Helmut Kinzler, ZHA: Virtual Reality – an engine for envisioning architecture of the future

Join us at SHARE X – Conference for Advanced Architecture! 

The future of architecture is inevitably linked to advanced technologies, innovation, and design. The 21st edition of SHARE in Bucharest, SHARE X – Conference for Advanced Architecture, will dig deeper into some of the perks of these tech stacks.

Disruptive technologies, innovative materials, and Advanced Building Skins – this is SHARE X; a different type of conference where technology meets architecture!

Known as an ambitious and dynamic studio, Zaha Hadid Architects continue to transform the notion of the Reality and the methods of dealing with it. Due to their fully digitized 3D design process, in 2014, ZHA created an innovative, research department for the architecture field – Virtual Reality, also known as ZHVR group. As a futuristic tool of designing and envisioning the architecture, Virtual Reality is an engine for pushing the existing boundaries, both physically and mentally. 

ZHVR is working to shape the immersive VR technology for architectural design, including real-time modelling and visualization tools, as well as the research for other potential technologies that can enhance the architectural design process. 

From the concept to the final presentations – VR full experience

Collaborating in a unique way, the result based on VR work makes the design process an art experience. Using the tool of VR for thinking beyond limits, it also keeps you in touch with the Reality and the practical application of the designed form. As the Senior Associate and Head of Virtual Reality Department at Zaha Hadid Architects, Helmut Kinzler mentioned that Virtual Reality helps in the dialogue with the clients, the design proposals being better understood through this innovative method. 

The pilot project for the ZHVR group, in collaboration with L-Acoustics Creations, was the LOOP – a project that “enables users to experience sound from the perspective of the artist or to become totally immersed in the most realistic audio while watching a movie”. The design is an inspiration from natural forms, converted into curvilinear geometries. LOOP`s design process allowed the viewer to assess the ergonomics and materiality of the design, at any point of its development, using immersive and high-definition VR demonstrations.

Loop immersive sound lounge;

Another project that deals with an innovative way of the working process in architecture is the Correl Project – a collaborative experiment in multi-presence Virtual Reality, powered by Unreal Engine. During the exhibition “Design As Second Nature”, at the University Contemporary Art Museum (MUAC) in Mexico City, ZHVR group developed the Correl project, combining room-scale tracking with high powered graphics capabilities.

project correl

Project correl, interactive virtual reality experience;



Project Correl – printed model;credit Julien Loalo

During the exhibition, it was possible for all visitors to collaborate in real-time and built a virtual structure that was developing with every new addition, during several months. The result of this collective work, a continuous structure, was captured and exhibited in the gallery as scaled 3D-printed models. The Correl Project is developed in partnership with leaders of software and hardware technologies like Unreal Studio, HP Virtual Reality Solutions, NVIDIA and HTC VIVE. 

ZHVR group are working beyond architectural design, trying to extend the art and VR-specific design as well. During the exhibition “Zaha Hadid: Early Paintings and Drawings”, the team developed a series of virtual reality experiences in 360°, seeking to express the key aspects of Zaha drawings. The project was developed in partnership with Google Arts & Culture. 

“Having access to real-time, immersive simulations offers us as space-makers the very first dedicated interface inside the digital domain”, says Helmut Kinzler. “Seeing the new generations of this technology emerging, bringing out higher fidelity and engineering-focused functionalities, is truly exciting. Being at the forefront of this universal development and being able to add our discipline’s particularities to the emerging domain is critical, and great satisfaction for us.”

Besides Helmut Kinzler`s work in ZHA and ZHVR group which involves architectural, design, as well as exhibition projects like Lois & Richard Rosenthal Center for Contemporary Art, Neues Stadt-Casino or Capital Hill Residence, he has taught in the Bartlett School of Architecture. Kinzler is also a frequent guest at the Bartlett, University College London, the Architectural Association and other schools in London, Stuttgart, Berlin and Karlsruhe, Germany. During the SHARE-X Conference held in Bucharest on 14th of November, Helmut Kinzler is invited as a Keynote Speaker, debating the notions and views of future architecture, through the lens of present innovative technologies. 

Contributor: Claudia Ioviță

Meet our amazing speakers joining us at the conference:

  • Marcos Cruz – professor of Innovative Environments, The Bartlett School of Architecture, UK (Keynote Speaker)
  • Špela Videčnik – founder at Ofis Architects, Slovenia (Keynote Speaker)
  • Helmut Kinzler – head of the Virtual Reality department at Zaha Hadid Architects, UK (Keynote Speaker)
  • Sanjay Puri – principal at Sanjay Puri Architects, India (Keynote Speaker)
  • Mariano Efron – partner at Architecture Studio, France (Guest Speaker)
  • Anna Wendt – director at BuroHappold Engineering, UK (Guest Speaker)
  • Pepe Gascón – principal at Pepe Gascón Arquitectur, Spain (Guest Speaker)
  • Lightning Designer Natalie Redford – associate director at KSLD, UK (Guest Speaker)
  • Christian Sandor Tscherich – senior architect at LAVA, Germany (Guest Speaker)
  • Landscape Architect Lara Zureikat – associate director of Amman’s Center for the Study of the Built Environment (CSBE), Jordan (Guest Speaker)
  • Alexandru Găvozdea – president of the Romanian Order of Architects – OAR, Romania (Chairman, Member of the Board of the Event)
  • Șerban Țigănaș – president of SHARE Society, General Secretary UIA, Romania (Member of the Board of the Event & Editor)
  • Marian Moiceanu – rector at the “Ion Mincu” University of Architecture and Urbanism, Romania (Member of the Board of the Event)
  • Florin Mindirigiu – President PRO event Association & Founder of CCA-CEE (Event Director)
  • Bogdan Zaha – lead architect at Zaha Hadid Architects, UK (Moderator)
  • Vlad Tenu – lead architect at AHMM, UK (Moderator)

The event will take place on November 14, at Radisson Blu Hotel, Bucharest. 

Get your delegate pass for the conference!