Visualization is important for many aspects of an architectural practice. Marketing and promotion is chief among them.
Architects are only as good as their ability to communicate their ideas. You could have been born with the most talented design brain since Vitruvius, but if you aren’t able to unwrap that genius in a way that people can understand, your buildings not only will never get built, they will remain obscured behind a wall of bad drawings and poorly conceived instructions.
One of an architects many jobs is the marketing and promotion of their own work. Those marketing materials are all about communication, and having the ability to show people why your designs are worth their time, and more importantly, their money.
So, it’s up to the visualizations and digital experiences you can put together to give the world an idea of who you are as a designer, and what your firm can bring to the table. A good rendering or design presentation is an architects best friend because it allows them to grow their portfolio and show the merits of their work without ever having anything built.
This article aims to show exactly why architectural visualization can transform a good firm into a great one, and should be used by all architects as a tool to communicate their ideas with builders, clients, and the world.
Clients Aren’t Architects
Otherwise they probably wouldn’t need you. The most practical skill you can learn as an architect is how to manage your clients and keep them informed and up to date about everything going on with any given project. This includes explaining why you’ve made certain decisions that effect the design. Clients are typically wealthy individuals or wealthy teams of individuals who are friends with other, sometimes even wealthier individuals. When they talk about you (and they will) you want to make sure not to arm them with any ill words that could have a lasting impact on the growth of your business.
The best way to avoid this is to give them plenty of amunition for them to speak well about you and your firm. One of the most effective ways to do this is by showing them - commuicating to them - why their design is great. One way to do this is through renderings, images, and other visualizations that show off the best parts of the design.
This, in a way, is the absolute best marketing tool. It allows your firm to look for new work without actually looking for any new work. Your current clients will see the merits of your design, tell their rich friends, and then the phone starts ringing. You only get a few chances to impress your clients, so you better take advantage of them.
A Rendering is Good. Built Work is Better.
Of course, all the impressive visualizations are nothing compared to the marketing and promotional power of built work. Well...as long as its good. You first need to develop the experience and skill set to get things built in a way that reinforces and follows through with the design intent. Builders aren’t architects either, and while they are sure to care about how their hard work turns out as well, they might lack the design skills to be able to figure that out themselves.
Construction documents are used to tell builders how to put a building together, but they don’t always do a good job of conveying the big picture design ideas that must be carried out through every last detail. Architects can use 3D rendering and visualization as a supplimentary set of instructions that show the builder what the thing is supposed to look like when its finished.
And this is the true merit of visualization. It helps explain your building to builders and contractors, which in turn allows them to build a better building, which in turn attracts more clients, which in turn gets you more work. It starts with the design, but it ends with the drawings ability to communicate it. And unless you’re getting up on that roof and swinging a hammer yourself, this component of the design process is one that can not be ignored.
In the end, architects should be utilizing 3D rendering and visualization for a number of reasons - and in some shape or form they all point back to making your firm look like they know what their doing. That is the end goal: to establish trust with your clients and your builders so you can all move foward with the joiint appreciation for the work and for the process.