Good Foundations: Visionary Architecture Firm Deploys NVIDIA RTX to Enhance Design from All Angles

Zaha Hadid Architects and Unreal Engine collaborate in architecture design using RTX-powered real-time rendering and immersive modeling.
by Nicole Castro

One of the world’s leading architecture firms is taking its path-breaking designs to the next level with ray tracing, using NVIDIA RTX technology.

Zaha Hadid Architects, based in London, has created some of the world’s most singular building designs. Its specialty research unit, Zaha Hadid Virtual Reality (ZHVR) Group, has recently partnered with the team behind Epic Games’ Unreal Engine to develop a real-time demo for one of its most stunning projects — Heydar Aliyev Center in Baku, Azerbaijan.

With NVIDIA Quadro RTX, ZHVR Group is able to use real-time ray tracing and rendering to create the complexities of the building — including the curvaceous exterior, wavelike walls and intersecting bridges that lead to the center’s museum, auditorium and library — to push what’s possible in the architecture design process.

The Heydar Aliyev Center in Baku, Azerbaijan. Image courtesy of ZHVR Group.

NVIDIA RTX Helps Architects Nail Down Details 

The Heydar Aliyev Center was designed as Azerbaijan’s primary space for cultural program, so. Zaha Hadid Architects constructed the building’s geometry, structure and materials to reflect the Central Asian nation’s culture. To illustrate the intricate details and designs of the architectural project, the ZHVR Group created a real-time demo using RTX-powered Unreal Engine, showcasing how their team leverages advances in visualization and visual fidelity of real-time computation.

Helmut Kinzler, senior associate and head of VR at Zaha Hadid Architects, and his team are incorporating the use of real-time ray tracing into the design process. For the firm’s current projects, images and designs are rendered using Unreal Engine, and with NVIDIA Quadro RTX, the designers view the rendered models in real time. They explore the designs in a VR environment, make any necessary changes, and then finish rendering the design with RTX.

For example, one critical yet challenging element of any architecture project is developing the building’s exterior. RTX-powered advanced computing enables the designers to control and communicate the complex designs while continuously collaborating with one another.

“With the speed and performance of RTX-powered Unreal Engine, we can experiment and explore different ideas and aspects of designs in real time,” said Kinzler. “This allows us to create high-quality visuals faster than before.”

“The features of NVIDIA Quadro RTX play a relevant role in driving our creativity and helping our designs move forward,” said Jose Pareja-Gomez, the ZHVR Group’s technologist.

Learn More About NVIDIA RTX

See how NVIDIA RTX enhances visualization workflows at the London Build 2019, the largest design and construction expo in London. Kinzler will be there to present one of ZHVR Group’s research fields — immersive modeling for architecture and product design. This technique brings designs into VR so artists can explore the form in more detail. ZHVR Group will have a demo with Mindesk and Unreal Engine, where they’ll showcase RTX-powered immersive modeling with one of their product designs in full scale.

Learn more about NVIDIA RTX in design and visualization.