As a smaller architecture firm, it can seem like a big leap to use 360° views and virtual reality (VR) to help clients visualize an idea. It requires research, trial and error, and upfront expense to successfully integrate these tools. However, we think the benefits are more than worth it. Beyond the awe factor of this engaging technology, the results are transformative for design workflow and make it much easier to articulate a vision.

Yet, as we analyze these tools, we’ve found a few challenges in the visualization process. The need to design every corner of the 3D model often requires us to make premature design decisions just for the sake of creating an uninterrupted immersive experience. One solution our firm has adopted is to view the 3D model monochromatically, so the focus remains on the essential design components instead of the details. This saves time in production and enables the design concept to continuously evolve.

To help you get started, we’ve outlined a few pros of our favorite tools:


  • Creates incredibly high quality photo-realistic presentation materials for less than $10.00 each.
  • Saves time by allowing users to submit renderings to the cloud through the Revit interface, while continuing to work on Revit with no lag time due to render processing.


  • An affordable built-in Revit tool, amounting to $250 for an annual subscription.
  • 3D Revit models are easily processed into a file type compatible with Oculus Rift or HCV.

IRIS VR Scope:

  • A supporting platform for viewing and sharing 360°
  • The mobile app library sorts the 360° renders and creates a user-friendly experience for visualizing different projects.

We hope to continue this research to reach advanced forms of immersive visualization, such as augmented reality. We believe these tools will provide more clarity in design intent and, in-turn, more productive feedback from the project team and clients.

Written by Parvathy Nair
Edited by Wendy Osaki and Paige Patterson Duff

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