Blog Post

March 28, 2021

The role of Virtual Reality in Architectural design

Architect and member of the Royal Society of Ulster Architects Angela Alonso Herrador shares her thoughts about the role of virtual reality in architectural design.

From its earliest inception, Architecture has been communicated through two dimensional drawings, from the beautifully hand drawn details of the Victorian Master Builder through to modern highly technical computer-generated construction drawings. The Architect’s roll of large format drawings has historically been the method of communicating their ideas to their clients and builders.

Now however, there is a new kid on the block, Virtual Reality. From its tentative introduction in the mid-nineties by Apple, VR is now becoming the best way of communicating places and spaces in our virtual world. Architects have naturally gravitated towards the use of VR as a tool to communicate their ideas.

Virtual Reality Model of an Apartment – C60 Architects (Belfast)

We are now familiar with Google Street View, and the adoption of VR by the gaming industry. The availability of smartphones capable of accessing VR content allows us all to access to content in the palm of our hands which was until recently only available to those with rooms full specialist computing equipment. As a result, today’s Architects are using VR to communicate their vision.

As well as immersing the client into their proposed scheme, VR opens a host of new opportunities… You can change the time of day to see how shadows will fall on a specific day, or can change the worktop in the kitchen to try out different interior options. You can even position your artwork in a room or see how your existing furniture will fit in the new space. At C60 Architects we even use VR as a way of communicating design proposals with Autistic and non-verbal clients. VR therefore allows architecture to be truly accessible to everyone, everywhere, at all times.

Most smartphones support this technology.

Immersive technology allows you to experience the building before construction starts

Historically it was sometimes difficult for clients to understand two dimensional plans or visualise exactly what was being proposed. Now VR allows you to experience the spaces first-hand, and make better informed design decisions. Where traditional drawings only showed a single aspect of view, VR allows fully immersive experience.  By using 360 photographs and 3D laser scanning of existing buildings, it is also possible to blend new proposals with the existing environment to create an Augmented Reality and view proposals in their context.

VR is a useful tool for visualizing materials and simulating lighting conditions


As the laws of nature to not apply in VR you can set your imagination free and create the spaces of your dreams, free from social distancing and with VR goggles instead of a mask. However, your Architect will be on hand to keep your feet on the ground and ensure that your creative vision is capable of becoming a reality.


The ongoing Covid19 pandemic has changed forever the way we all work and interact. In the future it is not a huge leap to imagine that you will be meeting family and colleagues in virtual spaces as Zoom and Microsoft Teams rapidly evolve to include VR technology. At C60 Architects we are now holding our client meetings online within their virtual projects and it is only a matter of time before everyone is doing this.

If you want to discuss your project then Find an architect today.