Architect uses VR to gain planning permission

Architect Kirkland Fraser Moor (KFM) has used VR technology to help secure planning permission for a residential project in Hertfordshire.

Using VR based on a 3D building model created by aerial mapping company Bluesky, KFM’s resulting VR tour placed the design in its real-world context giving stakeholders the opportunity to interact with the development and understand how the property would be perceived by neighbouring properties.

Following the VR presentation at KFM’s Design Studio, permission was granted by Dacorum Borough Council for the demolition of the existing dwelling and outbuildings to be replaced by a pair of five-bedroom earth sheltered courtyard dwellings including a bat roost.

David Kirkland, founding principal of KFM, said: “Due to the location the onus was on us to come up with something that was outstanding in its design, innovative in its use of material and sympathetic to its surroundings. The second challenge was to communicate this in order engage with stakeholders and secure permission.”

Photogrammetrically derived from stereoscopic aerial photography, the Bluesky model provided a geographically accurate and up to date 3D representation of both the surrounding terrain and neighbouring properties. Using CAD software, KFM was able to place its design for the earth-sheltered houses with integrated courtyards into the exact position it would occupy if the project were granted permission. The use of the Bluesky models then allowed for visual impact studies and line of sight assessments from existing structures and sensitive natural viewpoints.

“This is not the first time we have used Bluesky 3D Models to inform and communicate design,” continued Kirkland. “However, it is the first time we have produced a VR presentation for planning officers giving them the chance to really get inside the context and experience it in its true location. Until this was undertaken, the local council’s response was to reject the application because of the perceived sensitivity of the greenbelt location.” 

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