Render me this…

There are a few skills I need to learn if I am going to make it through the Architecture and City Planning program this fall (ok, so a lot more than just a few). Among these need to knows are a variety of software programs, several libraries full of design history, a lot of theory and regulation information and then there are the studio classes.

Drawing and sketching don’t worry me. I know that I don’t have “textbook Architect student” style you see in a lot of portfolios but lets be honest a BFA in sculpture means I took about every drawing class ever known and a minor in Interior Design means I at least have the basics down for things like scale, space, perspective, and such!

Doing color renderings is one of the things I have been trying to teach myself over the last few months. The basic idea is to draw a perspective drawing of a specific part of a project (building or landscape) in a way that showcases some special design point. A lot of people do these using computer programs now but for me, hand drawing these gives me a better understanding of the project and is also part of the conceptual process (meaning the drawing is a idea that will probably change at some point).

I am currently working for a landscaping company and first rendering I did here was a section (side view) and a detail plan (birds eye view) of a little tiny part of a much bigger project that incorporated a wooden deck, a stone walk way, and a pergola next to a water way. I was very proud of my self when I finished it (despite several mistakes that were pointed out later).


After a while I started doing rendering for fun. I would use it as a conceptual way to show what I was thinking. Sometimes I would design a random building like the Solar-House below. And some times I would try to capture and idea for a project at work.


For the work projects I have specific goals. Usually it’s to show what a small area of a project would look like if we designed it a certain way. With a background in sculpture I have been acting as a consultant on some of the projects that contain large public sculptures. For one project we had this great concept of a geometric beehive-like theme for an international technology park. I did a rendering of a possible “hive-tree” growing out of the central Metro access area with a great double waterfall water element. I though it was awesome (and so did the design team) unforgettably we can’t design a whole project around one sculpture and as the geometric concept started to change into a more organic one I had to make the decision to replace the “hive-tree” with a more modern organic light sculpture.


I know that I will have to learn as many different tools as possible to make my design arsenal as “flashy and cool” as possible, but I do enjoy rendering. Its like the line where design and art meet… conceptual idea and cool picture all tied into one. I’m now working on a countryside organic farming retreat project that is supposed to be both traditional and modern. Even though I am doing the landscape design for the project I have been playing around with ideas for the retreat houses as well.


Now if I can learn how to do this in CAD and 3D MAX as fast and as well as I can do it by hand I will be well on my way to becoming a better than average designer!


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