A new article from Architect magazine profiles NVIDIA’s release of Holodeck, new multi-user virtual reality (VR) software that helps designers connect across geographies in virtual models. The technology — that CannonDesign helped inform and shape — is a game-changer for architects and their clients. In the piece, our Chief Technology Officer Hilda Espinal and Director of Visualization Ernesto Pacheco are quoted extensively about Holdeck’s development and potential.

The full article is available online. Below are key excerpts:

On CannonDesign’s early adoption and what makes Holodeck different
One of these early adapters is CannonDesign, a practice with a penchant for embracing technology, with chief technology officer Hilda Espinal, AIA, at the helm.

While virtual reality is nothing new for Espinal — nor the architecture industry as a whole — Nvidia’s Holodeck platform features one key difference from other architecture-compatible VR systems: It is designed for collaboration.

“It’s not just one person having a solo VR experience,” NVIDIA Director of Professional Virtual Reality David Weinstein says. “When you go into Holodeck you can invite your friends and colleagues to join your sessions. You each have an avatar that you can you can customize. Inside Holodeck you can see each other, you can talk to each other, you can wave, and you can collaboratively explore models.”


On Holodeck’s value to design teams and their clients
“We are now able to break down geographical barriers and collaborate with anyone in our office from any location,” Espinal says. “Actually not even just in our office, but any partner. We are working with a design architect out of Amsterdam and we think that [Holodeck] is going to be the primary way of bringing us all together.”

Holodeck provides us with the ability to separate, view, and interact with portions of a model — be it building systems, elements of the building, etc. — equivalent to orthographic projection designers typically refer to as an “exploded axonometric,” Espinal says. “There is real value in being able to challenge physics this way, a great example of technology augmenting experiences, otherwise not feasible or possible in reality.”

On how design firms can use Holodeck internally
Down the road, maybe the director of design will give a virtual pin up or lecture in Holodeck to entry level designers across our offices,” speculates Ernesto Pacheco, CannonDesign’s director of visualization based in the St. Louis office. “This opens up opportunities to a lot of designers to interact with people that are not always available for them to see their directorial design process.”

For Pacheco, who is responsible for training and helping with the implementation of Holodeck, the platform is “very user friendly.” “It’s polished to the point that anybody can just come and pick it up in five minutes and feel comfortable inside the virtual world,” he says. “It’s almost plug and play.”

Read Architect’s piece on Holodeck >