Usability studies on building early stage architectural models in virtual reality

Rui de Klerk, André Mendes Duarte, Daniel Pires Medeiros, José Pinto Duarte, Joaquim Jorge, Daniel Simões Lopes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

71 Scopus citations


Despite its marked success in recent years, it is still not clear how Virtual Reality (VR) can assist architects at the early stages of ideation and design. In this paper, we approach VR to build and explore maquettes at different scales in early design stages. To this end we developed a VR environment where user interactions are supported by untethered, easy to operate, peripherals, using a mobile virtual reality headset to provide virtual immersion and simplified geometric information to create voxel-based maquettes. Usability studies with laypeople suggest that the proposed system is both easier to use and more effective [better suited] than current CAD software to rapidly create simplified models. Additionally, tests with architects have shown the system's potential to improve their toolset. This is partly due to VR combining real-time performance with immersive exploration of the content, where body-scale relationships become visible to support the creative process, allowing architects to become both builders and explores of spatial constructs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)104-116
Number of pages13
JournalAutomation in Construction
StatePublished - Jul 2019

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Control and Systems Engineering
  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Building and Construction


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