Understanding the Art of Architecture

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Architecture, much like art itself, has gone through waves of style evolutions since the days when buildings shifted from being simply for shelter and started to take on a personality of their own. Architects will design a building with a specific look in mind for a myriad of reasons, including to fit the character of the new owners, to convey a meaning or theme, or even to draw a certain emotion. As these buildings grew in complexity, the people tasked with understanding and approving them for the architects inevitably faltered.  We all know the phrase ‘a picture is worth a thousand words;’ but what happens when you need those thousand, or often more, words to explain a picture? How do you get someone else to see and, more importantly, translate an image that their eye is unable to make sense of?

apartment complex example

Take a look at the Byala Panchev Apartment Complex blueprints above. What are your thoughts on this place, somewhere you’d like to live? How does the space between bedroom and kitchen feel? Would your feelings change if this building were on a beachfront property versus at the base of a mountain?

Much like being an art critic, to successfully bring building blueprints to life one must be able to analyze, interpret and evaluate these drawings and the connotations they pose in the real world. However, many of us simply were not taught to understand how to convert a 2D drawing into our 3D world. The ability to translate the spatial understanding from a flat image is not found anywhere in our Common Core. As the architectural revolution continued we laymen were required to take the word of those who claimed understanding. This often times resulted in post production adaptations by clients who didn’t think the finished product was just right. Architects have also implemented the use of scaled miniatures to depict their final product but these too had their limitations...

Interestingly enough, advances from an industry light-years different than Architecture was underway that was about to change our perception and understanding of Architecture completely. Computer graphics, especially from the gaming world, made a huge shift in 1998 when GPUs hosted 16-bit depth with colors and textures capabilities. The ability to build models which remained true to their physical world representation was coming more and more into play. As graphics fidelity continued to advance so did the opportunity for architects could use technology as a bridge of communication.

The 21st Century has given us the invention of perhaps the most interesting evolution to hit Architecture since computer graphics- Augmented and Virtual Reality. These immersive technologies are completely changing the game for architects and their relationship with members of their ecosystem. Architects now have the ability to better benchmark their client’s expectations—everything from a building’s natural light potential to the choice of materials can now be actively assessed at any point in the design process. Likewise, construction teams are able to visually assess designs saving large percentages of the overall cost from errors and reworks. This insight is not only producing projects that better maintain their budget but also the understanding of aspects of the work that are not easily put into words- the spatial difference between a 8 and 10 foot hallway or the feeling of the evening sun through a sunroof.

apartment complex rendered

Let’s get back to the blueprinted image of the condo above. Here’s the 3D generated image as it can be seen through WebGL or on various AR or VR devices. This image definitely gives viewers a whole new understanding of the building and what their potential new home would look like in actual context of the building’s surroundings.

Advancements in technology are opening the door for better information sharing across the ecosystem of the AEC community and architecture firms looking to get a head up on the competition are diving in. Designers are now armed with 3D interactive models which allow their team, customers, and builders a better sense of the building’s evolution while it’s being built. While having a natural eye for art is still a treasured gift in this industry, Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality devices are giving us all the ability to peek inside the minds of the artists in architecture to better grasp the works in the real world.

build rendering app


Trial our latest version of Composit and bring your own building designs to life with the updated Viewer app! Collaborate with your teams and share stunning on-the-go presentations in AR anytime. 

Learn more about how the same 3D visual experiences from games and film are being used to change the AEC industry here.

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