Reality or Illusion?

The chipmaker Nvidia is using a photo-realistic three-dimensional building for their new corporate headquarters. It can be accessed using a virtual reality headset.

The building is still under construction and is scheduled to be opened in late 2017. It has a budget of $380 million and will house some 2,500 employees. Currently, it is undergoing construction, and it can be seen today as a white frame with a wave-like roof reminiscent of an airplane wing and a circus tent.

And notably, the design and construction of the building is powered by Nvidia products. The company was originally producing computer chips for video games. Nowadays, they are producing chips used primarily in engineering visualizations and high-performance computing. Hence, the visualization of the new HQ in VR.

Nvidia also began offering an interactive rendering software called Iray. The software is being used in altering some specifications in the building's location, size, and other design aspects.

Credit: Nvidia

Use your imagination

Jen-Hsun Huang, co-founder and chief executive of Nvidia, said that everything included in the 3D virtual building must resemble its counterpart in the real world, including the rugs and paints. Huang hired a design firm called Gensler and architect Hao Ko to design the building that showcases the company's culture of being open, collaborative, and flexible.

They began designing by putting up triangular-shaped skylights to make the effect of having light filtering into the building seem real. Other elements soon followed. The building was surrounded by a park and a parking lot was added underground. The building can also be reconfigured with its movable walls. To also show the company's flat corporate hierarchy, the building has no obvious executive suite.

Simulations are being done to help the designers further improve the building design.

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