August 7th, 2019.
There has always been one fundamental flaw to the design and construction industries, the field has a terrible feedback loop. Buildings take a long time to construct. Large civic buildings, that have significant bearing on citizen pride and subjective ideals, tend to spend large swathes of time in both planning and construction phase so that, by the time they are completed public perceptions have often drastically changed, aesthetic preferences shifted and new economic constraints are in force.
Today however, advancements in digital technology mean we suddenly have access to valuable public response before even breaking ground. The era of the render is upon us and having the ability to so concisely represent a completed building, no matter the scale, and push it out there on digital platforms to be shared and commented on at such an early stage, generates healthy public debate, public involvement and accountability and a much more engaged response with which to finalise a design that will match up to expectations.
Last year, the City of London commissioned a collection of renderings to portray how the skyline of the financial district will be affected once building works currently underway are completed in 2026. Glimpsing the future in this way is a hugely effective tool in terms of urban planning, marketing and future growth of a city.
Render depicting London’s skyline in 2026.
In Kenya, a 30 storey tower received planning permission based on architectural renderings that took creative license to a whole new level. The concept for the wedge-shaped tower by Richard Keep Architects and Henry Goss Architects
was presented on a moody, rainy day, adding an extra layer of narrative to the otherwise architecturally accurate depiction of the tower which will overlook Nairobi’s central business district.
London-based Keep and Goss designed 30-storey mixed-use Akili Tower in Kenya. Render by The Boundary.
Recently, hyper-realistic images have been revealed that depict the conceptual design for a temporary place of worship alongside Notre-Dame. The pavilion is intended to serve as a space to hold church services while the 850 year old church is restored following a fire earlier this year. Designed by Gensler the conceptual proposal is in response to calls from Notre-Dame’s rector, Bishop Patrick Chauvet, and the mayor of Paris to create a temporary structure for the site.
Proposed temporary Pavillion at Notre-Dame by Gensler.
The future of renderings, already so advanced as to be almost indistinguishable from photographs, is both exciting and uncertain. Outrageous liberties can mean the ultimate downfall of the technology, yet, used wisely and legislated carefully, this technology will no doubt form the future of design and construction in the public realm.