Can Augmented Reality and Architecture come together?

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“I am thrilled about Augmented reality, because unlike virtual reality, it does not shut the world outside. Augmented reality allows the person to be present in the world and an advancement on what is presently happening.” (Tim Cook)

Augmented reality also known as AR, is interactive in nature and has a reality-based display environment that has the power of a computer generating display, sound, text and effects to improve the user’s experience in the real world. Comparing it to virtual reality, augmented reality does not replace the natural habitat like virtual reality does, instead it adds onto the simple real environment bringing the digital world into it. These advantages of AR lead to more and specific applications providing benefit to the users in entertainment, gaming, architecture, military training, engineering design, business improvements and navigation and tourism.

The biggest impacts of Augmented reality are on the Architecture and construction industries. It helps designers as well as architects know how their projects would appear on the sites. Since a lot of people have trouble visualising, AR has benefitted with the visualisation of a 2D object in 3D, in actual environment. An example is of the engineers and architects in Christchurch, New Zealand where an app called CityViewAR is used after an earthquake, to plan and rebuild the demolished buildings of real size throughout the city (Heimgartner, 2016).

Architectural software companies such as CAD (Computer-Aided-Design) and BIM (Building-Information-Modelling) have been welcoming AR in their software solutions. It uses augment reality software’s such as Autodesk, Bentley systems, Vectorworks and Sketchup which further includes smart reality, augment, pair, LORAR+ and view AR. AR is also considered as a design approach for interior designing. In a real-life environment, AR can be used to display virtual furniture, change wall colours and then modify it in real time on the screen. One can take a picture of their living room and bring in a variety of couches to see which one looks the best.

Today, Augmented Reality has been incorporated into many different aspects of our lives. It has also proven its benefits for the field of architecture, construction industries and BIM. The new uses for AR are still being developed and making the technology easier and far-reaching in terms of software, hardware and cost. Such AR innovations help in bringing architecture forward. In reality, the advancement of the Augmented Reality technology is heading in the direction to revolutionize and better the way we live.

The article is been written by Rhea Agarwal Churi, an NMIMS School of Design student, under the mentorship of Dr Shreya Maulik and Prof. Aswin.

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