Imagine being able to able to explore London’s newest skyscraper in the palm of your hand, before its foundations have even been laid. Or to virtually explore the kitchen of your new home before you’ve bought it.
Augmented reality is offering an alternative vision of the future for architecture, as designers embrace new and innovative ways to showcase their work to the public.
We sat down with David Cafferty, Director at HLM Architects to hear how they’re using augmented reality (AR) to best exhibit their work, bringing it to life like never before.
The international firm is among the first in the country to see how AR can be brought into the work they do. The first stage has been to put zapable content into a brochure for the MIPIM real estate show last month, with people able to explore three of HLM’s projects on their own tablets and smartphones.
It featured a 3D building projected out of the page, allowing users to explore it from a 360 degree view in day or night time. Needless to say it went down a treat so we caught up with David to chat to him about his experiences with AR, so far!
Zappar: Thanks for taking the time to speak to us, tell us the background to why you wanted to explore augmented reality.
David: This was a real voyage of discovery for us. We wanted to see how AR could supplement what we already do in the world of Computer Aided Design (CAD) and Building Information Modelling (BIM). We have essentially taken all our existing data and transferred it into Zappar.
Z: We’ve already seen what AR can do in a number of other sectors, but how will this change the way you work as architects?
D: We’ve been exploring what the application can do with a real creative outlook. Our key area of investigation was to create a strong and interesting experience for the end-user, while being able to show and interact with all that data in the modelling.
Z: And the fact that this can be done through a mobile device must make a huge difference?
D: Absolutely. The whole aspect of it being on a mobile allows clients to see anything we want to share about a particular design project from any location.
Z: How does showing this sort of work through augmented reality compare with what’s out there right now?
D: At the moment you can use the likes of CGI and video to show your project, but these are not as interesting as AR. You are able to choose the message you want to convey very simply, and on a mobile device it makes it very powerful.
Z: Will this change the way we design?
D: Well, it’s fair to say it’s not quite ready to take over the way we design things. However, it will be enhancing the whole design process as part of everything we do. We can still be very clever and very creative with how AR enhances the experience; be that visually, conceptual, or more and more so technically.
Z: So what are your predictions for future? How do you think AR will develop?
D: As mobiles get more and more advanced, devices in the future will be able to store and run much larger file sizes at higher speeds – opening up even more creative opportunities. The computing power of the iPhone 6 is 50 times that of the original iPhone – so think about how this can go even further in the next five to ten years.
Z: What other applications do see the technology having?
D: With wearable technology becoming more common place, AR will also be able used on construction sites using live building data. It’s really exciting to see how this is going to be applied!
With technology advancing at such a rapid pace, there is more power in our pockets than ever before. This means brands and businesses will be able to get more creative than ever with augmented reality.
If you want to check out how else augmented reality is shaking up all things property; find out what’s next for the digital house-hunter here.