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Thread: Architectural renderings - a subtle deception

  1. #1
    Chairman of the bored Maister's avatar
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    Architectural renderings - a subtle deception

    Is it just me or does it seem to you that the people and places shown in architectural sketches and renderings often seem to evoke a cool or fashionable tone that somehow never translates into reality with the finished product? It has something to do with the stylization, I'm sure.





    Look at the people's sillohouettes particularly in the second image - why are so many folks striking hipster fashion poses? Are they so overwhelmed with the building's sense of modernity they are unable to control the impulse? Why do I hear Brian Eno's ambient 'Music for Airports' playing in my head when I look at that?

    Has anyone else ever got this impression? Or are all the developments in your neighborhoods peopled by young, beautiful, slick, ambitious, soap opera lookalikes? Just curious.

    Edit: I'm putting out a bounty - show us the most outrageous examples of architectural rendering whitewash you can find and you can win Big Cash Prizes and Rewards!
    Last edited by Maister; 09 Jun 2009 at 10:54 AM.
    People will miss that it once meant something to be Southern or Midwestern. It doesn't mean much now, except for the climate. The question, “Where are you from?” doesn't lead to anything odd or interesting. They live somewhere near a Gap store, and what else do you need to know? - Garrison Keillor

  2. #2
    Cyburbian ofos's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Maister View post
    Or are all the developments in your neighborhoods peopled by young, beautiful, slick, ambitious, soap opera lookalikes? Just curious.
    Yes, yes they are. However, none of my offices have ever been populated by people who look like those real-life photos of planners on the APA website.
    “Death comes when memories of the past exceed the vision for the future.”

  3. #3
    Cyburbian MacheteJames's avatar
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    It's typical for architectural renderings to contain a large BS quotient. Stuff like this always makes me laugh. This is actually one of the complains that I have with the field of architecture - the field's practitioners often come across as divorced from the real world both verbally and visually. There's something about the focus on the design and development of a single building that induces a sort of myopia and it's reflected in pieces like these.

  4. #4
    Cyburbian Seabishop's avatar
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    The more realistic, computer generated ones I've seen always feature at least one luxury car and attractive woman.

  5. #5
    Unfrozen Caveman Planner mendelman's avatar
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    The best are renderings for landscaped yards/parking areas. They always and only depict the site on the nicest summer day with mature trees gently shading the beautiful people and cars.

    But I wish once someone would have the cajones to render the site as it will be right after the work is finished - gray cold late November day with spindly little stick trees that have about 2 dozen leaves, at most.

    "Sure that landscaped plaza will look great in the summer 20 years from now, but I doubt it will be very pleasant come January"
    I'm sorry. Is my bias showing?

    Let's not be didactic in this profession, because that is a path to disillusion and irrelevancy.

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  6. #6
    Cyburbian Duke Of Dystopia's avatar
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    Do you really expect them to put in the Marfins syndrome sufferer with the midget girlfriend? The rentacop chasing the teenage skater punks? Or even show the badly dressed fat people taking up the whole bench near the main entrance?

    Nor will they show the little spiky plastic things that spear the pigeons that land on the 2 pieces of worthy architectural decorations. Or point out where the invasive security camera's are hidden in the landscaping.

    I'm thinking I would be trying to sell the complete lie of the soft core hipster office!
    I can't deliver UTOPIA, but I can create a HELL for you to LIVE in :)DoD:(

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    Chairman of the bored Maister's avatar
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    No overfilled waste bins? no scuffs or spilled soft drinks on the spotless mirror-like floors? No old geezers lugging their oxygen tanks up the escalators? No exhausted-looking single mothers surrounded by broods of unruly/screaming brats? No heavily bondo-ed 1986 Chrysler K cars parked out front? No 'lose 30 pounds in 30 days:ask me how' advertisements taped up to the walls?
    People will miss that it once meant something to be Southern or Midwestern. It doesn't mean much now, except for the climate. The question, “Where are you from?” doesn't lead to anything odd or interesting. They live somewhere near a Gap store, and what else do you need to know? - Garrison Keillor

  8. #8
    Cyburbian kalimotxo's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Maister View post
    Why do I hear Brian Eno's ambient 'Music for Airports' playing in my head when I look at that?
    Haha! Easily the most perceptive thing I've read all day.
    Process and dismissal. Shelter and location. Everybody wants somewhere.

  9. #9
    Cyburbian
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    We have an architect in town who puts images of himself and his mercedes in all the renderings. Talk about narcissistic!

    His renderings are also very misleading and we often find problems with scale in the renderings. The trees are always 10 year growth, the buildings are often misrepresented (either too large or too small, depending on the effect that he's looking for), and he'll often fudge the materials in the rendering to higher quality materials than is shown in his b/w drawings.

    We actually changed our concept approval process to not allow renderings. This ensures that the plan commissions' focus is more on the site plan and the general massing of the building and less on the architecture and look of the renderings.

  10. #10
    Cyburbian wahday's avatar
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    I think they need a Payday Loan shop in the background of that second rendering and maybe a guy inappropriately dressed for the weather with a bevy of bags and muttering to himself. Now THAT's urbanity...

    Just a few years ago I recall that there was a stink in a New York borough (can't remember where) about a big ole billboard depicting a slick rendering for a high rise apartment complex coming in. The area is predominantly African American but the rendering must have drawn only from the "young white and hip" toolbox such that everyone who was simultaneously enjoying the fresh air and views from their respective balconies was, shall we say, not reflective of the local demographics.

    The project had been pushed through in part with assurances that the developer was targeting both current local residents and those from outside the area. The huge billboard made some locals skeptical that it wasn't just targeted at "the right kind of people" (ie those that don't live there already) and fears of gentrification bubbled to the top.
    The purpose of life is a life of purpose

  11. #11
    Cyburbian Raf's avatar
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    When doing renderings in college, i always made it a habait to include people from the "ching" book that looked way out of place. Typically i found the random guy with the "molester" stash and made she he was pointed toward a woman/women either jogging or in their business suits. Settle to the eye yanno. In addition, and even today, on all of the street sections i create (again and habit and signature from back in college) i always make up a vanity license plate. It all started with the "dogrh8r" plate and the tradition continues. Although i no longer have sports cars in renderings or streetscapes anymore. I uses toyota prius' with plates like "hugatre"
    Men do dumb $hit... it is what they do to correct the problem that counts.

  12. #12
    maudit anglais
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    One architect I know includes a Starbucks in every rendering he does. I expect things like that are common - CPSURaf's example sorta confirms that to me

    I've seen some cities with quite restrictive lists of rendering requirements to control some of the deceptions...not sure how well that works.

  13. #13
    Cyburbian Plus
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    Quote Originally posted by wahday View post
    I think they need a Payday Loan shop in the background of that second rendering and maybe a guy inappropriately dressed for the weather with a bevy of bags and muttering to himself. Now THAT's urbanity...

    Just a few years ago I recall that there was a stink in a New York borough (can't remember where) about a big ole billboard depicting a slick rendering for a high rise apartment complex coming in. The area is predominantly African American but the rendering must have drawn only from the "young white and hip" toolbox such that everyone who was simultaneously enjoying the fresh air and views from their respective balconies was, shall we say, not reflective of the local demographics.

    The project had been pushed through in part with assurances that the developer was targeting both current local residents and those from outside the area. The huge billboard made some locals skeptical that it wasn't just targeted at "the right kind of people" (ie those that don't live there already) and fears of gentrification bubbled to the top.
    Very keen observations.


    First thing I thought when viewing Maister's rendering #2: the silhouettes are white...

    Next thing I thought: he misspelled 'silhouettes'.

  14. #14
    Cyburbian
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    Quote Originally posted by Duke Of Dystopia View post
    Do you really expect them to put in the Marfins syndrome sufferer with the midget girlfriend? The rentacop chasing the teenage skater punks? Or even show the badly dressed fat people taking up the whole bench near the main entrance?
    ROTF LMFAO
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    "M&Ms. I ran out of paprika."

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    Cyburbian DetroitPlanner's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by kalimotxo View post
    Haha! Easily the most perceptive thing I've read all day.
    When I read that I instantly thought of the tunnel in Detroit's World Gateway terminal, or whatever they are calling it these days. It is easily one of the freakiest things this City has to offer, and that says a lot!
    We hope for better things; it will arise from the ashes - Fr Gabriel Richard 1805

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    Cyburbia Administrator Dan's avatar
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    I was thinking about this not too long ago. Check out some of the architectural drawing books from the 1970s, back when brutalism was still all the rage among architects even though the pubic at large despised it. The books often include drawings of cold, featureless brutalist structures sited in Toronto-style "tower in a park" or Soviet-style "Boulevard of the 14th People's International Congress of the Glorious Revolution" settings, with people strolling among the buildings and many gazing upward at them. I've surmised that those people can only be other architects, because I can't imagine any normal people that would be drawn to the environments depicted in those drawings.

    Ever notice that many of those more contemporary renderings feature a token person in a wheelchair?

    Just for once, I'd like to see a rendering with:

    * A same-sex couple.
    * An interracial couple.
    * A skateboarder.
    * A trustifarian hippie.
    * Hipsters.
    * Rednecks.
    * Goths
    * A doughy guy with a neckbeard wearing a science- or Linux-related t-shirt.
    * A woman in an abaya (excepting renderings for projects in Dubai).
    Growth for growth's sake is the ideology of the cancer cell. -- Edward Abbey

  17. #17
    Cyburbian fringe's avatar
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    Those renderings are usually part of an orchestrated sales pitch and carry all of the challenges to veracity of any advertisement.

    The old dream vs cold hard reality. As the Irish folk song says,

    "When the angel moves into clay he lose
    His wings at the dawn of the day."

  18. #18
    Cyburbian WSU MUP Student's avatar
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    This thread makes me wish I had some artistic rendering abilities.

    Somebody should put together an entire portfolio of subversive (or at least substantially more realistic) architectural renderings and have them put on display in a gallery somewhere. That's an art show I would enjoy going to go see!
    "Where free unions and collective bargaining are forbidden, freedom is lost." - 1980 Republican presidential candidate Ronald Reagan

  19. #19
    Cyburbian Linda_D's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by mendelman View post
    The best are renderings for landscaped yards/parking areas. They always and only depict the site on the nicest summer day with mature trees gently shading the beautiful people and cars.

    But I wish once someone would have the cajones to render the site as it will be right after the work is finished - gray cold late November day with spindly little stick trees that have about 2 dozen leaves, at most.

    "Sure that landscaped plaza will look great in the summer 20 years from now, but I doubt it will be very pleasant come January"
    This is what every rendering of any project in downtown Buffalo or along its waterfront is exactly like! Anybody who's lived in Buffalo or its environs for a while knows that slate gray overcast skies and people dressed in jackets (at the least) and somewhat bent over from the wind are much more typical. It can be 80 degrees inland but you probably need a windbreaker at least in most parts of the harbor, even if there's not a cloud in the sky.

  20. #20
    Cyburbian stroskey's avatar
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    this thread needs more pictures!

  21. #21
    Corn Burning Fool giff57's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by DetroitPlanner View post
    When I read that I instantly thought of the tunnel in Detroit's World Gateway terminal, or whatever they are calling it these days. It is easily one of the freakiest things this City has to offer, and that says a lot!
    Whenever I go through there I wonder how many epileptics go into seizures inside that thing.
    “As soon as public service ceases to be the chief business of the citizens, and they would rather serve with their money than with their persons, the State is not far from its fall”
    Jean-Jacques Rousseau

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    Unfrozen Caveman Planner mendelman's avatar
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    I'm sorry. Is my bias showing?

    Let's not be didactic in this profession, because that is a path to disillusion and irrelevancy.

    Six seasons and a movie!

  23. #23
    Cyburbian Veloise's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by mendelman View post
    Let's comment on these:..Rendering #4
    About time!

  24. #24
    Cyburbian stroskey's avatar
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    No one in # 2 is wearing jeans.
    # 4, although there are two dogs and a bicycle, looks like the kind of place where they would outlaw or discourage such behavior (in my opinion). Also, I hope they are planning to attract people who love flowers (look on all the decks).

  25. #25
    Cyburbian Queen B's avatar
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    In #4 al the flowers are the same! I was so distracted by that I couldn't really see anything else.
    It is all a matter of perspective!!!

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