Architecture is an ancient and time-honored discipline built on long standing convention and customary techniques. Its designs have evolved drastically over the course of history, however the means and methods by which we reach those designs have long remained stagnant. Technical drawings, blueprints, and sketches have long been the means by which we have attempted to take the design from our heads and represent it to our clients and contractors. Technical drawings are too technical, blue prints are too blue, and sketches are often too vague and malleable to provide an accurate representation of a proposed design. How do we best take an idea that rests inside the mind of the architect, hone it into a complete design, and ultimately get it built?
The digital revolution has already drastically changed the way in which buildings are drawn and detailed. Now, with the introduction of 3d visualization, it is starting to impact the way in which we not only represent our designs to clients, but also the way in which we develop them. The ability to create accurate and often photo-realistic representation of a particular building affords us the opportunity to flush out all options of a particular design with speed and accuracy. In previous years, architects had to rely on companies or in-house teams to build scale models with cardboard and polystyrene, a long process that would often take longer to change. Testing a change to a building design has gone from a multiple day process to a 15 minute exercise, helping insure that we are committed to our design, not because it would take too much work to change, but because we have thoroughly investigated the design through accurate 3d representation insuring that the design our client sees is the best one available.
It also has improved our ability to relate to clients who often struggle to visualize what they see in a 2-dimensional format. We, as architects, have the ability to not only present the exterior of a building, in all its glory, with a photo-realistic rendering but literally walk our client through the interior floor by floor, giving them a far better understanding of what to expect. Thus resulting in a radical change in the relationship between owners and architects.
It has also proven to be a valuable marketing tool for architecture firms. In the past, if an architecture firm had an exciting new project, it would not be able to show that project to potential new clients until construction was completed, resulting in the residual marketing effects of a new building not happening until years down the road. Now, we can use a new building design as a marketing tool before ground has even broken by showing prospective clients renderings that highlight our capabilities and vision. It also assists owners in gaining support for a potential project and eventually filling their space with tenants where needed.
Time honored architectural techniques will always have a place in the industry. There will always be a need to sketch, to build physical models, and to draft by hand. 3d visualization is just another tool that we can use as architects to refine our design and ensure that we reach the best possible final product.
By Jared Melvin Blake – DAS Architect