Virtual Worlds 5* project

Virtual Worlds’ software is a renowned sales tool within the kitchen and bathroom industry but has recently been used for a different purpose recently.

JPC Community Farm is a supported living charity. They are embarking on transforming 23.5 acres in North Yorkshire into a 5-star (Outstanding) environment for young people with additional needs. The Farm will consist of 21 apartments, delivering independent supported living for 23 young adults. The project is part of a government incentive t o offer an alternative to residential care homes.

The Farm was a private residence and working farm, charity owners Paul and Julie Connaughton needed to present a realistic visual of how the new accomodation would look.  It was hugely important in order to get buy-in from funding partners and future residents.

Virtual Reality Reality Package

Virtual Worlds’ 4D Virtual Reality package offers a vivid, realistic and immersive ‘try before you buy’ experience. Users are literally able to move around a room before a brick has been laid. Design specialist, Portrack Interiors knew 4D would be the best way of bringing their vision for the Farm to life.

“4D gives designers a new lease of life,” said Michael Fields, senior design consultant and project manager at Portrack Interiors. “It’s so much better than drawing up a design and building it in the hope that people buy into your ideas. Back in the day we would do line drawings, but virtual reality allows us to move parts of the design around and put the user in control of the process.”

Michael and the Virtual Worlds team travelled up to the Farm. Once there they worked closely with Paul and Julie to develop a 4D model of the accommodation.

Family approval

Over two open days, Michael presented the concept to the local authority and NHS, as well as the families of the individuals.

Michael commented: “Virtual Reality is a great presentation tool and really helps to explain a difficult transformation.

“It’s very hard to imagine a working farm transformed into a living space. It’s difficult to just point at a corner in the room and say imagine a sofa and table there, but by using 4D technology viewers can actually see the room with a sofa and table in it and even walk around it.”

The professionals and families that attended the open days were “blown away” by the 4D demo. For the majority of them it was the first time they had seen the technology used in this way.

“It’s given us a gold star in the eyes of investors,” said Paul.  “We’re able to show people around the new Farm before the building work has even started. We did this in a safe way without the need for hard hats. It’s really raised the bar when it comes to presenting a project.”

He added: “It’s surreal when you put the headset on and see the amount of detail in the space. You can even look out of the window and see the same view that you will see once the accommodation has been built.

“We’ve had mums and dads view it and ask ‘when can I move in?’. Parents are protective of their children anyway but when a child has special needs there’s that extra layer of protection. We want to make the transition as smooth as possible for them. Virtual Worlds 4D software has allowed us to do that – families have been so impressed that we’ve used the technology for their benefit and planned every detail.”

Nathan MacLean, managing director at Virtual Worlds, said: “The JPC Community Farm is a fantastic cause and we’re honoured to have been a part of it. Our technology can make a big difference to projects of all shapes and sizes.  It can really give presentations that special edge.”

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