The beauty of architectural rendering is that, like many things in our profession, it can be done in almost an infinite number of ways. Different programs, techniques and ways of modeling can bring to life images and animations to help clients truly visualize their space or building. Mastering rendering styles and techniques has evolved into a field of its own, producing everything from photorealistic images to less refined conceptual renderings. A well-crafted hand sketch will never lose its beauty, however, new techniques and digital compositions are a long way from primacolors and color pencils.
At all stages of the design process, the goal with rendering is to give our clients the best representation of the finished product as we can. Each phase of design sets parameters that dictate the style and composition of the rendering. When a design is in the conceptual phase, the rendering reflects many unknowns. As projects get more detailed, materiality, landscape and finishes can be more accurately rendered.
A recent concept we developed for a site at Park/Main in Hartford is a great example of our process. To begin, it’s important to have an idea of what areas of the site or building are going to be most prevalent in the image. We start with a Google Earth view to choose the best angles and perspectives (Image 1).
Once the prominent areas are known, the design can begin to take shape. Elevation
studies and diagramming can be rendered (Images 2-3), as well as a rough 3D massing model (Image 4).
The level of detail and accuracy varies dramatically depending on the stage of the project. With Park/Main, our goal was to create a concept image to help the client visualize the potential of the site and excite potential investors. The site sketches, the elevations and the massing model all help create a cohesive image. (Image 5)
Illustrator: Jeff Stikeman - jeffstikeman.com
This image highlights important elements, helps relate the project to its context and gives the client a marketing tool, vital for project development.
These sophisticated technologies help us build project consensus and produce better buildings.