Splashy home theater? Check. Indoor lap pool? Check. How about a room where you can dive through coral reefs or summit Mount Everest? Check.
If your response to the latter is of the wait, what?! variety, well, you’re not alone. While still a burgeoning trend, forward-thinking residential architects are now designing virtual-reality rooms, where their clients can slip on headsets and be instantly transported. “It’s something our clients are requesting more and more,” says architect Duan Tran, a partner in the Los Angeles–based KAA Design. “And it could literally be a 10-by-10 room.”
There are, of course, a few stipulations. While a great form of escapism (and entertainment), the architecture of a VR room is limited by the technology itself. And while new models like the Oculus Go can stand alone, most headsets must be tethered to a PC—and a mighty one at that. It’s an issue that will fix itself as the technology grows, but it’s a consideration that architects like Tran must take into account when designing virtual playrooms.
There’s even a possibility that, in a few years’ time, residents will opt for VR rooms over home theaters. It may take away the social aspect of entertainment—at least until we reach Ready Player One levels of virtual community—but it’s a level of immersion even the most luxe of theaters can’t hold a candle to.
And while these rooms may sound like something out of Star Trek—techies have lovingly adopted the Trekkian “holodeck” moniker for their own VR dens—most aren’t daunting, sci-fi-esque command centers. Instead, they resemble rec rooms, discreetly fitted with mobile furniture that can easily be pushed aside when the headsets turn on. “It’s not like you say, ‘Oh hey, this is where you do VR,’” adds Tran. Such anonymity has made the VR room an under-the-radar trend—well, until now.