Architecture Software Comparison

Viewing models in VR

The following software are various ways to view polygonal model data in virtual reality, focused on architectural models and buildings. Basic comparisons are given of each, followed by a more in depth comparison of viewing a model in VR versus on a screen from in class activity survey.

Lucia Tian 2022

Sketch VR

  • reads sketchup files

  • collaboration possible, with host guest model and more robust controls for guests

  • allows VR modeling and sketching

  • oculus lab app store, no paperspace


  • reads sketchup and revit files

  • collaboration possible, but only in host and guest model

  • free trial allows one model upload at a time

  • easy to use

  • oculus app store, no paperspace


  • various file formats

  • VR in Oculus browser (laggy)

  • limited uploads in free trial

  • needs full version to do texture package

Flat computer screen

  • general architecture modeling softwares like Rhino3D, sketchup, Revit, etc are usually viewed this way

VR versus computer screen

Sentio VR and web Sketchup were compared on 3/8/2022 during the in class activity. Instructions and directions can be found here. As a summary, students were asked to location two different locations on the Barcelona pavilion marked on a floorplan using VR and Sketchup's web viewer to navigate. A Google Form was sent out to collect reflections and thoughts. Charts from the 14 responses are shown below.

1 was labeled "made it a lot worse" and 10 was labeled "made it a lot better"

Comparison conclusions

Overall, this activity makes it seem clear that VR is the better format for navigating 3D models of buildings. There are some potential caveats, with the fact that the web Sketchup file viewer has controls that are not very intuitive and take some getting used to. Most of the respondents did not have a mouse to use with the web viewer, which could have potentially helped with the navigation controls. Perhaps another software with WASD movement system might yield more equal results

Sentio Collaboration

Overall, the collaboration in Sentio VR was also pretty well built and ran smoothly. It works through the oculus app by having participants enter in a code which brings them into a waiting room where the host then enters a separate code to start the meeting, similar to Zoom. Then everyone is spawned into the model into a long line to the left and right of the host. The host can teleport and move everyone with them to tour models and the participants can use walk mode and walk with the joysticks. Having the controls tagged to the joysticks when looking down was very helpful to learn the controls. The avatars and name tags were nice as well especially for such a large group.

There were a few quirks that could be improved. For example, such as allowing teleport for guests would make navigation faster and less motion sickness inducing. The fact that everyone spawns in a line is not idea for big groups and small spaces, as some people end up outside the room. Additionally walk speeds could be sped up when desired to make navigation faster.