Two of Denmark’s finest architectural studios reflect on the idea of visualizations in the architectural process. Architects use renderings during the entire process to be more concise and clear when communicating about the project. At the same time, they use visuals to shed more light on the facts and thoughts behind their decision-making.
Kim Herforth Nielsen, Founding Partner and Creative Director at 3XN:
‘We’re almost always in the middle of enhancing the communication of important parts of a given solution to everything from citizen groups, developers or each other. We use sketchy visualizations in the initial phase, and later we illustrate the result of a project. It’s a bit like storytelling to communicate the spirit and idea of a building. We do most our renderings in-house, but some are made out-of-house, where we have great collaborations with some companies. You can say that we speak the same language when it comes to describing our goal with visualisations.
We try to resemble the weather and match the overall surrounding mood of a building when we do visualisations. It’s funnier to show a rendering in rain or snow, you know. When we did the visuals for The Blue Planet in Copenhagen, we did renderings in rainy weather because in rainy weather the place has the most visitors.
A rendering is a good litmus test to tell if we’re heading in the right direction with a project. Depending on the angle that we’re visualizing something from, we’ll get more aware on specific details.
At the same time, we succeed when people become engulfed in the dream world of a visualization and when there’s correspondence between the visualized building and the result when the building is done.
We don’t just create buildings, we work with a whole story. For example, when we design a building for the International Olympic Committee, then we try to incorporate in the stories and communications a whole story of movement, such as visualizations, of the project. The story must be incorporated in everything we communicate about a given project.’
Mads Bjerre Olesen, Architect at AART Architects:
‘Rendering as a tool is utilized constantly in our architectural process. It helps us define the direction of where we are headed, and at the same time, renderings help us find common ground—a starting point that is the very foundation of every project—while also playing a huge part in the actual process of developing our architectural solutions.
Every time we do small or big changes on a project, we do another visualization to create awareness of the changes and their effects. Depending on the conclusions and decisions we make, we try to figure out the best way to visualize them. Today, it is not enough to seal the deal with a simple façade drawing or sectional drawing when meeting with a developer or a user group. People need to experience a project as close to the real-life experience as possible. That’s our best practice.
At AART Architects, three people are dedicated to creating renderings continuously, and they follow each project meticulously. And even though loads of people work on the same project, and maybe only one person is creating the visuals, everything is talked through and discussed to shed light on every detail.
We don’t have a certain recipe when creating visuals, but we need to be aware that we don’t promise too much with a visualization. You can easily obtain good visuals without overselling it—and we should remember that. We can succeed with a visualized project when hitting the spot regarding matching a mood or an ambience that you seek to create with the project’s visualizations.
We have a semi-realistic approach to our visualizations. We try to obtain a natural look as much as possible. Something that reflects reality as good as possible. And if you have faith in your project, then you don’t need to oversell it by adding a lot of expressive layers and details.’