How Virtual Reality Design Shapes the Physical Environment
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.