Employing virtual reality for the collaborative manipulation of architectural designs
Current architectural and engineering design programmes enable complex and creative designs to be easily and accurately modelled. Using advanced virtual reality (VR) applications, designers can immersively perceive and interact with their creations. Unfortunately, these solutions focus on aesthetics, ignoring functionality. Architects and engineers therefore cannot take full advantage of VR solutions when attempting complex constructions. The EU-funded PrismArch project aims to enable the collaborative design manipulation and accurate assessment of new design decisions. To this end, it will blend aesthetics, simulation models and meta-information in a way that can be presented in a contextualised and comprehensive manner in VR. The project’s work will allow architects and designers to jointly assess the outcome of their decisions, thereby creating universally optimal solutions.
The recent past of the AEC industry is characterized by digital breakthroughs that have dramatically shaped the design process. The powerful programs that are currently available offer unlimited possibilities, allowing complex and creative designs to be modelled accurately with ease while enabling collaboration and Building Information Modeling. The realization of structurally complex constructions is an inter-disciplinary process that passes through the close collaboration of architects and engineers. By employing advanced VR applications, designers can immersively perceive and interact with the current status of their creations and realize the consequences of their decisions. Unfortunately, these solutions focus on the aesthetic aspect of architecture while ignoring the driving cause hidden behind each architectural creation, functionality, that can only be perceived through advanced simulations combined with powerful visualization. Therefore, architects and engineers that struggle to create complex constructions which abide to high functional standards cannot take full advantage of VR solutions. PrismArch aims to achieve a “prismatic blend” between aesthetics, simulation models and meta-information that can be presented in a contextualized and comprehensive manner in VR in order to allow collaborative manipulation of the design and accurate assessment of new design decisions. This achievement passes through intuitive interactions in a VR world with high-quality photorealistic graphics that satisfies the needs of all types of designers in parallel. By supporting dynamic collaboration among architects, structural and MEP engineers, PrismArch will allow them to jointly decide, preview and assess the outcome of their decisions towards a universal optimal solution. Through PrismArch, the designers will be able to experience in real-time how their decisions affect both their own and other disciplines via a discipline-specific and personalized point of view.