Can using immersive visual communication technologies (BIM, VR, AR and MR) turn clients into partners

and improve understanding and participation in the design process?

Virtual Reality: Cool Tool or Design Detour


One major challenge in designing a human-centered building or workspace has always been communication throughout the design process. How do architects and designers use available mediums to communicate their vision in a way that helps owners, users, approvers, lenders, and contractors understand all the details in what is proposed to be built? This is especially relevant in architecture, one of a handful of art forms where the designer doesn’t physically create the final product. The environment ultimately relies on the understanding of many others for successful implementation.


Through this study, we examined the best visual tools for client communications in the design process. By doing so, we hoped to emphasize the importance of helping clients comprehend and visualize the true intended design. To accomplish this, we explored multiple options to determine the most effective visual presentation tools and techniques to maximize client understanding of the overall vision, as well as the complexities of what designers are proposing. Our research results demonstrate how designers can evaluate and deploy the right tools to match each client’s comfort level in understanding and communicating visually, through the examination of numerous presentation options available. Ultimately, we believe if designers can properly coach clients and users through the mental, physical, and technical barriers posed by new visual presentation technologies, clients and users will develop a better understanding of design concepts. This will enable them to be more engaged in the review and approval of final designs.

Meet the Research Team

Jeremy Metz, AIA, LEED

University of Oregon
Bachelor of Architecture

Steven M. Cox, AIA, NCARB

Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo
Master of Architecture


Brian Brown, Associate AIA

Project Manager
Cal Poly, Pomona