reality -- Virtual Reality

Sometimes it is difficult for us to imagine what a space might look like when a renovation is fully finished. We see the old paint-chipped walls, dingy colors - a building designed for a different time. But what if we didn't have to imagine it? What if we could make it come to life in front of our eyes without touching a single wall?
Design Collaborative, in collaboration with VIA Developments, designed various improvements to the former Lincoln Clinton building. The large building sits mostly empty with high ceilings and great views from the tall windows, but it is difficult to imagine what it will become because of the dated finishes in the space. Potential tenants weren’t able to visualize themselves working there; they could not see a modern workplace. This was a challenge for the building developer in leasing the existing space. They needed a creative way to help prospective tenants imagine themselves thriving in the space.
Initially, the concept of building a sample office space to show prospective tenants the finished vision was brought up. However, that space would have cost almost $100,000 to construct, which was cost prohibitive for a model space. Design Collaborative proposed the idea of using virtual reality (VR) goggles to envision the space instead. The goggles allowed prospective tenants to walk around the building and see what it would look like after it was completely built out and renovated. Using VR was vastly more cost effective than building out a spec space, and it truly brought to life what that space could look like redesigned.

The top images show the content created that is loaded into the goggles. When wearing the goggles, the image is zoomed in and you can pan around, and it looks as though you are looking around the actual space. The bottom images show a still of the same view to give a better idea of what viewers will be seeing in 3D. 

Design Collaborative created a guide for using the VR goggles to make them easier for prospective clients to use. Architect Megan Yoder and graphic designer Katie Briner put together the following visual and written guide:

This is an example of one specific opportunity where Design Collaborative was able to use technology to improve the client experience in a cost-effective way. Moving forward, we see things begin to change drastically with COVID-19’s effect on the world. People may be changing the way they look at spaces. Virtual reality allows us to share visions of spaces without risking unnecessary contact and time spent traveling to view these spaces. It also gives us the opportunity to show alternatives for spaces more easily with new health and safety options. With virtual reality, seeing the future of a space is now available in real time.

For more information, contact:

Kelly Shields, LEED AP
Senior Associate, Graduate Architect