Architecture firm turns to virtual reality to show off building designs

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Architecture firm turns to virtual reality to show off building designs
Architect Luis Cetrangolo demonstrated software that enables a user to take a virtual walk through a spacethat’s still in the design stage.

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Architecture firm turns to virtual reality to show off building designs
Architect Luis Cetrangolo demonstrated software that enables a user to take a virtual walk through a spacethat’s still in the design stage.

You might not think architects have much to learn from video game enthusiasts. But when it comes to creating interactive virtual spaces, gaming technology has the edge.

That’s why architects at Tsoi/Kobus & Associates in Cambridge have started using the processing system that powers virtual reality games to put clients inside development projects before they are built. Using a cloud-based system called Revizto, architects can create a digital hospital down to the last brick, and then invite a client to “walk” through the space to see if the ceilings are high enough or the windows provide enough light.

To “enter” a building, the client dons a pair of Oculus virtual reality goggles and gets an immersive first-person view. If she turns her head to the right, she sees what’s to the right. If she walks down stairs, using a joystick or keyboard commands to move, she feels a slight bounce on each step. She can walk through doors or go up on the roof to get a sense of how it will feel to be inside the space.

“That’s the magic of it,” said Luis Cetrangolo, the architect at the Harvard Square practice who was responsible for bringing the system, which is still in development, to the firm. []

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