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How Unity Reflect solves challenges in interactive visualization

, October 23, 2019


We invited award-winning architecture firm SHoP Architects to share their early impressions of our new product Unity Reflect in our latest webinar.

Whether you’re a developer or have never touched a line of code, Unity Reflect lets you quickly and easily create real-time BIM experiences to win more projects, conduct immersive design reviews, and connect design and construction. It takes one click to bring multiple BIM models with all their metadata to real-time 3D. You can also create your own real-time BIM applications and customize the user experience by building on top of Unity Reflect.

As we gear up for the launch of Unity Reflect, it’s already making a material impact on architecture, engineering, and construction (AEC) firms in the beta program. One such customer is SHoP Architects, a New York City-based firm that has designed U.S. embassies around the world, the Uber headquarters in San Francisco, and 9 DeKalb, a residential tower under construction that will become the tallest building in Brooklyn. 

Unity Reflect is helping SHoP better connect design and construction by making it easier to create real-time BIM applications in AR and VR. We recently invited Adam Chernick and Christopher Morse from SHoP’s interactive visualization team to be special guests on our webinar, “Accelerating Communication in AEC with Unity Reflect.” Check out the replay below.


Top challenges to interactive visualization in AEC

There are a number of aspects about the way buildings are designed that present an obstacle to creating real-time 3D experiences. In the webinar, SHoP touched on three major challenges and how Unity Reflect helps overcome them: 

Design tools


What’s the challenge?

No project is the same. Each building presents unique challenges that demand different approaches to solve the problem at hand, whether that’s interior design or workspace lighting. SHoP needs to be able to combine content from its different design tools (software like Autodesk Revit as well as physical models and sketches) to create real-time 3D experiences on the most suitable device.

What changes with Unity Reflect? 

With multi-platform support out of the box, Unity Reflect provides much-needed flexibility in both building a range of real-time BIM experiences and deploying them to the best device for the job, whether that be a desktop application, an immersive VR walkthrough, or a mobile AR app that can connect to their models, like the one shown below. 

Design iteration

Courtesy of SHoP Architects

What’s the challenge?

The process of design is one of constant refinement, testing, and change. Teams need to iterate on designs and collaborate quickly during the lifecycle of a project.  By the time the SHoP team completed the import, development, and deployment of tools for its design teams, the designs were often already out of date. Reimporting new designs was a constant, time-consuming part of the job.

What changes with Unity Reflect? 

Unity Reflect eliminates the need to use multiple tools and spend days or even weeks preparing and transferring BIM data to real-time 3D. This process now requires the click of a button and is condensed into a matter of minutes or even seconds. And because Unity Reflect maintains a live connection to design tools like Revit and SketchUp, it syncs in real-time across multiple iterations.


Courtesy of SHoP Architects

What’s the challenge?

Even after all the effort expended to bring projects into Unity, teams still couldn’t bring over BIM data – the critical information containing materials, properties, costs, and so on in the design models. SHoP had to manually (and painfully) hook up its BIM data to the geometry in order to develop its applications.

What changes with Unity Reflect? 

For those looking to build custom applications for AEC, Unity Reflect is a platform on which they can build and extend. You no longer have to worry about how to get BIM data into your custom applications because it is preserved as part of the one-click data preparation and optimization process. That opens up a world of opportunities to bring real-time BIM to the field, as SHoP is doing in the photo shown above with a custom AR application it built.

Learn more about SHoP’s experience with Unity Reflect by watching our webinar on replay. If you’re interested in exploring what Unity Reflect can do for your firm, get in touch with us below.


Talk to our team about Unity Reflect