SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. – Following a successful research pilot, Stantec architectural designers are launching a secondary study to explore methods for integrating virtual reality technology with building design modeling. Among primary objectives, the initiative will include extended development of VR design testing, as well as creation of demonstrative VR showrooms in targeted offices alongside staff training modules. Both initial and secondary research initiatives have been funded by the company’s R&D Fund Program.
VR: The business benefit Stantec designers use virtual reality to communicate design concepts in lieu of constructing traditional full-scale, mock-up rooms or scale models (practices that use considerable time and resources). Research designers create 3-D models of hospital rooms, building exteriors or other public spaces, using existing Building Informational Modeling software and then blend the designs with VR software. Physicians and nurses can better understand the feasibility of a designed healthcare space with software that tracks their motions while virtually exploring patient areas. The healthcare and commercial sectors are among several areas in which the firm is exploring the use of VR technology in the design process.
Research underway After successfully piloting VR with designs for Vancouver’s Robson Square Revitalization and Ohio’s Cleveland Clinic Cancer Building – as well as healthcare projects in Northern California and the state of Qatar–researchers will explore the development of two educational VR showrooms in San Francisco, California and Vancouver, British Columbia to engage clients. The project will also include extensive software product testing to assess which evolving VR technologies best complement use in buildings design. The second research phase is expected to finish in early 2017.
Project leadership Stantec Architectural Associate Brendan Mullins is serving as the VR research lead. A graduate of the University of Colorado, Boulder, Mullins holds a blended background in architectural design and digital media with design experience in gaming and buildings.