Architectural Visualisation – From Micro To Mega-Structure

Architectural visualization – also known as 3D visualisation, CGI, and renderings among other terms – not to mention derivatives using the Anglicised spelling “visualisation” – has long been recognised as the tool of choice for architects and has also propagated into the repertoire of developers who utilise it in their property marketing material to sell clients the aspirational lifestyle of their projects. However, any presumption that visualisation is or can only be used for projects of vast scope and scale should immediately be rejected – this is a discipline which offers value to any project regardless of size.

More often than not, architectural visualisation is perceived as a highly-polished medium, with luxurious renderings depicting beautiful scenes which sell a concept and, in many cases, a lifestyle or ethos as a result by informing the viewer of impact, improvement and traits that influence personal, local and environmental situations and experiences. It is entirely a communicative discipline.

However, whilst the above is undeniably true, its usefulness spreads far beyond slick and glossy visuals – it can be utilised to allay fears or to visually describe innovative solutions which may otherwise be lost in translation. It can also give form to two-dimensional drawings and inform of positive – and in some cases negative – features prior to physical work commencing plus the more traditional illustrations of materials, finishes, fixtures and fittings.

So far we have only discussed architectural real estate render visualisation as a medium used to depict polished final renderings for publication and marketing but in truth there are no limits to its application – it can be used to give a schematic illustration of spatial relationships – ideal for conversion projects – and also for remodelling of spaces such as kitchens in order to indicate aspects of change and as a consequence the value gained or, as mentioned previously, areas which may either be contentious or undesirable.

In addition to fundamental physical or material change, the opportunity to use CGIs as a means to allay concerns of intrusion into and upon existing environments is a tool which warrants further explanation such is its usefulness – It should be noted, though, that this process is too broad to discuss in anything other than an overview here but will form the basis of an article at a later date.

Through a process involving the visualiser, a surveyor and a photographer – referred to as either a verifiable view or accurate photomontage – it is possible to combine the three threads into a product which accurately, to a point beyond reasonable doubt, depicts a proposal from a view or views which had previously been a source of concern, thus adding gravitas to the original application and consequently improving the chances of approval; it is therefore an important weapon for the architect to call upon as and when needed.