Reasons to Believe in Responsible 3D Rendering
One thing to bear in mind here is that 3D design software itself is not to blame. As much as the technology is abused, 3D visualization is an essential part of architectural illustration today. What needs to change is the focus of architects, and the clients and committees who purchase and reward their work.
As mentioned earlier, there’s the problem of the arms race. If one architecture firm starts to create realistic renderings, it may find competing difficult. Some get around this by only using stick models, but that’s simply not realistic for the entire industry.
Ultimately, what needs to happen is larger umbrella organizations like the American Institute of Architects lobbying for industry-wide changes. That means changes in how firms create their renderings, as well as how prize committees look at them.
In the meantime, however, the best we can do is work to ensure the worst excesses of rendering don’t enter the relatively new medium of virtual reality. This new technology is immersive enough that you shouldn’t need to rely on a lack of realism to make your project look fantastic. If the industry can make that happen, then the transition to virtual reality for architectural and construction rendering could be the best solution to these problems.
Understanding the Foundation of Productive Collaboration
In its outline of what a collaborative design process should look like, a report by a consortium of New Zealander architects and engineers explains, “Collaboration involves the design disciplines working together, sharing knowledge, learning from each other, and, by that, designing a building that reflects a professional consensus.”
This kind of continuous knowledge-sharing has, until recently, been rather difficult. Considering how many parties are typically involved in a construction project — not only architects and engineers but contractors, subcontractors, developers, owners, and so on — ensuring that everyone is working with the same information can be nearly impossible.
It’s not unusual for dozens of versions of a design to be in circulation at any one moment, meaning even those eager to collaborate are stymied by inconsistent plans and incomplete information. This has become such a persistent problem that Construction Industry Council CEO Graham Watts believes that “the biggest enemy of the construction industry was the arrival of email. Two parties would make amendments to the drawings but they wouldn’t tell anyone else.”
Sharing Knowledge Through VDC Technology
This is why building information modeling (BIM) represents such an important shift in the AEC industry. By providing data-rich 3D models hosted in a common data environment, BIM solutions enable architects and engineers (and every other stakeholder) to access and share up-to-date designs from anywhere and at any time.