As designers, how do you help the client bridge the gap between conceptual ideas and constructed space? CRGA’s solution is to utilize virtual reality (VR) software in order to invite our clients to step into their designs to experience how they would function as constructed spaces.
“As designers, we take a proactive approach to projects to create the best solution for our clients – we view things from the top down in an orthographic projection,” explains Clyde Griest. “That must be balanced by the reactive approach of the client – does their workflow complement the space? Are there ways the workflow could be altered within the space to improve efficiency? The merging of these perspectives is key to a successful project.”
“Our implementation of VR is a game changer because clients are more involved in the project from start to finish,” adds Juan Cárdenas. “VR gives our clients ownership of the design because they become immersed in its creation.”
By garnering client input throughout the design process, CRGA can incorporate feedback more quickly in earlier stages of the project.
“The revision cycle of design is drastically reduced because of VR,” adds Clyde. “We can show clients multiple design options simultaneously, and if they want something moved or changed, it’s something we can do in minutes as opposed to days.”
VR implementation not only streamlines the design process for the designer and the client, but it also saves on several costs that are often incurred to confirm whether a space would complement a workflow, and vice versa.
“VR is a more cost-effective alternative to full size mock-ups of spaces,” explains Adam Rose, LEED AP, EDAC. “Rather than investing the time, resources, and staff required to construct a mock-up space to test functionality, the end users are able to walk through the space in a matter of seconds. They can experience the effect of a small design decision and how it might impact their efficiency and ability to deliver care – they are able to improve the quality of care they can provide by working through various processes as the project is being designed.”
At any given point in a healthcare environment, there are multiple variables contained within that space – equipment, nurses, doctors, patients, family members, workflow – all of which are important factors that come into play when creating spaces. VR streamlines these factors to provide the client with a more cohesive experience of how the space will function.
“Human imagination, as amazing as it is, is limited at times,” explains Chris Harms, EDAC. “We can only imagine so many variables at once. Using VR, we work to embed all of that information into a digital model and eliminate the need to imagine all of these variables for the end users.”
As healthcare designers, CRGA pays close attention to the individual needs and culture of every client, because each has a unique way of operating. By engaging with the end user through VR, we can be assured we are meeting these specific needs.
“We are working for clients that live in a world that changes every month,” explains Clyde. “They must consistently reevaluate which programs they offer, how they can improve their existing programs, and how they can become more efficient. We are able to keep pace with the evolution of healthcare design through our use of VR because it allows us to step into the world of the patients and staff much more easily and put the human scale back into perspective.”
As technology continues to develop in the future, CRGA will stay on top of these developments so that we remain well-equipped to provide the most innovative solutions for our clients.
“Every time there’s a technological leap in the world, our industry has to design for it, because we have to allocate space to be able to accept the process that has now adapted and changed,” explains Chris. “The one certainty about our field is that everything will keep evolving. VR technology helps CRGA stay on top of these changes so we can continually evolve the design process.”
Clyde received his Bachelor of Architecture from The Catholic University of America.
Juan received a degree in architecture from Universidad de los Andes in Bogota, Colombia and the Universidad Veritas in San Jose, Costa Rica.
Adam Rose, LEED AP, EDAC
Adam received his Masters of Architecture and Masters of Architecture + Health from Clemson University, and his Bachelor of Historic Preservation & Community Planning from the College of Charleston.
Christopher G. Harms, EDAC
Chris received his Bachelor of Architecture from Penn State University.