Architects slow to embrace augmented reality says visualisation expert Andy Millns

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.