Architectural visualisation is the term we use to describe the presentation of our designs before they are built. This is broad in the strongest sense, and can refer to basic sketches and 2D drawings, both of which still have value in modern architecture. But now, architectural visualisation has reached a greater level of sophistication, and has become much more advanced, employing the latest technological advancements to present 3D renderings and interactive virtual reality tours.
We do this because, as with any creative process, the creator is always going to want to portray their ideas in the best, most appealing and professional way possible. Also, strong imagery works best for selling our ideas and our concepts to decision-makers. Words are great, but when it comes to architecture, nothing speaks like giving a true impression of your design through visualisation.
At BSBG, we have established the most realistic expression of architecture, coupled with choosing the right mood and visual angle as our current mode for communicating design through visualisation. This allows the client to really grasp a holistic overview of our vision and concept, which is vital – especially in this region. Architecture in Dubai, and the processes we go through, are slightly different to that of many parts of the world. Contrary to Europe, for example, clients in the Middle East expect realistic visuals at a very early stage in the design process. The concept of abstract communication with sketches is almost seen as unfinished, not really thought through.
Below is a hand drawing from 1921 by Mies van der Rohe of the Berlin Friedrichstrasse Skyscraper Project. This is an early example of architectural visualisation. It was effectively an architectural ‘Hero Shot’, used to express the proposal at a corner site in an iconic fashion.
As oppose to abstract sketches, the use of hyperrealism in our architectural visualisation gives us many advantages: it is incredibly informative for us as we test the design, and also informs project stages beyond concept and schematics by laying out the design intent very clearly. This means the details later on in the project will be well positioned to meet the design intent. The clarity and attention-to-detail of our visuals ensure nothing is lost later in the process, and at BSBG the visualisation aspect to our design work has always been the crucial element of our design process.
The use of 3D renderings and computer-generated imagery provides photo-quality visuals that can be almost identical to real photographs. This current method of allowing the client to gain a true understanding of the proposal will soon be augmented, and perhaps even surpassed, by Virtual Reality visualisation, something which will have a transformative effect on the way architects communicate visually with developers.
Clients expect a higher standard of presentation quality and realism in this part of the world, and this is something BSBG understands as a pertinent aspect of the work we do within our design studios.
At BSBG we have our own in-house visualisation team, which focuses predominantly on Interior Design renderings and smaller, detailed visualisations. For large scale renderings of entire developments or buildings, we use our long term external visualisation partner group.
Over the years we have fostered a smooth collaborative process with our external visualisers, based upon a mutual understanding of the way each other works, through constant review and feedback, and by industry analysis on visuals produced in other studios to determine areas in which we can improve. We now both understand what works for different projects, what level the lighting and atmospheric/environment effects should be at, and I consider our visualisations to be currently among some of the best in the business.
The importance we place upon our architectural visualisations at BSBG is illustrated by the huge time investment we make in getting each rendering correct. The result is that we are able to present a realistic version of the design, which acts as an important tool to test the materiality and proportions, and highlights what can be realistically expected from the final building.