Architecture's virtual shake-up 2: Physical Buildings, designed Virtually
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Date posted: 07/11/2005
Posted by: Site Administration
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It had to happen if you think about it. With the accelerating tech curve, and building skills becoming ever more refined for virtual environments as the tech advances, at some point it was obvious that builders in virtual worlds would become architects in the physical one.

In the late 1990s, Liquid Light Studios - a 3D animation company - came into prominence after creating the dancing baby featured in the television series Ally McBeal.

Since then, they have seen a lucrative opportunity towering overhead, in the world of construction and design.

By creating 3D animations of developments in the works, they are showcasting to potential home buyers exactly whatthey are paying for, whereas reviously they would have had to rely on little plastic models, and floor plans to make their decisions.

Julie Pesusich, of Liquid Light Studios, says: "We've created renderings for as little as $3,500 and elaborate presentations for under a $100,000.

"There are some cases where we've worked with developers who've had a $300 million development budget and they're actually spending just a fraction of their marketing budget on a virtual presentation.

"Presentation's going to buy them a lot of value. They are able to secure capital by attracting investors. They're able to get their city entitlements as well as sell the property before it's even built, which is ultimately their end goal."

Do you really get value for money from these presentations?

Simon Horton, who commissioned a presentation for his new retail complex, says it is not a decision to be taken lightly.

"The cost benefits of using 3D animation are questionable. It's a very expensive technology and I think one has to have the right project.

"Then it is justified, as great projects require really high-end presentation material and 3D animation certainly provides that."

The appeal of virtual reality is not only seductive in selling developments, but it is also entering new territory in the design process, as Julie Pesusich explains.

"Interestingly enough, in mid-production, once they start to see their design take form, they're able to make changes, revisions, enhancements that they may not have caught until the actual project was built.

"We've had one case where a client was actually relocating escalators inside a retail plaza because it would be a better flow of traffic by having them in a different area.

"Now if they were to find that out during actual construction it would cost them a lot more to make those changes than doing it in a virtual world."

Virtual reality technology is shaking the foundations of the architecture world.

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