Studio AE

Exploring the spaces of the future with the help of VR

Moving beyond the boundaries of 2D

VR (Virtual Reality) technology allows us to explore the architecture of spaces that exist only in our imagination.

VR is an immersive experience that transforms the way architects and clients communicate sensations, emotions, information, materials, perspectives, feeling and the atmosphere of a real building or space.

Background | History

Virtual reality was first used in the 1970s in the medical, military, and aerospace industries. In the late 1980s, Autodesk, an international design software company, developed Cyber Security, the first accessible use of early VR technology for PC users. Back then, VR was developed primarily for the entertainment, gaming, and film industries. The relatively recent transition to architecture is a very useful consequence for our field.

The COVID-19 pandemic increased technology usage on a global scale. Online meetings became more frequent and the interest of big companies in the development of the metaverse has accelerated the use of imaginary realities such as VR, AR, or MR.

Classification | VR. AR. MR

- VR is short for Virtual Reality

- AR stands for Augmented Reality

The difference between VR & AR is that Augmented Reality can be better framed into a context. A classic example was the game Pokémon and the "monsters" that were hiding around the city.

Apart from its use in entertainment, augmented reality also has applications in many areas in which additional data is needed on-site. For example, in construction, it can be used to display information about networks that are not visible, which are either buried or hidden inside built elements. The instructions for the installations, for certain parts of the project, or cloud information can be accessed by simply scanning a QR code printed on a part or a material, thus ensuring a seamless transfer of information to installation teams, allowing them to execute very complex jobs with much more ease.

- MR, Mixed Reality

MR uses both augmented and virtual reality technologies. At the heart of these technologies is a 3D model of the future building.

Benefits | Customer experience

Compared to a static, photorealistic rendering, the VR interaction with the future built spaces allows us to feel and perceive the space in all three dimensions, and we can replicate the feeling of walking right through the said spaces. Once the VR glasses are on, it’s as if you are teleported into the future, transported into another reality that doesn't exist yet. This does not only concern the understanding of certain drawings that can sometimes be abstract, we are referring to a journey within the spaces, accompanied by many layers of information.

VR also allows us to save time. It’s a fast way to convey information and make decisions.

Reality rendering | The atmosphere of the space

An important advantage is that VR creates a life-like experience because it allows the user to understand the depth, height, and length of the proportions, he can sense the light, observe the materials, and feel the emotion associated with being in the said space.

Moreover, another very important advantage is the fact that the architect can easily communicate his ideas to the client. The use of virtual reality is recommended during the early design stages, the concept phase. It allows the parties to make sure that they understand the ideas and that they are looking in the same direction towards the future.

The use of VR is a fast way to validate an existing idea. With its help, the barriers of the two-dimensional screen disappear. Architectural form, light, and shadow are rendered accurately and in a way that is very similar to reality.


VR technology involves the hardware part (glasses, controllers, PC) and a software part to render the imagined atmosphere. To be able to use it, the architect will need to know how to use several apps. The client should schedule a meeting at the architect's office to have a fully immersive experience.

Presently, the use of VR in the field of architecture is in its infancy and few architects in Romania have adopted this solution. Using VR means learning how to use new software, as well as dedicating time and physical space to experiment with it.

Passing through buildings

Additionally, VR allows us to transcend fixed boundaries and it can even be used to simulate walking through a future building. It can be used to express relevant information, the context, and, more importantly, the relationship between the building and its end user. When carefully crafted, the VR experience can also create a feeling of hovering over the scene.

What is surprising is that you can instantly transport yourself to another newly created world and immediately forget your whereabouts. The brain adapts quickly.

How the Studio ae team started using VR | The first project

Our first VR project started after a question from one of our clients. To be able to make a decision, the client needed to better understand the geometry of the roof. Simply put, we were looking for the answer that would help the client. At the same time, we aimed to convey the emotion of the architectural solution (and our ideas) as best as possible.

The project involved a ground-floor house with an interior patio courtyard, which had to be designed to meet passive house standards. Therefore, it was an important long-term investment for the client. It was his dream house, and VR helped him perceive the building from all interior and exterior angles, it allowed him to walk around the building.  He was visibly enthusiastic with the rendered reality.

For our team, an important advantage is that we already develop every project in 3D-BIM using Revit, making it easier and faster to transition to VR. To prepare for the presentation scene, we also used compatible software, processed the 3D model, and performed tests to make sure that we were able to provide the full VR experience.

For the client, it was an immersive, new, surprising experience, which gave him the clarity he was looking for. He made the needed decision right there and there and he also liked and felt comfortable in his future home.

The use of VR is a testimony to the subjectiveness of perception. The brain is very easily "tricked”, and the way we move in the real world is quite strange when we believe ourselves to be immersed in a world that only exists in virtual reality.  

The future of VR in architecture & design

VR can help us recreate historic cities, allowing us to discover and experience architectural history from a new perspective. For centuries, architects have dreamed and imagined utopian cities, with the Renaissance being a milestone in this sense. I believe that we will be able to explore Leon Battista Alberti's Ideal City of the Renaissance with the help of virtual reality.

Technology can help us feel the architectural solutions and the spaces that have yet to come into existence. Through VR, architecture also becomes a game of shapes and forms for the client, through which he can discover the joys of the future space in which he will feel comfortable.

Looking towards the future, in the case of architects, VR is a new medium for dreamed and imagined utopian projects that can also change the real world.

It's time to use VR to convey how we can live better and to show that there are better ways to build.

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