• Sounds in Virtual Reality Will Improve Acoustical Design

  • VR is set out to change the design process in architecture from the earliest stages by delivering an accurate sense of scale not even closely resembled by proportioned models or 3D. It makes VR an invaluable tool, granting access to richer understanding of the project very early on and enabling adjustments at the right time.

    In the new VR lab at Henning Larsen Architects, it is now possible to implement sounds in the mix. When realistic 3D sounds are added, it gives an extra dimension and makes the immersion into the virtual space significantly more convincing. It means that with the technology of the lab and VR goggles on, you can physically move around and experience a fictional acoustics setting.

    Experience real acoustics
    “With the software we are developing and headphones as an addition to the goggles, you can also experience the acoustical environment in the virtual reality sphere,” explains PhD student at Henning Larsen Architects, Finnur Pind.

    “Add a lecturer speaking, a symphony orchestra playing or background noise into the model, and hear how it will sound in the actual space. How the acoustics affect for instance the speech clarity, the music recital or the amount of unwanted noise,” he says.

    The point is for architects and other building designers to be able to research how different geometries and different materials, for instance in the ceiling, influence the acoustics, by actually hearing the difference. It provides the designers the ability to optimize the acoustics of the space concurrently.

    “The idea with our VR sound technology is to create a tool that makes it easier to design spaces that sound good. Instead of looking at graphs or reading numbers, you can experience it,” Finnur Pind says.

    “Furthermore, it is a fantastic tool for communicating designs and certain acoustical considerations to clients and other project team members,” he says.

    Adding sounds to VR is another step towards making the experience connected to all five senses, ensuring an even more real sense of a building as early as possible.

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