The Times they are a-changing. It was true over 50 years ago when Bob Dylan wrote the song and it’s true now more than ever. Technology is the biggest engine driving change and the realm of Architecture is not exempt. The latest shift sees Architects employing new ways of integrating visualization into their 3D workflows to help their clients feel the space inside their future buildings. Fast, self-created animations, self-rendered images, and 360 panoramas can be viewed through VR headsets or uploaded to the internet to share instantly online. These are all possibilities with a visualization tool like Lumion, which the whole of the US architectural industry currently seems to be flocking towards en masse.
It used to be normal for Architects to produce a few high-quality renders at the end of the design process, perhaps prepared by outsourcing to a specialist visualization agency. Now it is normal to make 500+ model iterations, each one improved from insights made by looking at 3D renders at every iteration. The Designer can either get inside their design themselves or together with the client, at any stage in the design process. They can walk through the space in 3D, surrounded by its context of buildings, trees, water, plants, traffic, people and other objects. Materials look beautiful and real. Lighting and effects can be tuned to create the mood.
As Kenneth Hartfiel, associate principal of Dimella Shaffer puts it: “In the old days, the magic was happening on the building site. Now due to a combination of a CAD program like Revit with the visualization tool Lumion, you can create the look and feel of a design, before it’s even built.”
As Ryan Stevens CEO and Design Director at KMD explains, "the role of visualization has changed Lumion is a communication tool that helps us tell the story of a particular project, and it’s a tool that’s part of designing; enhancing our ability to be better designers.”
John Goldwyn, VP of WATG’s London office pointed out, “Architects are used to using plans, elevations, and sections but they can be difficult for clients to understand. People are always excited to be immersed in the design using Lumion. You can see from their body language that they smile, relax and are pleased with the output."
Architects, from one-person freelance practices to large multinational players are now re-defining their design processes to capitalize on 3D modeling combined with Lumion. The day-to-day benefit is a more compelling service, delivered faster and more efficiently than ever before.