Collaborative project visualization technology and an acoustical wall — catch the latest DIRTT innovations

by Brianna Crandall — June 27, 2018 — Tech and construction company DIRTT has developed technology that lets stakeholders from different locations explore their proposed project together in virtual reality before construction even starts — and design changes are reflected instantly in the visuals, pricing and manufacturing data. Along with this technology, the company showcased its acoustical management systems, including a new “acoustical barn door,” earlier this month at the DIRTT Chicago Green Learning Center (GLC).

Virtual reality technology

DIRTT says this technology is a first for the industry and addresses some of construction’s longest-standing challenges by improving communication and removing guesswork, with certainty in project cost, schedule and the end result. It is built on DIRTT’s own digital construction platform, ICE — said to be the only technology to generate instant pricing and manufacturing data for construction projects while a user explores and modifies the design in virtual reality. What you see is what you get, down to the penny and within a fraction of a millimeter, claims DIRTT.

Virtual reality visualization

Project stakeholders can meet inside a space that doesn’t even exist yet, and instantly see the impact of changes they make in terms of the design, pricing and even the manufacturing data. Image courtesy DIRTT

Barrie Loberg, DIRTT co-founder and creator of ICE technology, explained:

From separate physical locations, an architect, designer and client can meet inside a space that doesn’t even exist yet. They can make changes and see the impact of those changes instantly in the design, pricing and even the manufacturing data. This live, interactive experience can bring efficiencies to every phase of construction by improving how we understand, plan and ultimately build spaces.

When the technology made to connect you with others does what it’s supposed to, you don’t realize it’s there, says DIRTT — it falls away. You only remember the people you conversed with and not the means that made it happen.

DIRTT’s latest technology, ICEreality, lets you connect with your project team in different cities. Meet inside your project virtually. Experience it together in real time. Talk about how you want your space to look, feel and function. Make changes in real time.

This is so much more than visualization, says the company. With ICEreality, what you see is actually what you get. All your changes are updated in the file that’s used to build your space. Design, pricing and manufacturing data is updated simultaneously.

DIRTT offers two videos demonstrating the technology: Coming Soon to Connext 2018 and Changing How the World Designs and Builds.

Acoustical management solutions

Sometimes workers need a place to escape a busy office, or maybe they need a space for something lively — a party zone filled with energy and boisterous conversation — but they don’t want to disturb someone in the next room. Or a place for healing, with specific needs to reduce sound transfer.

Room with acoustical barn door, ceiling and wall tiles

DIRTT’s “Me Time” room showcases its bespoke ceiling, acoustical barn door and fabric-wrapped wall tiles. Image courtesy DIRTT

Acoustics are a key element of any space. How do you build a space with the acoustic performance you expect? As with all things DIRTT, acoustics should be talked about early, advises the company. If there are code requirements, such as in a healthcare environment, DIRTT works with your team and any project consultants to ensure your space meets those specifications. But for other environments, how do you know what you need? What should be in the walls? Or what shouldn’t be? What about the ceiling and sound transfer through the plenum?

DIRTT says it all starts with a conversation; the company works to make this a smooth process for you. Most of the time, acoustics has to do with speech privacy. Can you hear the conversation in the next room? Does it need to be totally private? Or would it be okay if you heard voices on the other side of the wall, but couldn’t make out what they were saying? These are the type of questions DIRTT asks, so you get the most value out of your space — and balance your budget with your needs.

DIRTT takes a holistic approach to acoustical management. It’s the walls, yes. But it’s also the ceiling. It’s the doors. And all the seams and edges where everything connects. Your walls can be incredibly sound-proof, but there may still be sound transfer from overhead, so the company looks at everything as a whole and make sure it adds up.

Visitors to DIRTT Connext 2018 in Chicago were able to explore a space called “Me Time.” It illustrates what could be a quiet meditation space, a focus pod, a place for conversation, or any space where acoustics are particularly important. Features include:

  • A bespoke ceiling amps up the aesthetic. DIRTT’s custom ceiling tiles are more elegant than conventional. But the bonus is the acoustic properties.
  • The room features DIRTT’s new “acoustical barn door.” It’s designed to allow for seals along all four sides. And that means more robust acoustics.
  • The acoustical properties of DIRTT’s walls on their own are just as robust as conventional construction.

For more information, visit the DIRTT website or click on the links above. DIRTT (“Doing It Right This Time”) Environmental Solutions uses its 3D software to create prefabricated interiors tailored to clients’ needs. With its cutting-edge technology and advanced manufacturing, DIRTT has done projects for 188 of the world’s Fortune 500 companies and completed tens of thousands of unique construction projects globally, across a variety of industries.