Exploring the Virtual Landscape

This year, Urban Ecosystems has been pushing forward with the use of Virtual Reality as a way to add a new experiential dimension to our design process.  Using this software, we are able to rapidly generate virtual environments that are interactive and allow us to explore different design alternatives in real time.  As our design process frequently utilizes 3-D design, the leap to virtual reality can be accomplished without the need for a lot of additional drafting and environment creation.  The user can switch between different potential landscape designs, examining different site layouts, material palettes, and planting schemes.  Virtual reality allows for a more immersive experience of a place. The experience is fun and helps people know what they are getting in a way that cannot be readily achieved through the use of plan drawings or even perspective renderings.

The VR integration was developed collaboratively with a programmer and video game designer.  The environments are constructed in a 3-D modeling program where we are able to populate buildings, terrain, furniture, and vegetation.  Then we utilize a video game engine to add the ability to look around explore and manipulate the environment.  Of the VR technology on the market, this application is custom designed for landscape architecture and design. We have worked with the software to make it capable of rendering large and complex landscapes, making this technology well suited for parks, urban landscapes, golf courses, as well as private residences.  We are able to create environments that capture the living landscape with structures, trees, grasses, and water.  These spaces can be populated with people, animals, and other elements to bring to life different user scenarios.  You can view them in day or night or populate them with people so you can see how the space feels when it is crowded or in a more intimate environment.  We are working on how this tool can also be used to demonstrate how the construction process will unfold and how much it will cost.  

Urban Ecosystems uses this technology to bring our designs to life.  Please get in touch with us to see how this technology can be applied to your landscape architecture or design project.

Samuel Geer