A Digital Frontier for HPA

August 16th, 2016

The term “virtual reality” has been lurking in the periphery of our popular culture for decades.  The mere mention of the term can evoke images of the movie Tron, the holodeck from Star Trek, or some other like Sci-Fi movie’s depiction of an amazing future technology. Virtual Reality is a term that has been used to loosely describe any number of digitally enhanced methods that aim to fool the user’s senses, to impart a sense of presence through simulation.  Only within the past couple of years have any practical attempts to harness the hype surrounding VR been attempted and, unfortunately, these attempts have earned modern VR a perception among potential users of being a gimmick or fad.

This label is not entirely undeserved, as the iteration that most people are familiar with – Google Cardboard – is essentially nothing more than an updated version of a centuries old parlor trick.  This trick, the process of stereoscopy, fools a user’s eyes into perceiving depth by producing two slightly offset images of the same subject – one for each eye. This primitive iteration of VR has significant limitations and does not represent the full capabilities offered by the technology.  The true magic of modern VR remains vastly unknown and under-utilized: the ability to immerse a user in a space which does not yet exist and allow them to interact with it before it is built.  This ability allows architects to rapidly prototype and iterate on their designs in a way which was never before possible.  Clients and architects can easily and intuitively inhabit their spaces and truly understand how it will feel to interact within them.

Recognizing the value of VR to our profession, HPA expended significant time and effort researching this ability and we are excited to announce that we are now able to offer VR services and products to our clients! These offerings reflect what we believe will be a larger architecture and design epoch brought about by the capabilities offered by VR.  Our initial offerings focus on presenting our designs to prospective users with beautiful, immersive visualizations and interactive simulations which will drive interest and evoke a sense of wonder and play within their prospective users – VR is fun!  Additionally, we aim to use VR as a rapid prototyping tool to develop our architecture with our clients and allow them to satiate the curiosity of what it would be like to step inside an architectural model.

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As virtual reality technology continues to develop, we imagine that our physical architecture may also be augmented with virtual additions that allow unprecedented new capabilities for users to interact with the space around them, even entire spaces designed exclusively to be inhabited within VR, completely changing our expectations of what defines the built environment.  Virtual reality truly is a new frontier of architecture and we hope you are as excited about the possibilities as we are!

Please check back within the coming weeks as we continue to upload content and examples of our new VR capabilities.  For any questions or inquiries you may have concerning VR @ HPA, contact marketing@hparch.com.  For more clips of our videos, visit the HPA Youtube Channel.

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