In Defense of Architectural CGI

In Defense Of Architectural Visualization

Architectural visualization has been the topic of debate for a while now, ever since its emergence. Skeptics criticize the sometimes dishonest aspects of it, while enthusiasts praise the amazing visual appeal of it. These aspects are two sides of the same coin. When you are creating something that’s still just a sketch, you’re walking a thin line. You have to make it look good while maintaining its integrity and building plausibility. That’s where most of the naysayers find ground to criticize in the instances that have fallen off that line. However, even those naysayers will be hard-pressed to deny the contributions architectural visualization has made to architecture as a whole. Innumerable projects have been pitched and, thanks to stunning renderings, finished. Yes, some of them might’ve been too good to be true, but there are many more that have enriched landscapes around the world.


Before architectural visualization made its debut, the only way investors and end-buyers could see what a project would look like was through sketches, architectural drawings, and models. These will always have a place in architecture, as they are still essential pieces of the puzzle. However, they are somewhat abstract to anyone other than an architect that drew every building’s floor, every window, and every tile apparent in a drawing, because they all dwell in the corners of his mind. To someone less educated and experienced, they’re just a bunch of lines and symbols they don’t really understand, still have to, if they are to go through with the project. Architectural visualization completely revolutionized the playing field in this regard. There isn’t a project out there that can’t be either created or recreated with 3D rendering software. Now investors and buyers can easily understand what they’re looking at and look at it in extreme detail. Besides, saying that visualizations sometimes misrepresent the object in question is true, but you could do that with a model or drawing as well. As long as you’re responsible for your visualization work, the sheer breadth of work you can do is well worth the investment of time and money.


Perhaps one of the strongest advantages of architectural visualization over traditional methods is the ability to go back and forth until the final image is perfect. You might be thinking: “Well, you can do that with traditional methods as well.” and you would be absolutely right. However, remaking a large model or re-drawing a whole lot takes significantly longer than making adjustments to 3D renderings. Communicating with clients and making sure every single one of their ideas is implemented seamlessly in the finished image is much easier with architectural visualization. All it takes is a few well-formulated sentences, and an architect can hop right into whichever program they’re using to make the necessary changes. Sometimes it takes just one go, and sometimes it takes twenty, as it’s always been. Many architects labored for weeks over a model or drawing, trying to make it perfect only to have it returned for one line or one wall. As it should be because perfection is imperative in architecture. And, to be honest, it’s easier to attain perfection with visualizations than any other method.

Efficiency and exactness

This particular “trait” of architectural visualization is where it truly shines. Due to the nature of 3D rendering, it’s easy to divide a particular project into smaller parts that you can distribute amongst your team according to priority and expertise to speed up the whole creative part of the process. And it also contributes to making it as lifelike and exact as possible. As technology advances at an increasingly fast pace, the scope of what we can render into existence is widening. It’s now possible to simulate the surroundings of any architectural project with such detail that it looks as if the lot was never empty, to begin with. Anything — from nature to lighting and the surrounding architecture, can be replicated with extreme accuracy, which adds to the project itself in a depth that would otherwise be impossible. Architectural visualization is also very efficient in terms of marketing — if you look at the time it takes to move from concept to finished renders ready for marketing purposes, it’s pretty impressive. It’s also proven itself to be a formidable marketing tool many times over — largely due to its efficiency and the approachability that we mentioned before.

Final remarks

We could write page after page of pros and cons, but those we mentioned seemed the most impactful to us. To say that we’re biased would be an understatement — it is our area of expertise, after all. But we are architects before rendering artists, and we love architecture with a passion. If we thought that visualization was harming it in any way, we’d be long gone working on something else entirely. The truth is — it’s not. Some of our colleagues out there might be less principled, but that cannot tarnish the beauty of the visualization world. Don’t let the few outshine the many in your minds — take a look at the hundreds of thousands of projects out there that have made it, and that was true to the image of themselves they sent out into the world. It’s truly awe-inspiring.