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An Architectural Designers Top 5 Virtual Reality Experiences

To understand nature and our environment, humans began their quest by drawing on cave walls to reproduce the world in which they sat. This is seen in the cave drawings in Lascaux, France produced some 20,000 years ago. As art, this was a suitable way to communicate their life. Food, herd movements, early “how-to” documents that taught the next generation about where, why, and how to exist. Nature was their study, the caves become their communication, and human life required nature mimicry and observation.

Fast forward to present day where technology is ever changing and where communication advancements can now transport us to dream-like worlds and give us abilities only seen in movies. What is it that we are trying to help future generations master? What are the “how-to” lessons we can leverage through virtual reality (VR) that could drive innovation and advance our built environment for the next 10, 100, or even 1,000 years? And certainly, what are the Top 5 VR experiences that could alter your own realities?


I give you : An Architectural Designer’s TOP 5 Virtual Reality Experiences


Image via Edge 28

Of course this is first, but for a good reason. In school, architecture students are asked to forge a new path while utilizing precedent studies to validate their design decisions. Some go on journeys to far off lands and some study pictures from a cave in their design studio. Imagine the spatial experience you could have when buying a home. A project in Australia is exploring just that: Edge 28.


Image via

Before you revolt, this is in no way intended to replace a true outdoor experience. But, imagine if through a true 4D (4 dimensions - your sense of sight, sound, smell, & environment fully enacted) experience, you could be in the Amazon Rainforest, the Sahara Desert, or sit on a beach in the tropics. This could be used for stress mitigation in clinical settings or even in your own home. Either way, the potential of transporting your mind to chillville seems worth it to me! Here is a group already at the start of this development: NaturePod.


Image via Paramount Pictures

How epic would your movie-going experience be if you were fully immersed in the story through first-person involvement and sensory stimulation?! Imagine the sense of heat from an explosion with sounds coming from all directions. The movie rating system may have to be updated to include the level of sensory involvement. When gaming and cinema merge into a fully immersive environment, you get: The Void.


First off, who doesn’t want to experience flying like a bird? Imagine your sense of sight, environmental breezes and sounds combining to make you feel like you are soaring through the clouds. This is an innate human response to our environment and rather recently, with drone footage found on dronestagram, goPros attached to the helmets of skydivers, and photography like Daily Overview have we really understood the possibility of the impact of aerial imagery. Well, combine all this into simulators coming from SOMNIACS called Birdly and the MMONE Project.


Wouldn’t we all be happier if we could travel the world at will and experience places we’ve only heard of? Maybe you’re on a budget, or you have a large family, or whatever the reason you can’t make travel happen at will: You Visit is taking the lead on transporting you to places across the globe.


As innovation in virtual reality takes flight, it doesn’t come without warning that we, as humans and naturally sensory driven beings, may some day go too far. Will this next technological revolution lead us down a lonely, digital path? Will we be replacing real human interaction and nature experiences with a screen just a few inches from our eyes? See this explored in the short film, “Uncanny Valley.” We are on the edge of possibility and our artifacts, like the cave drawings in France, will hopefully tell a story worth sharing.

Danial Kalkman is passionate about Architecture and the influence that natural systems and organisms can have on our building design and experience. Drawing from his undergraduate degree in Biology, He tries to develop his ideas and skills around the Biophilia hypothesis and Biomimicry Design Lens. Investigation and research help to produce sound design decisions and he fully believes that our built environment can be a place where we can become healthier, happier, and more productive. To learn more about Dan, please check him out at



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