This article originally appeared on Shapeways Magazine.

Architects, developers, brokers, and interior designers often have to help their clients and prospective buyers envision a space that doesn’t exist yet. The traditional way to do this involved drawings made on drafting tables and hand-crafted models.

However, technology has dramatically changed customer expectations, and over the past two decades glossy, photorealistic renderings have supplanted drawings. Meanwhile, architectural design is so firmly rooted in 3D modeling CAD software that the field is increasingly turning to 3D printing to create precise and quick physical models.

New Ways to Simulate Space

Recently, developers for high-profile New York City projects have shown a willingness to make bold investments in immersive showrooms that do much more than just display a model apartment.

Related Companies, the developer of a High Line condominium project by Pritzker Prize-winning architect Zaha Hadid, commissioned Hush, a firm known for designing experiences that integrate physical spaces with digital technology, to create an immersive showroom that embodied the spirit of Hadid’s designs.

The showroom contained 3D printed models of Hadid’s signature curved forms, an interactive theater that displayed amenities and told the story of the building, and a touchscreen interface connected to a physical model of the building.

In addition, Hush was commissioned by luxury home titan Toll Brothers to create a showroom installation for 121 E. 22nd, a Manhattan tower designed by OMA. Faceted screens that are conceptually congruent with the design surround prospective buyers, displaying information about the building and neighborhood.

3D Storytelling Beyond the Showroom

In other instances, 3D technology can tell a story without bringing people inside.

For VIA 57 West, a large pyramidal residence on the Hudson River, the creative production studio Squint/Opera made a 360° video narrated by architect Bjarke Ingels that you can spin around and see how the design came together.

 Another building by Bjarke Ingels Group leverages virtual reality to allow users to visit a virtual space. Archilogic, a company that specializes in converting architectural drawings into immersive 3D environments, recreated Bjarke Ingels Group’s 2016 Serpentine Pavilion in London in virtual reality, so you can explore the building even after it has been disassembled.

Next: Augmented Reality?

Apple’s new ARKit framework, released in June, gives developers new tools to create apps that use augmented reality, which will undoubtedly find uses in real estate, architecture, and interior design.

For example, Ikea is building an app built on ARKit that will allow shoppers to view what furniture will look like in their apartments or home before purchasing. Ikea executive Michael Valsgaard claims that the app will be the “first augmented reality app that allows you to make reliable buying decisions.”

Reprinted with permission from Shapeways.

 

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