RODE has established a unique graphic style in everything from diagrams and axons to renderings. Each drawing becomes an important piece that illustrates the building’s story, concept, and vision. More and more, we are finding these types of drawing studies to be beneficial throughout multiple phases of our design – even our building process. While sketches and massing models can be used to quickly understand a project, they tend to lose a sense of scale and reality. Diagrams and axonometric projections are very informative, displaying everything from a building’s functions to its construction. However, these drawings do not depict how the building will appear upon completion. It’s the renderings that capture a true human eye perspective of the site and the setting. At RODE, we believe it is important to create renderings that trigger emotions. We develop a wide variety of projects for many types of clientele and it’s essential to create renderings that do the same.
Renderings can be broken down into several components: the three main ones are materiality, entourage, and atmosphere. Most successful images achieve a balance of these three key elements.
Materials add texture and color, giving the image a sense of reality – a familiar feeling that connects what doesn’t yet exist to what could be. Depicted materials scale and fade as they retreat into the distance, and they add bold perspective lines that draw your eye into the horizon. They can reveal shadows and reflections, which create a second layer of depth showing elements from behind the main vantage point that would not otherwise be visible in the foreground.
In many ways, a building’s location determines its users, but in a rendering, the entourage/people depicted are often representative of a building's location. The entourage portrays target audience for the space and its amenities on a fun and playful level, whether it is dog and family friendly or a pristine penthouse apartment. Encouraging diversity within a building’s community is also a goal for designers and this can also be seen through the entourage. The chosen figures within the rendering represent the desired audiences and the overall demographics of the area. We also use scale to play with a person’s distance within the space, manipulating the overall scale of the architecture. Including people activates a space and the more a space is populated, the more the architecture can be distorted. In this case people become the focus, allowing a real life connections and more meaningful relation to the viewer.
Atmospheric perspective is one of the final layers of depth we add to a rendered scene. It conveys an overall mood and can reach viewers on an emotional level. We use tonal variations, add overlays, and tailor blurriness to portray seasons, adjust the weather, and set the time of the day. Wintry scenery creates a subdued setting that allows the viewer to focus on the building. Spring and summer renderings are quite the opposite. These are fresh and crisp, filled with bright colors that provide a lively and happy feel for the viewer. Fall can act as a combination of the two. While the leaves change and the days get shorter, the render takes on a warm, but de-saturated, appearance. We can adjust the weather as well. Snow and rain are not always the most popular weather conditions in the real world, but can produce some of the most interesting renders by depicting real life conditions. We are also able to alter the time of the day by adjusting the lighting. Day time renders convey that the space is active, full of light, and focus on how the building relates to its surrounding site; while dusk or night time renders re-direct the viewer’s focus to the building by reducing the visibility and details of the site and drawing attention to illuminated interior spaces.
Overall, renderings have an infinite capability of showing the potential of a new building. To view some of the latest RODE renderings, take a look at 3200 Washington St, 6 +14 West Broadway, and 232 Old Colony Ave, on the RODE website.