Make It Real: Utilizing Building Information Modeling and 3-D Virtual Reality Visualization to Improve and Enhance the School Design Experience


Garden 3

  • Primary Core Competencies: Design of Educational Facilities
  • AIA CEU: 1. 0 LU
  • Secondary Core Competencies: Educational Visioning


Many school end users are relatively inexperienced in understanding the design process, including the “reality” as depicted in 2-D drawings. 3-D renderings are significantly better but still lack a “real world” viewpoint. However, having the ability to “immerse” end users into various spaces via 3-D Virtual Reality (VR), where they can both “explore” and “change” the space, is an invaluable and effective tool in school design. This is especially helpful in the design of classrooms and other specialty spaces such as media centers, makerspaces, and learning commons. The end result may very well be better and more “user-friendly” space design that enhances both teaching and learning. In addition, utilizing VR as an integral component to the design process can provide an early “conclusion” to the design process that may significantly impact the cost of design changes. The efficacy of this VR tool will be explored in detail with practical demonstrations where participants can actually engage in interior and building design utilizing VR.

Learning Objectives

OBJ #1  Participants will understand the advantages of VR including engaging those not engaged, enhancing productivity, streamlining communication, saving time, and impacting cost and functional abilities.

OBJ #2  Participants will understand the various capabilities of VR technology in design, including walk-through and fly-through video production, and real-time VR collaboration.

OBJ #3  Participants will be able to understand how VR can provide invaluable assistance in allowing designers to run checks for vertical clearance issues and fall hazards, clash detection, lighting analysis, walking distance analysis, daylighting, and numerous o

OBJ #4  Participants will be able to actually experience VR tools in action by utilizing both projected video and Oculus Rift VR headset viewing.

Philip Conte, AIA, NCARB, Principal, StudioJAED Architects

Richard Moretti, Ed.D., ALEP, LEED AP, Facility Planner, StudioJAED Architects