Using real-time 3D tools to build without bricks

real-time 3D
Image: © Computation and Design Group of Zaha Hadid Architects

With real-time 3D tools, you can create properties that are tailored to any tenant or buyer – all before a single shovel breaks ground

Imagine giving a prospective client a tour of their dream home. Suddenly, the client wants you to move a wall. Or change the flooring. Or show exactly how the house will look at sunrise—in the moment! Thanks to real-time 3D platforms like Unreal Engine, all this and more can be done with the click of a button. Architectural designs can be visualised as photoreal digital buildings, which can then be explored in a virtual world.

For real estate developers, this means you can stand out against the competition: by using Unreal Engine-driven real estate configurators, you’ll be able to offer clients the ability to see – and customise – every corner of a property, all in a high-fidelity, interactive world. These industry examples show what’s possible.

Galleria on the Park_Case Study from PUREBLINK on Vimeo.

Rendering of Galleria III. (Video: © PUREBLINK/ELAD Canada)

A time machine on your web browser

When ELAD Canada first tasked digital design studio Pureblink to create a configurator for Galleria III, it was to solve a key sales problem. The 31-storey condo in Toronto, Canada, will soon become part of the upcoming Galleria on the Park development and is located in a very industrial area. For a prospective buyer, it could be difficult to visualise what the Galleria III would look like in a decade, once the project is complete.

To solve the problem, Pureblink founder Jose Uribe and his team used Unreal Engine to create an interactive application that showed prospective buyers exactly how their condo would appear. Future Gallerians could access the application directly from their web browsers, enabling them to look at available units, see floorplans and explore realistic apartments inside and out – even while stuck at home due to pandemic restrictions.

It was quickly clear that Pureblink’s interactive configurator was a success: it helped Elad hit its sales goals for Galleria on the Park faster than planned, despite the challenges of selling the property during Covid-19.

real-time 3D
Image: © Computation and Design Group of Zaha Hadid Architects

A click-to-order dream home

Have you ever designed your dream home in The Sims? What if, at the end of the game, you could buy it?

On the Honduran tropical island of Roatán, Zaha Hadid Architects is building a configurator app that will get us closer than ever to that reality. Developed with Unreal Engine, the app was made for a real estate development project called Beyabu.

Potential Beyabu residents can use Zaha Hadid Architects’ configurator to make customising a home or office as easy as personalising a car or pair of running shoes. Buyers can explore the environment to browse different plots for their property, then select a location to preview what everything will one day look like, from the floor layout to the view from the window.

The building can then be personalised through several configurable options, such as roof types, fixtures and fittings. It’s then sent off for sustainable manufacturing and assembly that, together with the configurator, is enabling developer Honduras Próspera to forge a pathway towards achieving UN sustainable development goals. The result is a future-facing, eco-friendly community that will be influenced – and even designed – by the people who will live there for a lifetime.

real-time 3D
Real-time lighting using Lumen in Unreal Engine 5. Image: ©

The future of property development

As consumers continue to prefer customisation to mass production, businesses that offer personalisation options will stand out. Real estate development is no exception: after all, who wouldn’t want to live in a home that’s truly theirs? Projects like Beyabu and Galleria III are already starting to show the benefits of offering clients that level of bespoke tailoring.

In the future, developers can expect to show clients 3D previews of spaces that are even closer to what you see-is-what-you-get. New features in the upcoming Unreal Engine 5 release like Lumen – a fully dynamic, global illumination and reflections system – will ensure clients can explore large, photoreal 3D environments at scales ranging from millimetres to kilometres, all in real-time.

For developers, that increased level of detail will hugely de-risk investments. Offering buyers a preview of a property or even a group of properties that are as close to the final thing as possible will decrease costly rebuilds or the likelihood of a client getting cold feet. It means that when you’re about to make the biggest investment of your life, namely buying your dream home, you’re not making a leap of faith.


Unreal Engine



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