Much like the constant evolution of architecture trends – styles, materials, textures and colours – how we design and visualize a building has changed drastically over the years. From hand drawn two-dimensional work to computer assisted drafting to three-dimensional models, technology has brought us a long way.
Now, with the rise of virtual reality and 3D printing capabilities, we are entering a new and fully immersive era of design: One based on the unhindered exploration of human creativity and technology. We’ve already arrived at a time where it’s possible to walk through a building before the ground has even been broken. A time when a small home can be built by a single machine in under 24 hours. When it comes to architecture and design trends, we can only wonder – what’s next?
What is 3D Architectural Rendering?
Futuristic developments like virtual design and 3D printing wouldn’t be possible without 3D architectural rendering. Simply put, 3D rendering is the process of architects, designers and 3D artists entering the proportion and scale of a building into a computer program, which then allows them to simulate lighting, ventilation and acoustics – among other properties. Before computer assisted rendering, architects and designers built models by hand, a labour intensive process that resulted in just one representation of the building.
3D renderings are much more holistic in that they contain all of the information needed to present a building from any angle and in any real-world simulation. Artists have become so accomplished and 3D technology so advanced that it is often impossible to differentiate a rendering from a photograph. 3D renderings give clients – who often don’t have the same natural visualization skills as an architect or designer – a highly accurate representation of their home, office, retail outlet and so forth.
Benefits of 3D Architectural Rendering
The design and construction of a single building involves a multitude of individuals and businesses. Architects, engineers, planners, designers, contractors, clients – each with their own perspective, objective and area of expertise. Trying to unite all involved on the proverbial same page is always a challenge, but tools such as 3D renderings help present a cohesive idea in an easy to comprehend manner. After all, vision is our most dominant sense – it helps us derive meaning from what is presented in front of us.
Further, 3D renderings can be manipulated in real time and ideas transitioned from concept to concrete and back again. They allow us to use our abilities to judge how the design of a building looks in a manner akin to standing in front of it. Design missteps and mistakes are caught early, saving materials, money and – more importantly – valuable time.
What’s Next in 3D Architectural Rendering?
As rendering technology continues to advance, it will become more efficient and more accessible. Rendering is already becoming less a part of the presentation stage and more a part of the design stage. An integral tool from the very beginning, offering a quick way to create changes immediately apparent to both the design team and clients.
The most innovative and far-reaching possibilities for 3D architecture rest where rendering and virtual reality (VR) meet. Combining the renderings of a design with the interactivity of VR allows designers and clients to physically explore a project before construction begins. The immersive capabilities of architectural VR means clients – and designers themselves – feel a level of connection to a project that only comes with experiencing it in multiple dimensions.
Beyond 3D Architectural Rendering
Experts predict that in the not-too-distant future all designs will be created via VR and architects and clients will make changes in the moment, manipulating the building all around them. In conjunction with VR, building information modeling (BIM) will allow multiple designers to manipulate a design simultaneously – creating a highly collaborative process.
3D printing technology takes the visualization properties of 3D architectural rendering and brings it into the tangible world. 3D printing combines the creativity and foresight of designers with the precision and computational skills of a robot. Structural resilience and material use will be solved by algorithms within the 3D printers, expanding the limits of construction and forging a new industry where the results of our imagination are no longer confined to the computer screen in front of us.