As an architect, Bevel’s Logan Smith used Virtual Reality as a design tool on the early stages of a multifamily housing project which included a grocery store and a long term care facility.
Set on a beautiful hill east of Portland, the site boasted wetlands, views of Mt. Hood, and old growth trees. The complexity of the site’s topography and natural features made planning the campus a complex problem. But walking his hilly site in room-scale VR, he could exist at 1/8″ = 1′ (giant size), pick up his buildings, and move them around the site.
Logan describes the process: “When I place the building here, how does it affect my views? How does it affect the views of the buildings behind me? Will my community garden get enough sunlight? The process of making changes, and then testing those changes by occupying the design at full scale took 30 seconds.”
He apparently wasn’t joking either. I asked him how long it would take for someone unfamiliar with VR to do the same job. “Using the tools I build them? 30 seconds.”
Site planning is just another job that takes less time and produces better products when you plan it in VR first.