The result was striking. We could look at the iPad and see the building at scale, as it will look when completed. We could turn the structure and skin on and off, really understand the building’s relationship to its context. While working on projects at Payette, the teams often lean heavily on virtual reality, using an HTC Vive headset in the office to “walk-around” the interior of an unbuilt project and explore the space. Augmented reality utilizes an entirely different perspective and leads to a new set of observations, related to design such as scale and context, that would be harder to comprehend using other methods of interrogation.
I was surprised at how we were using two different design tools to understand the project: one inherently grounded in tangible materiality, and the other taking advantage of digital augmentation to see a view of the building that would be otherwise impossible. Both are valuable assets in architectural design, and crucial tools to understand aspects of the project that are difficult to grasp with a set of construction drawings. I continue to be impressed by the range and diversity of design tools we use here at Payette, from hand sketches to virtual reality, façade mockups to augmented reality.