Architects slow to embrace augmented reality,
says visualisation expert Andy Millns

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Architects slow to embrace augmented reality says visualisation expert Andy Millns

News: architects have been surprisingly slow to adopt augmented reality as a design tool, according to co-founder of visualisation studio Inition Andy Millns. Update: this interview is featured in Dezeen Book of Interviews, which is on sale now for £12.

"At the moment there are very few architects using augmented reality day-in, day-out as part of their design process," he told Dezeen in an interview for our MINI Frontiers project.

Augmented reality is a means of layering extra information that can change in real time over a view of the real world, often using a tablet device such as an iPad.

Although hyperrealistic computer-generated renders are now well-established tools in the architectural design process, the use of augmented reality is yet to catch on, said Millns.

"This is really because the [augmented reality] tools haven’t been tightly integrated into their design tools yet," said Millns.

He attributes the slow uptake of augmented reality within architecture studios to a disjunct between the modelling software used in their normal workflow and that required to produce augmented-reality models.

Architects slow to embrace augmented reality says visualisation expert Andy Millns
Image showing the iPad app Inition developed for Zaha Hadid Architects

One exception to the trend is Zaha Hadid Architects, for whom Inition produced an iPad app that used augmented reality to model wind-flow and services diagrams.

Most augmented reality activity is currently used for marketing and presentation purposes, said Millns.

"We’ve worked with many property developers on the marketing side to bring their properties to life using augmented reality," he explained. "You can look at a model and select what type of apartments you are interested in, and it will show you live data of which ones are still on the market."

Inition's augmented-reality models were recently used at the Dezeen Watch Store pop-up at The Imagine Shop at Selfridges, where visitors could point an iPad’s camera toward a printed marker that interacted with software on the iPad to render a model on the screen.

  • smack

    This article is about how architects are slow to adopt a service and the only source cited in the article is a company that provides this service

    Quite generous to call this news, to be honest.

    • Inition

      The point was that most architectural projects don’t have the time or budgets to commission production companies such as ours to create bespoke AR pieces, but when the tools are integrated into their existing CAD systems, AR might be more widely used.

      We see a lot of appetite from architects to use AR, particularly for client reviews, but it needs to be a readily accessible integrated tool rather than a third
      party service for it to work for them, both for budgetary, time and practical reasons. Inition does not make these tools and has no plans to so as we would not benefit from this, but we think architects certainly would.

  • Post

    Who has the time and the money to invest in such bling bling? Commercial reality vs. technical possibility.

  • Footie

    Architects do not augment reality, we create reality.

  • spadestick

    Hey, if it helps us to stop being cad monkeys and checks for water tightness of a roof, why not? I am all for designing large multi-storey car parks and classical 200 room hotel buildings using finger swipes. Genius!

  • Atiyya Karodia

    To be completely honest, a large number of agencies charge ridiculous amounts for AR, but the benefits are great especially where sustainability is concerned. I work for an agency based in SA and we’ve been turned away by numerous firms due to cost, but the main issue is that architecture firms have not been shown what AR can do for them that will enhance their work and give them a ROI.