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Case Study: How VR helps in design communication at Dwyer Architectural

Dwyer Architectural is an architectural and interior design firm specializing in healthcare, higher education, and medical research facilities. Dwyer is committed to improving patient, student, and employee outcomes through the spaces they design. We spoke to Jameson Talucci from the company where he shared his views on the use of Virtual reality in his work.

Your role at Dwyer Architectural

I work as a senior designer at Dwyer Architectural. The majority of our work is in healthcare architecture. We take on all jobs, from renovating a single room to completely renovating entire hospital wings, and building additions.

Our focus is to deliver the best results based on our clients' requirements when they provide us with their design specifications for a new space or new technology. Usually, we visit the site to take measurements, try to get a sense of the space, and then design layouts for them. We exchange ideas with our clients until we meet their requirements.

The shift from the traditional approach to VR

Previously, during client discussions, we would make changes to the floor plan with a pen and a pencil. However, the floor plan is only a 2D illustration, and not everyone can interpret what it means.

However, the experience with stakeholders in virtual reality is significantly different. We involve everyone in the decision-making process, from hospital executives to nurses, and in order for them to understand and comprehend the design, a stronger visual representation is required, and VR helps us to accomplish this.

Since virtual reality puts you exactly where you want to be in the design and provides stakeholders with a clear understanding, people can understand scales and distances between objects while viewing the design, and the accuracy is equal to that of viewing it in 2D.

How did VR start at Dwyer?

Previously, we would present renderings to our clients, or in certain cases, we would have mockups built. Mockups are a to-scale representation of a room that the client can physically walk through. Of course, mockups are expensive, but we wanted to offer the client the opportunity to actually walk through the design.

Based on our client’s needs, we started exploring VR options where the client could walk through the designs on their own. So, while researching headset options, we discovered that Oculus was a good fit, and we looked into user-friendly software that supported the Sketchup interface. We discovered Sentio, tried it, and discovered that it was ideal for our requirements. Getting Sketchup models into VR was pretty simple on Sentio, and we really liked that.

Can you share a project where VR played a crucial role?

We were working on a hybrid operating room that had a lot of equipment like lights, screens, controllers, shelves, medical imaging equipment, and six medical equipment booms hanging from the ceiling. The doctor will be standing in front of an operating table with all of these booms around him. There is a lot of stuff all over the place, so it’s hard to visualize with a 2D plan.

So we modeled all of the booms and equipment, and then we put the VR on the doctor, who stood in front of the operating table and could examine where he could reach and what items were nearby.

We were able to get down to the fine details and little modifications that need to be done for seamless functioning in the operating room using the VR presentation.

The importance of cloud-based collaboration

Cloud-based collaboration is becoming increasingly important. In fact, given how work-from-home opportunities have increased, we are moving more and more in that direction.

Earlier, it used to be difficult to manage things from the servers, but nowadays we put more of an emphasis on project sharing over the cloud, and with VR, this is good because everything is on the cloud and is easily accessible by people.

What are the key benefits of VR from an Architect's perspective?

I think that clients have difficulty understanding the drawings, but by viewing the designs in virtual reality, they are able to comprehend each and every design element.

VR definitely has a significant impact on client presentations, and as architects, we can quickly adapt to design changes and take their suggestions into consideration. Since it facilitates communication between clients and the design team it saves time and reduces rework, I believe that VR is important for both clients as well as architects and designers.

We thank Jameson for sharing such great experiences. Check out the entire interview below.

Are you also interested to try VR for design reviews and client presentations at your work? Try Sentio VR for free or get in touch with us directly.



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