Simulation technology offers 360-degree view of proposed projects

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Metropolis Magazine says helping clients visualize a new space is often crucial to moving a project forward. Many architects and design-build contractors will pull out all the stops when it comes to drawings, renderings, and BIM models. But what if all of those fall short? An entrepreneur based in Raleigh, NC, might have the answer.

Since 2008, David Fuller’s company, FullCon Solutions, has been offering  the design team an immersive virtual experience. He calls it “full-scale  analysis.” Architects bring clients into a ten-foot cube, and the design is  projected onto all six of the cube’s surfaces—the four walls, the ceiling, and  the fioor­—providing a 360-degree view. Using a handheld wand, designers then  simulate a walk-through of the model. It’s the closest you can get to being  inside a space before it is actually built.

The technology itself isn’t  new. The facility that Fuller uses—the Duke Immersive Virtual Environment,  housed at Duke University in nearby Durham—was built six years ago, and it’s one  of only eight labs that can do this kind of six-sided projection. But the cube  was primarily used for scientific visualizations—medical students explored the  minutiae of the human brain, for instance. Fuller saw how useful it could be for  complex design projects. “I was looking for a technology that could simplify how  we communicate 3-D CAD or BIM data,” he says.

Designers have to budget  around $2,000 an hour to use the tool, but that figure can vary significantly  from project to project. Andy King, the design lead at the Raleigh-based firm  BBH Design, used it for modeling a cancer center and an energy plant. “After the  clients had experienced it once,” he says, “they were more than willing to pay  for it two more times.” Key decisions were made quickly. For the energy plant,  workers could check that controls and mechanical parts were easily accessible.  “The real value is that it expedites the process,” he says. “Clients give better  feed-back, because they can fully grasp the scale of a project.” Read  More.

 

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