Architects, property developers, interior designer, planners typically use architectural visualisations (some times know as arch vis) to visualise a building, architecture or development “off-plan” before any physical construction has even started. Taking drawings, sketches and any other information or references, these ideas and concepts can be turned into visualisations to market, propose or approve a building.
Traditional drawings and sketches sometimes may not illustrate or explain a design well enough, where as architectural visualisations can be used to give an accurate illustration of how a building could look. This may be important for marketing a housing development to potential buyers, or to convince a planning department to give consent for a new shopping centre.
There are several types of architectural visualisations, the most common of which is generally exterior images. The current trend is towards photo-realistic images, but conceptual or sketch-like images can also be achieved. The below image is taken from the The Box Contemporary Project, and illustrates a typical day time scenario CGI, with an autumn twist.
The second most common type is interior visualisations, where the images show the proposed interior spaces. Generally the image will show an entire room or space to give your customers a real feel of how the final building’s interior will look. Interior CGIs can also be used to show how an existing space could be re-fitted and re-configured. The Office Re-fit Project (as shown below) is a great example of this.
Other architectural visualisation types include photo-montages, sectional, and aerial views. Photo-montage images mix traditional photography with 3D buildings or structures. Photo-montage images are ideal to visualise a building in its proposed environment. A good example of a photo-montage visualisation is the Olympic Park Project, which shows the London Olympic Park complete months before the site was actually completed.
Sectional architectural visualisations show the building as if it has been sliced open, or part of it has been removed. A floor plan can be visualised in 3D by removing the upper floors to give customers a better image of the proposed layout, compared to traditional CAD drawings. Sectional images can also be used to show the interior space on several levels. The Mews Development Project used a sectional image to illustrate the floor levels and interior space, which might not have been clear through drawings.
Aerial visualisations are very similar to exterior visualisations, in that they show architecture, but with aerial shots the emphasis often will be on the landscaping and overall scope of the development and its layout. The Mews Development Project is a great example of an aerial shot, illustrating several properties. The Olympic Park Project images could also be considered as aerial shots, as well as being a photo-montage too.
Architectural visualisations have many uses which are commonly used to market developments, aid in planning permission approval, raise interest and investors and much more.