Architect collaboration in VR
Project : Individual
Role : Unity prototyping, UI/UX Design for VR, Object manipulation
At Autodesk, I was fascinated by use cases of VR and hoped to bring the capability of designing in an immersive world to architects. There were numerous apps already doing similar things in the market and I was curious to know why none had managed to get significant buy-in from the architect community. Hence I studied the barriers of entry, conducted over 20 user interviews and honed in on the most critical architect needs using the simplest form of virtual reality- Mobile VR. I mocked up a simple structural design app in Unity with few basic interactions like creating primitives, duplicating them, manipulating them to create low poly structures for ideation. The app aimed to be collaborative in nature allowing 3-4 architects/clients to build real-time in VR.
Barriers of Entry for architects
•Unintuitive UX of VR
•Lack of development talent or resources in architectural firms
•Limitations on time spent in the immersive world due to VR nausea
Fig 1. From a poll at Autodesk University 2017, it is clear that the interest of architects in AR/VR technology is soaring but a great product hasn't made way into their workflow until now.
Insights from customer interviews
For small architecture firms/ individual home projects:
●Client presentations and ideation with clients can be made more effective with VR. This can increase their value against the competition.
●The client is more engaged as compared to the large scale development projects and needs are more personal.
For big firms/ large developer projects:
●Usually no investment to acquire client but strong focus on improving client collaboration and experience.(that’s how they get 80% business)
●VR presentations needs to be presentable to multiple clients in parallel.
A collaborative mobile VR experience allowing architects and their clients to build models using primitives and pre fabricated objects like walls, doors, rooms, facades etc. to generate a concept of the project they would embark on.
This model would be available to view/edit for both architect and the client over the duration of the project.
It would work as an ideation and presentation tool during the architect-client meetings with the time spent inside VR being minimal (5-15 minutes)
Fig 2a. The environment for creating designs
Fig 2b. Interactive UI with buttons
Fig 2c. Creating and manipulating primitives
Fig 2d. Selecting and scaling primitives