The irreverent architecture debate Turncoats launches in New York City.
The representation of architecture is important in the absence of tangible space. Throughout a lifetime, even the most devoted, well-travelled design enthusiast will experience only a small percentage of architectural works with their own eyes. Consider that we exist in only one era of architectural history, and the percentage reduces even further. Many architectural works go unbuilt, and the buildings we experience in person amount to a grain of sand in a vast desert.
Then we consider the architecture of the future. For buildings not yet built, representation is not a luxury, but a necessity to test, communicate and sell an idea. Fortunately, today’s designers have unprecedented means to depict ideas, with an explosion in technology giving us computer-aided drafting, photo-realistic rendering, and virtual reality. Despite these vast strides, however, the tools of representation are a blend of old and new – from techniques which have existed for centuries, to the technology of our century alone. Below, we give five answers to the question of how architecture should be depicted before it is built.
As I have touched on in the past many times, context is what transforms an artistic rendering into a photorealistic visual that accurately portrays a building. Seemingly minute details such as the warmth of interior lighting in night renders can actually make a dramatic impact on how the image is received by a potential client or investor. With this in mind, and in a continual attempt to improve the accuracy of renderings while increasing the value they provide to architects, some rendering artists are now taking advantage of readily available Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) platforms – more commonly referred to as drones – to gain a unique vantage point of land slated for development.
In the past capturing aerial photographs of an area could only be achieved from planes or helicopters, both of which come at a hefty price tag, even to rent. Drones equipped with the same capabilities can now be purchased for a fraction of the cost, making aerial photography more attainable. Aside from capturing standard video or images, drones have given rendering artists access to software that allows them to accurately map the topography of an area slated for development, adding a new level of context and accuracy to the rendering.
This article is part of ArchDaily Essentials, a series of articles which give you an overview of architecture's most important topics by connecting together some of our best articles from the past. To find out more about ArchDaily Essentials, click here; or discover all of our articles in the series here.
The following article by Priscilla Frank originally appeared in The Huffington Post as "Artist Designs Surreal Futuristic Forts That Can Withstand Natural Disaster."
Dauphin Island, located off the coast of Alabama in the Gulf of Mexico, is known for experiencing perpetual and catastrophic hurricanes. When a storm hits the small island of around 1,200 people, it often washes away much of the coastline with it, leaving residents to rebuild their homes again and again following every big storm.
Artist Dionisio González became fascinated by this society's ability to endure creation and destruction in such rapid succession, willingly succumbing to the whims of nature's cycles time and time again. The artist, who has always held an interest in architecture, embarked on a mission to design surreal structures that would better suit the fraught island's populous, fusing fantasy with the inhabitants' inevitable reality.
More on González's surreal architectural images, after the break...
In this article, originally published on the Australian Design Review as "Longing For a Greener Present", Ross Exo-Adams examines the fear that lies behind the trend toward sustainable urbanism, and finds that the crisis we find ourselves in might not only be confined to an ecological one.
Over the past decade, architects have found themselves increasingly commissioned to design districts, neighbourhoods, economic free zones and even entire new cities: a phenomenon that has been accompanied by a commitment to ‘sustainability’, which now seem inseparable from urban design itself. While ‘sustainability’ remains a vague concept at best, it nonetheless presents itself with a sense of urgency similar to that which galvanised many of the great movements of modern architecture vis-a-vis the city. Underlying such urgency is a rhetorical reference to a collective fear of some palpable sort, whether it be fear of revolution (Le Corbusier), fear of cultural tabula rasa (Jane Jacobs, Team X) or our new fear: ecological collapse. It is obvious that the myriad ‘eco’ projects that have popped up all around the world would not be viable if not for the fact that they appear against a background of imminent catastrophe – a condition of terrifying proportions. Yet the essence of this fear is far from clear. Indeed, in light of ecological catastrophe and amidst any fetish for windmills or vegetation, architects have cultivated what seems to be a curious nostalgia for the present – a pragmatism whose lack of patience for the past seeks a kind of reconstitution of the present in imagining any future. So if not for climate mayhem, what is the true nature of fear that lies at the core of today’s urban project, ‘ecological urbanism’?
Find out after the break
As a continuation to their in-depth review on the render, CLOG has selected 60 images from an international group of architects and design studios - including Zaha Hadid Architects, BIG, Mansilla+Tuñón Architects, and visualhouse - to serve as case studies in the exhibition New Views: The Rendered Image in Architecture. Now on view at the Art Institute of Chicago through January 5th, 2014, New Views will explore the diversity of rendering types being produced today and their effect on contemporary architecture. More information can be found here.
At the opening of his latest article for The Guardian, Olly Wainwright finds himself observing a slew of thesis projects produced by the best and brightest students of the UK. But Wainwright is most struck - not by the display of technical skill or imagination - but by the sheer lack of connection these projects had with actual, built, imperfect architecture: “Time and again, the projects seemed intent on fleeing the real world of people and places, scale and context; retreating instead into fantasy realms of convoluted forms with no seeming purpose.”
It’s a trap that many Architecture schools have fallen into, in the UK and around the world, but it’s not just a symptom of the misguided nature of architecture education. It’s also symptomatic of Architecture’s obsession with the image of architecture, an image completely detached from reality.
More after the break...