Metropix, a virtual business which enables users to create 3D walkthroughs of floor plans in minutes and display them in GoogleEarth , topped £400,000 in sales during first two years, according to the Telegraph. Today an average of four floor plans per minute is created using Metropix.
The power of 3D visualisations in communicating spatial experience to non-professionals is long familiar to architects. So is the unquenchable appetite of homeowners aspiring to their dream home as reflected in the Second Life phenomenon and the enduring success of endless home makeover programmes on the telly.
Metropix, which to date caters primarily to estate agents, is capitalising on that dream. More than 6,000 UK estate agents have registered with Metropix, and now the product is catching on in the UK, Australia and Ireland. In the UK, over 2,500 estate agents are using it to generate 15 to 20 plans each month. And that international market is likely to grow.
Now homeowners contemplating an extension represent a growing number of Metropix users. Farrell says that 'as more and more people are choosing to extend or adapt their current homes rather than move house, we [are] starting to get interest from individuals who [don’t] want the expense or hassle of engaging an architect.'
Could this pose yet another potential challenge to architects’ services? Or can architects take cues from Metropix to develop more interactive ways of working with clients? In any case, this is a technology to watch.