The virtual reality revolution in architecture: enter into your home before it is even built

Have you ever considered what your living room would look like if you changed the wallpaper without having to purchase the supplies? Or thought about what it would look like to re-arrange furniture in your living room without the need for heavy lifting? These are just some of the areas in which virtual reality can aid architecture and design.

What is virtual reality?

The term virtual reality (VR) was formalised and became popular in the late 80’s. The term refers to a three-dimensional, computer-generated environment which can be explored and interacted with. To create this illusion of reality, a range of systems can be used. These systems include headsets, special gloves and omnidirectional treadmills (mechanical devices similar to typical treadmills that allow a person to perform motions in any direction).

The current state of VR technology in architecture

Traditionally, the video-game market dominated VR development. VR technology has also provided useful applications in other industries, such as medicine, flight simulator forensics, fighter pilot training, etc. In architecture, the extent of the VR effect remained relatively modest, but now technology and its applications are fast catching up.

VR technology introduces a revolutionary way of designing 3D forms and offers the opportunity of conveying designs to end customers by walking them through a VR design, rather than just a two dimensional drawing. To provide this type of experience, architects currently utilise VR tools that were initially intended for the video gaming industry. As the knowledge surrounding VR technology grows outside the gamer market and expands into other fields, including architecture, a full range of application tools are expected to be commercially released, focusing on the particular demands of architectural 3D design.

Barriers to adoption


Technology funding

The UK Government has worked to address this and between 2012 and 2016 there was a 100% increase in research funding from £15 million to £30 million through funding programs such as Innovate UK.

The companies that have invested heavily to stay ahead of the competition have been able to benefit from R&D tax relief. Our team of software programmers and scientists are able to assist in this area by claiming R&D tax relief on behalf of clients.  Since the scheme began in 2000 our team has successfully claimed back around £150m for our clients across all business sectors with a 100% success rate.

Skilled workforce

Our engineers recommend that the UK must also ensure there is a skilled workforce able to meet the future demand, supporting both university research and education in schools. Involving industrial partners from an early stage will also identify skill gaps and future requirements. Furthermore, this will increase the adoption of VR technology by allowing businesses to strategise for its future implementation.

Our experts recommend a range of tax approved funding that allow businesses to incentivise their employees and upskill current workforce’s capabilities.

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