27 October 2022

What are the Benefits of using Virtual Reality within Architectural Projects?

What are the benefits of using virtual reality within architectural projects.
What are the benefits of using Virtual Reality within Architecture?

Our Design Haus founder, James Brindley, first encountered the benefits of using virtual reality within architectural design over 4 years ago. As a result, we were one of the first architect firms in the UK to use VR within our residential design process. We have been refining our offering and investing in cutting edge technology ever since. 

We use 3D visualisation via VR technology and other innovative presentation techniques throughout each project. This offers collaboration with our clients in a real-time environment and enables them to contribute and visualise how that idea could look. This involves moving walls, changing roof designs, specifying materials and amending furniture layouts. 

Our homeowners can collaborate and bring their ideas to the table at every step of the way. Alongside experiencing the design in its entirety before construction even begins. 

We offer this VR architectural service to clients across the East Midlands and overseas. Our local clients can visit our offices in Nottinghamshire, where they can experience first hand their new home in VR. For our clients further afield we can offer these technologies remotely. 

What are the benefits of using Virtual Reality within architectural projects?

Virtual reality removes the guesswork from the design process. Clients are able to explore the proposed design from within, rather than simply imagining the end result.

Everything from lighting solutions to changing weather can be simulated within the virtual space, producing a realistic representation of how the building will function once complete. We can specify different materials to see how they change the look and feel of a room, as well as incorporating interior design choices such as furniture and decoration.

Taking advantage of VR allows clients to make informed decisions and specify any necessary design changes before construction begins. This reduces the need for expensive or last-minute alterations; saving time and money on the project.

We work with you to ensure the spaces we create match your lifestyle. We can assist with furniture design, layouts and tonal and material specification to create truly personal spaces.

Using VR not only benefits our clients but also other businesses working on the project; from the Planning Officers, Quantity Surveyors, Engineers to Construction Professionals. Our use of VR and 360° scenes allow all parties to see exactly what has been proposed. This avoids any ambiguity and helps to prevent costly mistakes for those involved as well as encouraging a much smoother process. 

How can virtual reality help the planning stage of an architectural project?

When submitting architectural plans for approval, especially for a listed building or one within a conservation area, it is critical that the conservation officer can clearly understand the plans being proposed. 

There have been many times when our use of VR technologies have contributed significantly to the success of a project. 

On a recent project we modelled the entire plot of a listed building in 3D, including boundary walls, topography of garden and surrounding structures and trees. The proposals were designed through collaborative design work with the client (using VR). These were issued to the planning officer via a web link, allowing the conservation officer and planners to visualise the scene in VR using their own phones. 

This ensured the proposal was clearly understood as we were able to present the finished project as it would be seen in real life, allowing the planners to assess its impact on the existing listed building and surrounding area. The Conservation Officer was highly complimentary of our approach and supported the proposals for approval.

How can virtual reality help the construction stage of an architectural project?

Showcasing our designs to the construction company via 3D ‘real time’ modelling and VR scenes enables them to also visualise the design in the clearest possible way. 

Construction companies frequently tell us that our use of VR greatly assists their planning process. It allows them to visualise and more easily engage with the scheme. This often raises unforeseen issues and queries which can be managed and resolved far more quickly than if they were discovered during construction.

What do our clients think about our use of virtual reality?

Our clients unanimously say that our use of VR dramatically improves the whole collaborative design process as well as the finished design. This is shown in our excellent client feedback on Houzz and Google reviews. We are extremely proud of our high customer satisfaction and our client referrals. 

“We were initially astounded at the 3d model of our property which enabled us to see how the design would work with the rest of the house. However the best was yet to come. A virtual 'walk through' of the design, using the VR headset enabled us to see sunlight entering into the room and to appreciate the sheer scale. This is a fabulous USP that James has that you only ever see on the property shows on TV.”

West Bridgford, Nottinghamshire project

How will virtual reality in the architecture industry change in the future?

Virtual reality technology and 3D visualisation techniques are continuously improving. The VR experience is becoming more aligned with reality. As a company we are focused on embracing these technologies and offering them to our clients wherever we can. 

The benefits of using virtual reality in Architecture are only just becoming more widely acknowledged. We are extremely proud to be at the forefront of offering this exciting technology to our clients.

If you would like to see how Design Haus could use virtual reality to assist your architectural project, please get in touch.

3 October 2022

LABC Building Excellence Awards 2022 – Regional Winner

LABC Building Excellence Awards

We are thrilled that for the second year running Design Haus Architecture has been awarded, 'Best Residential & Small Commercial Designer' at the LABC Building Excellence Awards for the East Midlands.

These awards celebrate outstanding projects and individual contributions in the construction industry, within each of the 12 regions in the UK. There are various categories to these awards, across residential, non-residential, public and community buildings.

"The awards focus on the very best in technical innovation and construction quality, helping to raise the level of construction quality across England and Wales."

LABC Building Excellence Awards

As a regional winner, we are delighted to have been also shortlisted as a finalist in the LABC National Grand Finals. This event will showcase the winners across all regions and then award a national winner on the night. The National Grand Finals will be held at the Park Plaza Westminster Bridge, in January 2023

The Local Authority Building Control (LABC) represents all local authority building control teams in England and Wales, and we are delighted to be awarded such a prestigious award. Follow LABC's news and updates on LinkedIn.

If you would like to learn more about how we could assist your residential or commercial architectural project please get in touch - we'd love to hear from you.

8 September 2022

Building Innovation Awards 2022 – Finalist

Building Innovation Awards 2022

We are delighted that Design Haus Architecture has been shortlisted for a Building Innovation Award.

We are a finalist in the ‘Best use of Augmented Reality or Virtual Reality in a Construction Project’ at the Building Innovation Awards 2022.

These awards recognise and celebrate those individuals and organisations that embrace emerging technologies in the construction sector. Commenting on the awards, editor at Build in Digital, Siôn Geschwindt, said:

"It's impressive to see the calibre of this year's finalists. These projects, people and technologies represent the future of construction in the UK. We look forward to presenting the winners on the night and welcoming you all to an event that promises to be a night to remember!"

We use virtual reality and emerging technologies across all of our residential projects - so it’s fantastic that this has been recognised and to be a finalist is a huge honour for us!

We are very much looking forward to celebrating with all the other finalists at the awards ceremony in October.

See the full shortlist here.

If you would like to know more about how we use Virtual Reality in the design process of our architectural projects, please get in touch with us. We’d love to hear from you.

19 May 2022

RICS Awards 2022 Winner – Residential Project

RICS Awards 2022

We were delighted and honoured to win best 'Residential Project' in the East Midlands at the RICS Awards 2022 this week. These awards held by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors recognise the most inspirational initiatives and developments in land, real estate, construction and infrastructure.

We are thrilled that our 'Feel Good Project' won in the 'Residential Project' category for the East Midlands. The RICS judges described the project as one which,

" Embraces 21st century materials, design principles and sustainability. This significantly new home in the Nottingham countryside provides a first class family home for this and future generations."

We are now looking forward to competing in the RICS Awards 2022 Grand National Finals in October in London.

See more of our Feel Good Project

See the RICS announcement on YouTube

4 May 2022

Modern Home Extension, Nottingham

The Feel Good project is a modern home extension of a property located on the edge of a nature reserve. The process not only resulted in an outstanding design but also had a positive effect on the surrounding community.

The Brief

The property is set within an area of outstanding beauty. However, the owner felt he was unable to enjoy the views or access the garden easily due to its outdated design.

Working collaboratively, we designed a modern extension with floor to ceiling glazing, which would allow the family to pass effortlessly between the outdoor and indoor spaces. A sequence of terraces and roof gardens further enables the homeowners to enjoy different external spaces and zones at different times of day.

With all projects we are mindful that dwellings need to fit in fluidly with the properties surrounding them. We analysed the nature and buildings of the surrounding area and sourced local stone to match the original stone walls exposed around the site.

What We Did 

We designed contemporary additions of glass, canopies and an uninterrupted steel framework to create connectivity between the new, yet historically styled, walls. We made careful use of contrasting light and shade, texture and materials.

The rear of the property was completely transformed. What was once a rather tall, overbearing, flat building, it is now an elevation of prominence and elegance which is pleasing on both horizontal and vertical axes.

We gathered design styles and ideas from all over the world, delivering a scheme that is nonetheless cohesive and at ease with its dramatic surroundings. The gradually diminishing width of form makes the property less dominating on the skyline, and the design creates a sense of the building flowing down into the garden and into the nature reserve below.

As a result, the house is now intrinsically connected to the outside through its roof terraces, balconies and stepped access.


Access to the site was difficult because the property sits at nine metres below street level, surrounded by steep slopes and trees. We had to carefully plot and plan vehicular access along the winding, steep, private road of the estate; accurate schematic drawings were prepared to ensure cranes could deliver the large items such as steel and glass that were needed for construction.

Prior to work commencing we carried out test-runs to ensure that raw materials could be safely delivered. For certain fragile items we created a platform to bridge the half-metre gap between the bottom of the delivery truck boom and the ground level.

We agreed terms with Nottingham City Council for access to the project from across the park; we also involved the local community early on, engaging with neighbours on deliveries and crane movements to keep their inconvenience to a minimum. We also ensured regular maintenance of the road and removal of waste to further minimise disruption.

In addition, the COVID-19 outbreak meant we had to create additional health and safety protocols to ensure the project could continue and that the people working on it would feel safe.

Working Sustainably

As a south-facing property with a significant amount of glazing, the previous home would regularly overheat. The owners of the Feel Good project assumed they needed to invest in air conditioning; however, we were able to effectively reduce the average temperature of the house by using solar shading and strategically placed windows to create a natural stack ventilation system.

Furthermore, the creation of a sequence of terraces and roof gardens means the homeowners can now enjoy the external spaces and zones at different times of day.

Externally, the project also involved sculpting the lower part of the garden adjacent to the nature reserve. 19 houses are situated next to the nature reserve, but unfortunately the poor access meant that the community found it difficult to enjoy the nature on its doorstep. By resculpting the area next to the property we were able to enhance access to the nature reserve for the local community and the wider public. The owner of the property is also implementing a wildlife plan to further enhance this aspect of the local environment.

Feel Good All Round

Our clients were delighted with their re-modelled and extended home; it has made a significant difference to their lives and the way that they use the house. The surrounding community has also been very positively affected by the build, which has in turn improved their well-being.

We were thrilled that our Feel Good project won us a RICS Awards 2022, with winner of best Residential Project. These awards held by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors recognise the most inspirational projects in land, real estate, construction and infrastructure.

See more of our Feel Good project

25 April 2022

Bungalow Conversion, Nottinghamshire

Bungalow conversion

Priory House is a conversion of a bungalow into a two-storey stunning spacious family home in West Bridgford, a residential area in Nottinghamshire.

The Brief

We were appointed to design a spacious home with five generous bedrooms and a large open-plan living space with easy access onto the gardens. This was alongside an office, a cinema room, reading spaces and entertaining areas.

Although the existing plot suited the clients’ requirements, the single story layout did not meet their family’s needs.

The bungalow occupied a commanding corner on one of the most prestigious roads in the area. Earlier applications to demolish the building and create multiple dwellings had been refused due to the prominent location and the style of the designs proposed.

We worked closely with the clients and the planning department to design a striking, contemporary family home which wouldn’t overwhelm adjacent structures. The new property sits harmoniously in the street, retaining a synergy with the adjacent arts-and-crafts style buildings.


The local planning authority were highly conscious of the key location of this corner plot, so any development had to be scaled appropriately. We anticipated initial resistance to a two-storey development, so we engaged with planners and liaised with neighbours at the earliest opportunity. This ensured that our proposals were accepted as being in proportion and in keeping with the site.

Working Sustainably

We had to carefully plan our structural strategy due to the additional loads being applied to the existing building. We were able to avoid the need for underpinning, using instead a timber-framed design on the upper floor. This was alongside using individual pad foundations and a steel structure. This also meant we avoided tonnes of concrete being poured into the ground, making this a more sustainable solution.

A New Identity 

The strong design features and structure of the existing bungalow had to be carefully unpicked in order to successfully invest the property with its new identity.

The project had two key elevations to consider, each facing a different road. We worked with a neutral palette of charred black timber, white render and glass. This kept the main elevation simple while emphasising other elements to create character and focus.

The proportions of the first floor gables were designed to reference those of the surrounding buildings. The steel-framed glazing and monochrome colour scheme further complemented the existing property.

The internal spaces retain much of the bungalow’s original layout, with new zones carved into the original footprint. The upper floor is accessed by a central feature staircase, and we used the existing spine walls to create a central corridor giving access to each bedroom. We retained the original doorway and created a striking new entrance hall.

Within the open plan kitchen and living space we created discreet activity zones. We included a reading corner and a dedicated relaxing space in the mezzanine above the sitting area.

The result is a contemporary, striking yet harmonious home perfectly designed for a family with growing children. 

See more of our Priory Road project

14 April 2022

Residential Property of the Year East Midlands – Shortlisted

We are thrilled that our ‘Feel Good’ project has been shortlisted for the ‘Residential Property of the Year’ in the Constructing Excellence East Midlands Awards 2022

This prestigious award recognises architectural developments that provide a desirable and sustainable place to live. 

Our Feel Good project is a bespoke, residential architectural project on an existing property based in Nottinghamshire. The home had an outdated design, so we extended the property and modified internal and external spaces to give it a new lease of life. 

In collaboration with the clients, we designed a modern extension with floor to ceiling glazing. A sequence of terraces and roof gardens were created so that the homeowners could enjoy the various external spaces at different times of day. The new design included many sustainable benefits, latest technologies and positive improvements to the surrounding area. 

We are very excited to be shortlisted for this award and are looking forward to the awards dinner which is being held at the Athena in Leicester on Thursday 9th June 2022.

Residential property of the year

See more of our 'Feel Good' project

8 April 2022

RICS Awards 2022 – Residential Project, Shortlisted

RICS Awards 2022 - Residential project

We are excited to announce that we have been shortlisted for Residential Project in the RICS (Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors) Awards 2022. 

We are delighted and truly honoured to have been shortlisted for this prestigious national award which recognises outstanding achievement in the land, real estate, construction and infrastructure sectors. 

See more of our shortlisted entry - The Feel Good project.

1 April 2022

Contemporary New Home, Derbyshire

Contemporary new home, Derbyshire

Newton House is a contemporary new home with carefully designed outdoor living and entertaining spaces set in a stunning rural location in Derbyshire.

The Brief

Our clients wanted a dwelling they could retreat to when visiting the UK. We were charged with creating a very large property with multiple guest accommodations that reflected a sense of the clients’ personalities while also respecting the peace of its bucolic location.

As friends and family would also be staying regularly at the property, five self-contained guest suites were required. In addition, our clients required a summer house which could be used for entertaining separately, as well as housing an annexe where another family group could stay.

Outdoor living was important to the client, so an outdoor kitchen, fire pits, hot tub and swimming pool, along with a gymnasium, completed the brief.


The local planning authority has strict parameters regarding the permissible styles of architecture in this environment, as well as the building’s height and visibility from key views in the wider landscape.

The extensive rural site housed an existing property which first had to be demolished to make way for the new house.

This project had few limitations other than the need to blend in with the countryside, which can be difficult when designing a property of this size and scale. Because of the unspoilt nature of the surrounding landscape and its concomitant planning restrictions, we took particular care with height considerations, ensuring that the roof and eaves did not obstruct the views of the horizon, and used local materials such as stone and slate.

What we did

This design was produced in response to the client's desire to make the most of the changing skies and far-reaching views of its rural Derbyshire location.

An exciting driver of this project was the orientation of the property. We designed the house to be South-facing so as to take advantage of the sun throughout the day, and the layout was governed by the positioning of the sun and each room's importance to the couple's daily processes and movements.

We arranged the internal spaces around the sun’s movement, creating a breakfast balcony which would be hit by the morning sun on the east side, and sleeping quarters incorporating a large roll top bath on the West side, to take advantage of the beautiful sunsets at the end of the day.

Our client was keen to create bespoke spaces, such as a dining room seating 40 people and a cinema room. The sleeping area also had specific requirements: an en-suite rainwater shower, extensive shoe and handbag storage, and separate access to the external spaces.

Our clients wanted the house to be a place of peace and sequestration. However, socialising and entertaining were also on the clients’ agenda, and guests would be staying for several weeks at a time. It was therefore important for users of the home to be able to move and live independently of each other, so we created food preparation and relaxation zones in each of the five guest suites.

The rear south-facing upper floor houses the client’s sleeping quarters but also provides significant space for food preparation, eating, bathing, and resting. Having the glazing set back ensures limited glare from the sun and creates spacious balconies for elevated views over the stunning surrounding landscape.

The lower floor provides accommodation reflecting the client's favourite pastimes. We created bespoke spaces dedicated to swimming, exercising, cooking and entertaining, positioning each area within the house to engage with the changing light and views around the property.

The first time the client saw the proposed building was through virtual reality technology. No drawings were produced as part of the initial presentation, which allowed the clients to visualise and explore their future home in absolute clarity. 

Working Sustainably

Whilst the budget for the project was significant, we had to be mindful not to over-elaborate the functional zones of the building, aiming instead for efficiency in design. We were able to be more expressive in our design of areas such as the indoor pool with frameless corner glass, the grand entrance hall with twin stairs leading to the upper suites, and the stunning outdoor living spaces. 

The intricacy of the design and the subtle yet striking elements of the build have a huge impact on the way the property works. Practicality and sustainability are always paramount, therefore the property features ground source heat pumps, solar panels and enhanced cavity wall sizes for added thermal insulation.

The result is a supremely comfortable and practical statement home that works with the changing light throughout the day and blends in with the natural beauty of its surroundings.

See more of our Newton House project

Contemporary new dwelling by Derbyshire Architect

1 February 2022

Designer of the Year at The Architecture Community Awards

We are delighted to have won ‘Designer of the Year’ with the Architecture Community for our Newton House project. These global architecture awards celebrate the year’s best architectural design and we are extremely proud to have been recognised for this award.

Our Newton House project is a contemporary new dwelling in Derbyshire, set in a rural location surrounded by beautiful countryside. We designed a high-end luxury home for our clients; which included multiple entertaining and socialising spaces, a contemporary swimming pool and five luxury guest suites for friends and family.

See more of our Newton House project


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