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NBBJ to develop virtual reality productivity platform

The Seattle design firm has partnered with Visual Vocal, a startup VR company.


April 29, 2016 |

NBBJ designed the headquarters for Alipay, a part of the Alibaba Corporation. Rendering courtesy NBBJ

The architecture and design firm NBBJ announced that it has formed a partnership with a startup, Visual Vocal, to develop a virtual reality (VR) productivity platform.

NBBJ wanted a VR tool of its own to streamline its design process. The firm’s design teams create buildings using 3D modeling software, but have found it difficult to share those plans with clients. Email, for instance, is time consuming and doesn’t allow for comprehensive feedback. 

VR, though, will let NBBJ include more people, including the general public, into the design stages.

“NBBJ’s decision to launch Visual Vocal is representative of our ongoing mission to find more informative and inspiring ways to engage clients in the design process,” NBBJ Managing Partner Steve McConnell, FAIA, said in a statement. “This partnership will radically shift the way design feedback is sourced and integrated into projects, and the speed at which it can be done.”

Other firms collaborate with VR companies, but NBBJ said that this is the first time an established designer worked a VR set-up into its own offices.

In addition to architecture, the arrangement could lead to advancements in aerospace, product design, biotech, and other industries that use 3D modeling.

NBBJ has designed the headquarters for several tech giants, including Amazon, Microsoft, and Alibaba. Both NBBJ and Visual Vocal are based in Seattle.

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