• Big Data & Technology
  • Nathan Sykes
  • JUL 20, 2018

Big Data and VR Are Rebuilding Architecture

Ready to learn Big Data? Browse Big Data Training & Certification courses developed by industry thought leaders and Experfy in Harvard Innovation Lab.

Massive leaps in modern technology have changed nearly every aspect of our lives. From commercial advertising to automated industry to self-driving cars, technology is advancing at a rapid pace in almost every area. Virtual reality, or VR, is no exception to the leaps humanity is making toward the future.

VR has been in use in the gaming and medical industries for some time, creating immersive experiences for users. VR is even helping host live music or sporting events. Now, thanks to architectural ingenuity, VR can allow you to “tour” unfinished buildings and see them as if they’re ready to open. Data from the Internet can even help with what people look for in modern building design.

Technology has changed and advanced everything, and architecture is catching up.

Buildings for Machines

With all the technology and data in the world, those servers need places to exist. In a very rare occurrence, architects aren't creating buildings for just people anymore. Servers need homes, too. The technology in the buildings can even control thermostats and lighting, not needing much human interaction at all.

Warehouses are by far not a new concept, but the need for buildings for the exclusive purpose of server storage is on the rise, to the point every major company requires them. More architects are finding themselves building homes for servers, which are taking up space where people could live.

While these types of buildings keep architects with a full-time job, they do have drawbacks on the overall area development. As we progress in technology, the need for resources will rise, and these buildings will soon be commonplace.

Virtual Tours

An architect envisioning their work is one thing, but explaining the vision to a client is quite another. Architects are accustomed to using drawings or 3-D models to show off their designs. Now people can put on a headset to enter the virtual world of a building that only exists as a concept.

With VR, clients and architects alike can take walks through a building still in the planning phases. The purpose is to experience the building before completion to weed out any miscommunications or early problems. VR can even take people through every construction phase to see how everything will be done.

The magic of VR is in flexibility and the user's creativity. Adding sunlight to the experience could change everything. It’s even possible to add virtual people who move around in the same patterns as real people in similar buildings. Seeing how people interact in the virtual building can help with early decision-making.

Policies and Planning

VR can artificially create sunlight to showcase what the buildings will look like, but there are more details to consider during the planning phase. For instance, the region's topography is a massive player in planning, and VR can recreate that. It can also recreate typical weather patterns and crowds of people for the experience.

VR makes it easy to provide different ways to view the building. People can go inside or get an aerial view instantaneously. It’s also simple to toggle between issues surrounding the environment or city policy laws. Whatever the client or architect feels is necessary to check on, they can immediately view it up close and personal.

Meeting corporate, city and federal policies before construction begins saves a lot of money, and VR can help. Making sure everything gets built correctly and to code can be a difficult task if the architecture firm or construction company can’t personally examine every detail. Now, anyone involved in the project can check any aspect of it if the technology is readily available.

Smart Buildings

Technology’s role doesn't end after a building is open for business. Just like smart appliances are finding their ways into every home, they're also entering commercial buildings with gusto. Smart buildings offer connectivity and heightened security against potential hackers. Smart buildings are also great places for data mining.

Architects can collect data in smart buildings to find out what the occupants like and dislike directly from the source. Instant feedback on their designs or designs from their peers can help create future structures everyone will be happy to be in. The occupants can review solutions to problems that need immediate fixes, and the architect can make sure everyone feels satisfied.

The idea of continuous self-improvement cuts out the middlemen. Just like how business-to-business companies are using data to meet consumers’ needs better, architects will use data to ensure their occupants are happier and more comfortable.

The Future of Design

Data is providing feedback to every corporation, which can then use the data to better themselves and get more business. Architects are no different, and are coming to use technology in the same ways. With VR improving daily, they can even show clients exactly what they're paying for before any construction begins. In short, now is a special time to be an architect. Technology working for you and becoming a tool for business is exactly what the world has been waiting for.

The Harvard Innovation Lab

Made in Boston @

The Harvard Innovation Lab


Matching Providers

Matching providers 2
comments powered by Disqus.