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GRAPHISOFT Virtual Building Explorer

Tuesday 01 Dec 2009

3D walk through

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Architectural design presentation and communication 

The greater use of 3D by Architects has undoubtedly helped in the communication of designs, but these generally rely on static views or at best defined “walk-throughs”. In early 2009 GRAPHISOFT® introduced the innovative and unique Virtual Building™ Explorer (VBE) and the process of communicating a design took a giant leap forward.

A VBE file, produced with a couple of clicks from an ArchiCAD® building information model, can be given to any stakeholder, with Windows or Mac OSX, to enable them to freely explore in 3D the context and design of a building project, internally or externally. The file is self contained and needs no additional software. The navigation controls are simple and intuitive following the principles behind computer games.

As well as fast and easy navigation VBE offers a range of presentation options. Hidden-line, shaded or global illumination (radiosity) rendering engines offer texture mapped, greyscale or hidden-line presentation modes as well as dramatic 3D representation with 3D viewing glasses. The software recognises gravity and egress openings, has fly-mode, element-information display (volume, dimensions, etc), sun flare, layer control, etc., all contributing to a stakeholder’s completely flexible and individual experience.

VBE sets new standards in architectural design presentation and communication as uniquely its navigation includes the building information model, and not just a presentation model. Already uses include: architects routinely checking the integrity of their design; clients and stakeholders commenting on design “fitness for purpose”; financiers reviewing design proposals; planning authorities and objectors being convinced about sensitive schemes; and contractors understanding schemes more fully.

Belfast architects, Mackel+Doherty, used VBE to bring their ideas to a wider community on the Naíscoil Uchair Tíre school project. At a fundraising event Mackel+Doherty set up a large flat screen TV linked to a PC, with a games pad controller, and a selection of 3D glasses. A prepared walk-through of the new school design was left running. At first parents, children and teachers just watched the walk-through but once the first person started their own navigation a crowd gathered quickly, the fun started, and Mackel+Doherty received great feedback and many compliments.
VBE delivers a truly realistic virtual experience of a building design to all stakeholders, regardless of their skills, and at no cost.

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Graphisoft UK Ltd

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