VR is not perfect

Virtual reality isn’t for everyone. Well, at a high quality, I actually think it is and most people love it. But VR at a low quality … can give you vertigo. The higher the quality, the less staccato the movements. It’s also more expensive, but hey, it’s only money and extremely fun to use.

It is also not for every type of space. Smaller, tighter spaces are not conducive to the 360 degree motion inherent with VR. Talk about nausea. Larger interior spaces are perfect for VR. Fly-throughs are great because they keep you moving and balanced. Though hallways can be claustrophobic, walking down a hallway can be fine as long as you’re not stationary. Exterior buildings work well. Context becomes extremely important so one feels as if it’s real and you’re actually standing outside.

VR may not be perfect, but once you experience it, it is just so cool.

In the blue trunks … 2D, and in the red trunks … 3D

So what’s better, a 2D presentation or a 3D presentation? The answer is neither. The answer is both.  The answer depends on the project and the answer depends on the end product. In all of our presentations, we have found a consistent pattern in how we express our design to the client. First a sketch, typically hand done whether rendered or not, then a more accurate plan based on an Autocad drawing, allowing us to determine real dimensions, adjacencies and site constraints. Then we take it vertical, as a model, so it can be rendered in perspective, sometimes abstractly, sometimes photo quality. And now, we put it into virtual reality for the client to truly experience the design. Ironically though, in the end, we go back to the beginning.  We create product specific to the presentation, whether for marketing, for sales or for construction. The hand done sketch may entice that idealistic buyer. Actual floor plans may succeed in gaining a team’s approval of the project and a virtual reality tour may just wow everyone for that next big job. I think it’s a draw.

Photorealism demands accuracy

I continue to push my employees to generate higher quality in whatever we produce, whether drawings, design or renderings. As we push ourselves, we find that renderings have a broad range of styles and techniques from watercolor to using SketchUp to incorporating Photoshop to photorealism. As we continue to explore these techniques, the progression of styles become more and more real as they develop. The photorealistic side of presentations begins to create a correlation between virtual reality and photorealism, making them more and more relatable. The ability to provide a tool for clients to virtually experience their projects translates to their expectations that what they are visualizing is absolutely accurate. When one views a watercolor, the expectation warrants a romantic expression of the building or space. When one experiences virtual reality, however, the expectation expands to the desire for true accuracy in the experience. That accuracy requires a completion of the design within the photorealistic generation of that design. Ultimately, the architect and client reach a final product sooner rather than later. This impact on the industry will be interesting to watch in the future.

Is that really what it looks like?

A little known secret in the architectural and design industry is that as technology develops, like a computer program or a rendering technique or drafting capabilities, the requirement as designers for attention to detail increases. We cannot get away with lines that don’t cross, flooring that is ‘almost’ the right color or a tree approximately in the correct spot. The tools we use now demand from us our focus and care when designing and presenting to our clients. And now that we are producing renderings through virtual reality, the programs we use allow for that detail. Even more, our clients now expect that detail. It becomes even more imperative for us as designers to take the time to understand what that material really is that we’re showing or to ensure the orientation of the building is truly positioned properly. Most importantly, our client wants to know, “Is that really what it looks like?”

It sure seems real!

In my last post, I discussed 2D renderings as a tool for presentation purposes. And for most clients, renderings always succeed in telling the story. We use programs like SketchUp, Photoshop, 3D Studio Max and Rhino to create 3D models which turn into 2D presentations. But now, we can take it to another level. We can place clients inside the space or even standing on the sidewalk admiring their future building. Looking at a snapshot of an experience only allows the viewer to visualize what is shown in that snapshot. But with virtual reality, we literally place the viewer in the space, allowing them to view 360 degrees of details, proportions, materials and context. This amazing tool gives the client the ability to both feel the space or building, and also place themselves in an environment that is as close to reality as possible, even though it is not.

Build Well for Environmental Wellness

By Barron Schimberg, AIA, LEED AP

Barron SchimbergA well-designed, well-built building is not just structurally sound. It should also be environmentally healthy.  Professional architects, designers, engineers and building contractors have expanded the concept of “building well” by learning how to do what is right for the environment.

In my opinion, architects have a moral and ethical obligation to learn how to keep the built environment healthy and well.  According to the U.S. Green Building Council, buildings in the U.S. are responsible for 40% of the energy consumption, 39% of CO2 emissions, and 13% of our nation’s water consumption.

Because I care about the quality of life for my family and community, I am a proud member of the U.S. Green Building Council and became a LEED Accredited Professional (AP) in Building Design and Construction.  (LEED stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design.)

Although many clients aren’t yet ready to adopt LEED’s whole-building approach to sustainability,
our design team can always recommend ways to make your building projects more environmentally sound. We can find ways to improve energy efficiency, control stormwater runoff, and/or reduce water usage, soil erosion, light pollution, and construction waste.  Plus, we can suggest ways to help maintain the air quality inside your building.

Here are just three practices we routinely follow to design environmentally well buildings:

  • During master planning, we consider the environmental impact of the building’s orientation, its relationship to the site context, and adjacent structures.
  • When designing a shell building, we provide as much natural daylight as possible through glazing, translucent panels, or skylights.
  • In designing interiors, we recommend using less environmentally harmful materials and finishes, such as recycled glass tiles, low VOC paint, or FSC-certified woods.

At The Schimberg Group, we like keeping up with the newest options for designing environmentally healthy buildings. And, we are always happy to share what we’ve learned.

You might be surprised to discover that many environmentally friendly options have become more affordable, more accessible, and more aesthetically appealing.

Personally, I am impressed that more clients are interested in using materials made from recycled products, or materials that were manufactured locally instead of being shipped from overseas. I look forward to the day when solar panels are sufficiently affordable for use on the roofs of the average construction project in Florida and society is truly ready to construct buildings with zero carbon footprints.

If you have any questions about sustainable building sites and environmentally healthy building designs, please do not hesitate to call us at 941-894-6888 or email us at info@tsg-fl.com.

FOR MORE INFORMATION

About the U.S Green Building Council

What LEED Is

It Is Better To Give Than To Receive

ABOVE – SCHEMATIC MASTER PLAN FOR A NON – PROFIT LOCAL CENTER.

ABOVE - A NEW BOARDWALK BUILT BY LEADERSHIP SARASOTA, CLASS OF 2011 FOR A LOCAL NON- PROFIT.

ABOVE – A NEW BOARDWALK BUILT BY LEADERSHIP SARASOTA, CLASS OF 2011 FOR A LOCAL NON- PROFIT.

Life is a gift, and it offers us the privilege, opportunity, and responsibility to give something back by becoming more.

-Anthony Robbins
American Advisor to World Leaders

Each of us, within our own field of work, have opportunities to use our talents and knowledge to help others in need.  Though I recommend being selective, providing pro bono work is charitable, but also provides opportunities to expand our services and extend our knowledge base with regards to design, services rendered, etc.  The value created by giving our time, talent and efforts to benefit those in need is incredibly rewarding.
-Barron Schimberg, AIA
Leed AP

Utilizing Color in Architecture!

ABOVE – BEFORE AND AFTER OF SIESTA KEY RESIDENCE. GOLD WINNER IN MARCH 2011 SRQ MAGAZINE HOME OF THE YEAR RENOVATION CATEGORY.

ABOVE – COMPARISON OF HOW COLOR CAN DEFINE A FUNCTIONAL SPACE WITHIN A COMMERCIAL OFFICE.

Color is an immensely evocative medium, possessing inherent powers to provoke immediate and marked reactions in the viewer, and as such it has been developed as a language of symbol in both the natural and the man-made worlds.  Its use in architecture and the built environment is no exception, serving to dramatically affect perception of architectural space and form.
-Harold Linton
Color in Architecture – Design Methods for Buildings, Interiors and Urban Spaces

Don’t be afraid of using color.  As architects, the final result of a space or building design is developed by both the massing of the building and the color of the building.  Whether color is incorporated through the use of materials or actual color selection, the building’s perception and the experience viewers and occupants have of the building can be greatly impacted in a positive way.  Use color to create spatial relationships or as opportunities for accentuation of shapes and building components.

-Barron Schimberg, AIA
Leed AP

What Does Collaborative Methods Mean?

A meeting to discuss the details on a project, before problems exist. From left to right-Tom Lossi, steel sub-contractor; Barron Schimberg, architect; Don Sutherland, general contractor, Kurt Lodson, CPI representative

In this economy, a project’s success and possibly its creation, depends upon the team involved. Developing the built environment begins with a concept, leads to design, evolves into documents for pricing and construction and results in a completed development. For any size or type project, the architect incorporates the expertise and knowledge of the client, consultants, engineers, contractors and sub-contractors into every project from the first meeting until the last meeting. This results in a well-designed and coordinated success. The architect acts as quarterback for the multiple team members and works collaboratively with that group in order to exceed all expectations. This is what “Collaborative Methods” means, and is exactly how The Schimberg Group delivers projects to all of our clients.

Barron Schimberg, AIA LEED AP