Visualizing the Future of Architecture & Engineering

Visualizing the Future of Architecture & Engineering

As virtual reality (VR) continues to improve, firms in the engineering and architectural services industries are finding novel uses for the technology in their day-to-day operations. From client communication and model presentations to cooperative design work, the list of applications continues to grow. How will the widespread use of VR impact the industries going forward?

Bringing the Design to Life

VR and AR (augmented reality) have found their way into a variety of design-focused industries, such as furniture and clothing shopping, as well as a range of other industries including manufacturing and military applications. Consumer uses for VR are centered on entertainment and retail advertising, with the ability to view demonstrations and visualizations of goods or interact with virtual worlds. The technologies have long found use within the fields of architecture and engineering as a means to visualize projects with customers throughout the design process.

VR first appeared in engineering applications more than 20 years ago as projector-based systems with 2D imaging. Renderings were projected onto walls within an empty room, enabling architects, engineers, and their clients to better envisage designs. Modern versions are much more advanced, featuring the ability to simulate moving through a physical space and interact with the environment. VR has finally shifted from a capital-intensive, internally used technology to a consumer-friendly format.

Seeing the Big Picture

Architecture firm Perkins+Will launched their AX application – short for “Augmented Experience” – in 2017. The app is available for Apple’s iPhone for free, and allows users to view virtual scale models of the company’s projects. Perkins+Will plans to utilize the platform throughout the development and design process in the future. The company is also exploring the use of shared, online virtual environments in which multiple architects can collaborate in real time. Enscape (Enscape), an increasingly popular plug-in for design programs like Revit and SketchUp, enables real-time 3D rendering and can be utilized with VR platforms, making it valuable for both client-designer interactions and previews as well as designer-designer collaboration.

Even manufacturing firms such as Goodyear find themselves utilizing forms of VR modeling to predict tread wear and hydroplaning performance on new tire designs as a supplement and potential replacement to the use of long-established weathering labs. The applications for both VR and AR in the fields of engineering and architecture services are seemingly endless. As the use of these technologies grows more ubiquitous, the profitability and speed of design projects will increase exponentially.

Want to Learn More?

Don’t worry, we have you covered! For additional information and analysis of US industry trends, see Architectural Services: United States and Engineering Services: United States, reports published by the Freedonia Focus Reports division of The Freedonia Group.

Architectural Services: United States forecasts US architectural services revenues in nominal US dollars to 2023. Total revenues are segmented by market in terms of:

  • nonresidential
  • single-family
  • interior design
  • landscape
  • multi-family
  • other markets, such as historical restoration, architectural advisory, and urban planning

To illustrate historical trends, total revenue and the various segments are provided in annual series from 2008 to 2018.

This report includes the revenues of both employer and nonemployer establishments. US architectural service providers’ revenues include income from all domestic locations primarily engaged in providing architectural services. Thus, receipts from other activities performed by these locations are included in total revenues. Receipts from establishments that may provide such services but are primarily engaged in a different activity are excluded from this report.

Engineering Services: United States forecasts to 2023 US engineering services revenue in nominal US dollars. Total revenue is segmented by market in terms of:

  • industrial and manufacturing
  • transportation infrastructure
  • commercial, public, and institutional
  • power generation and distribution
  • other engineering projects, such as municipal utilities, hazardous and industrial waste systems, and telecommunications and broadcasting systems
  • other revenue sources, such as construction services, engineering advisory and drafting services, and surveying and mapping services

Total revenue is also segmented by sector as follows:

  • private
  • public

To illustrate historical trends, total revenue and the various segments are provided in annual series from 2008 to 2018.

US engineering services providers’ revenues include income from all domestic locations primarily engaged in providing engineering services. Thus, receipts from other activities performed by these locations are included in total revenues. Receipts from establishments that may provide such services but are primarily engaged in a different activity are excluded from this report. Domestic locations that perform services for foreign customers are also included in industry revenues.

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About the Author

Chris Dyer is a Market Research Analyst for Freedonia Focus Reports. He holds a Master of Arts in Security Studies, and his experience as an analyst covers multiple industries.