Before we get into what architectural visualization is, let’s study the course of designing, developing, and selling constructed environments through the perspectives of its two main stakeholders; the architect and the real estate developer.
I am an architect. A client (real estate developer) asks me to design a proposal for a residential complex in the main metropolitan city of Karachi.
I begin to think. Nothing is coming up. A few things come up. Urgh…they are all over-exhausted cliches. Suddenly, the bulb in my mind flickers… An original idea!
Excitedly, I begin to conceptualize. I get my sketch book and a pen, begin to draw. I get a few more pens. Labelling. Annotating. Highlighting. Scratching over. Color coding programmatic adjacencies. This idea leads to an even better idea. Restart. Redo step 3. Something good finally begins to cook. I rip out a piece of paper, mold it, fold it; sculpt a few iterations of the possible forms.
Our team begins to discuss the scheme. One form has been finalized. Calculations begin. Thermal dynamics are being considered. All aspects are being planned; how to minimize the heat gain without disturbing vistas, how to incorporate the traditional architectural and decorative styles but with a 21st century touch, where to provide openings for maximum cross-ventilation, how and where to place solar panels for maximum efficiency. We develop plans, sections, elevations, isometrics, axonometries and perspectives.
“Phoooh,” I take a sigh of relief. I give myself a pat on the back. After this tedious process that took up the greater part of the year, we are finally there, proud, and happy with the design.
Time to take it to the real estate developer. They look at the proposal. Then, they look at me confusedly. They don’t get it. They reject it. All the sweat and hard work has been tossed to trash.
“If only there was a way to visualize architecture.”
I am a realtor, I have been working in the real estate industry for years, I have been trained to envision outcomes and potentials of proposals by looking at architect’s drawing drafts. The architect brings their proposal. I love it! Approved!
The proposal has been forwarded to estimators, engineers, technicians, plumbers, electricians, and construction managers. They seem to understand and begin their work.
Construction Time. One after another they are making errors. They haven’t fully understood what the architect meant. The white marble has been placed in the place of granite and vice versa. The xyz plains of the modular elements have been wrongly angled, this may destroy the whole look of the façade and in turn take away from the charm of the design. It’s all a mess. We have two options now. Option one, we compromise on our quality and live with this incorrect disaster. Option two, we buy new materials and make our labor take apart the work that has already been done and do it all over again. This will throw us severely off our budget too.
“If only there was a way to visualize architecture and show it to them, beforehand.”
We consult an interior designer. We show them plans and sections and ask them to develop a design language with fixtures and furnishing specific to our building.
The interior designer crafts meticulous documents with mood images, upholstery, material palettes, color tones, door frames, windows, taps, furniture, curtains, etc.
Our manager begins ordering the specific interior elements.
Everything has been bought. Together it doesn’t look as good. It doesn’t go with the architecture of our space either. What now? The retailers won’t buy back such a large order or even exchange custom designed objects. We can either keep this and compromise on our standards or we can buy new and completely go off our budget. Another option is to modify the already bought this, but that too would be costly and time consuming.
Our marketing team begins promoting our project. A new sales team has been hired for this specific project. Money is being spent on promotions and advertisements.
We are showing our previous projects as benchmarks of our standards. The salespeople describe the upcoming residences flamboyantly to interested individuals, couples, and families. Alas, all effort goes in vain. The buyers would rather invest in something that has already been built or something that has renders that can show what it truly looks like. We need investments at this stage unorder to sustain the cost of construction. If people don’t begin to book apartments right now, we will go into loss. What should we do?
“If only there was a way to show the building before it was made. If only we could make our potential investors move through it”
“Why the if? There is definitely a way - architectural visualization”
Now getting back to what architectural visualization is. Architectural visualization or rendering is the art of translating a proposed architectural design to three dimensional images or animations that are representative and easily understandable. It is a way for architects, urban planners, and designers to communicate their ideas. Photo realistic renders allow viewers to be able to get glimpses of the attributes of the future building. Through these, the synthesis of size, structure, atmosphere, materiality, location, appearance, mood, and function become foreseeable.
Through 360° panoramas, virtual and augmented reality, and walkthroughs one is even able to navigate through space like real-time. Experiences of (yet) unbuilt spaces are activated.
Architectural Visualization allows architects to express their ideas fully without scope for confusion. It prevents future disasters from taking place in the construction process and large number of finances going into complete waste due to re-dos and extra purchases. Saving a large chunk of time, it enables compliance of deadlines. It allows interior designers and stylists to understand the space they are designing for and even see their proposal in the environments and change it accordingly. It offers potential buyers to see the space before it is built and hence invest in it at an early stage. In turn, architectural visualization ends up saving you from a lot monetarily losses and headaches!
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