BIM Goes Virtual: Oculus Rift and virtual reality take architectural visualization to the next level

BIM Goes Virtual: Oculus Rift and virtual reality take architectural visualization to the next level

Almost three decades before Building Information Modeling (BIM) would go mainstream, the term “Virtual Building” was used in the earliest implementation of BIM through Graphisoft’s ArchiCAD debut in 1987. Since then, the concept hasn’t changed, but visualization technology has advanced to the point where designers, engineers, contractors, and building owners can become so immersed in the virtual building model that they feel as if they’re actually there. Technologies like the Unity3D game engine and the new $300 Oculus Rift virtual reality headset are making it possible.

City Planning and Urban Design with Oculus Rift

City Planning and Urban Design with Oculus Rift

Most of what we have been exploring with Virtual Cities initiative, starting with Virtual Dubuque, has been about how 3D city replicas can be used to understand cities in a deeply immersive way – rather than the abstract experience of Google Earth, or the photos from Street View, we wanted to make the virtual city experience more accessible, customizable, data-rich environments that convey a more holistic understanding of what it’s like to actually be in the city.