For the past year we have been using the Oculus Rift for Virtual Reality architectural presentations. It's an amazing tool for visualizing architectural designs (check out a previous post here) and helps eliminate any questions a client might have if they aren't entirely comfortable reading traditional floor plans and sections. However, one problem we face when adopting new technologies such as Virtual Reality into the architecture profession is getting the people we work with to embrace them.
There is always a resistance to new technologies and change in general. A few weeks ago we exhibited at the Capital Home Show, and gave our (always) free demonstration of Virtual Reality and how we use it in architecture. The 18-34 crowd had a pretty high acceptance rate with it, but as the crowd got older, the number of people willing to even give it a try declined dramatically.
We were quite pleased then, and not ashamed of a little humble-brag, about how excited our firm's Octogenarian forebear was with the technology. An architect himself and a mentor to our Principal and many others, Joseph J. Mangan, was designing the Gas Pavillion at the New York Worlds Fair long before computers entered everyday life and the architectural workflow.
He was an early adopter of CAD in the 80's in his firm, and he has always been an incredibly forward thinking man, so there probably should not have been much surprise when he jumped into Virtual Reality like a fish into a pond. He put the headset on and almost instantly said "Wow, this is really good!"
He was very impressed with the quality of the 3D model, the computer-generated lighting and the total space-immersion the Oculus Rift provides. As an architect in his late 80's he could articulate quite specifically how superior this was as a visualization experience, compared with how architects have presented their designs over the last 60 years and beyond.
The beauty and true power of this exercise is that we set up the machine on his dining room table in New York, and he walked through a house we have not yet built in Washington DC.
Want to try it yourself? Contact us to set up an office visit!