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How Virtual Reality Design Shapes the Physical Environment

By Maria Lorena Lehman — Get more articles like this sent to your email HERE.

‍Image Credit: © PIRO4D | Pixabay

THE VIRTUAL “PLAYGROUND”

Architectural design in virtual reality takes on many forms: from environmental concept design in films and video games to concept development simulations during the architectural design process. It is fascinating to see how what can be made for the virtual will often find its way into the physical world. For many, the virtual becomes a “playground” for experimentation, exploration, and discovery of new ideas that get translated into the physical world.

Have you ever noticed how many special effects in film later become innovations in real-life? For example, the iconic television series Star Trek depicted computer technologies and mobile handheld devices decades before our more sophisticated computing technologies and the smart phone. Hence, there is a connection between the virtual world of design through creative imagination and the physical world design through creative innovation. And often, during an innovative process it is the virtual that precedes the physical, whether that creation life-cycle lasts for six months or six decades.

A NEW KIND OF AUGMENTED FUTURE

The virtual world provides space to explore new possibilities by engaging in design that is more speculative. And as virtual design tools become even more sophisticated, these design explorations will eventually blur the boundaries between virtual and physical realities. In other words, physical environments will be able exude new functions of beauty and meaning as virtual reality design gets faster, easier, and more hyper-real.

For designers of environments, this opens new possibilities. As the virtual world for design evolves from not only being a “sandbox” for exploration, but also becomes a new “layer” for constructing in the physical world. In other words, the virtual will not only precede physical reality, but it will become a part of it – creating a new kind of augmented future.

NEW DESIGN TOOLS, PROCESSES, AND OUTCOMES

For this reason, it is important for you as an architect, filmmaker, or game designer to look beyond your design realm. It is important to understand film and game design if you are an architectural practitioner, and if you are a film and game designer it is important to understand how architecture is designed. By using an inter-disciplinary approach, it becomes possible to expand opportunities and innovative discoveries within your profession today.

If the future of architectural design is properly fused with virtual worlds, it becomes possible to create new forms of experience, function, aesthetic, and meaning within the design of environments. You will benefit from exploring new tools, processes, and outcomes of design from other disciplines. Your own design work will exponentially improve.

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Maria: I came across your website through a reference in today's Architect Weekly ezine and am delighted I did. I'll bookmark your site and check back often. I read the first article and then the second and thirty minutes later realized how much time had passed. I've been practicing for thirty years and have always missed the stimulation of academia. I find each of your brief dissertations sort of like a day in design studio. Thanks for the inspiration.

Ron Ward
AI Group Design
I am excited to see you touch a vein of values in architecture, I have been chasing myself for years. Your depth of involvement in these very deep subjects is really beautiful and passionately dealt with and well written. Sound, color and value, shape, texture, scale, smell.... all definitive measures of the spaces we should be alert to. [...] I will savor the rest of your investigation of sensuality in architecture. I'm Glad I found you.

Dennis McLaughlin
McLaughlin Architect
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Maria Lorena Lehman is a visionary author, designer, and educator from the United States. Maria holds a Bachelor of Architecture with Honors from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and a Master in Design with Distinction from Harvard University Graduate School of Design.

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