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Architectural visualisation used to be a niche presentation method, often lumped together with model homes and 2D sketches. The higher costs turned many away–even 3D images of small projects costing thousands of pounds.

More recently, with the development of more powerful tools, the process has become more accessible to small architectural firms, designers and property developers and is increasingly being seen as an essential sales, marketing and even developmental tool in the real estate sector.

3D rendered images and videos are fast becoming the preferred method for communicating architectural designs from end-to-end and the industry is now set to become worth £4.6 billion by 2025.

Below, let’s look at 7 major benefits driving growth and adoption.

Help land deals and investment

People buy on emotion and justify with logic. The expression holds true whether you’re working with an international property developer or city officials. Architectural visualisation is a powerful tool that allows you to convince clients you possess a deep understanding of their needs through impressive photorealistic images and animations.

CGI models of both building interiors and exteriors can also help you land clients by showing your orientation to detail. Beautiful sells, but so does precision and attention to detail, especially for large projects.

Architectural visualisation is a diverse toolset that straddles realism with aesthetics. It allows designers to create a detailed realistic image, complete with people and traffic, from an outline against a photograph and all accurately scaled. This approach can help arch viz designers clinch the deal over competitors who rely on the aesthetically pleasing but without the accuracy.

Places all stakeholders on the same page

For architects, some of the biggest challenges of working a project come after they draft a blueprint. Managing the expectations of clients can be difficult, especially if you’re working on a project with many stakeholders and decision-makers. Not everyone will appreciate or understand the blueprints in the same way. Nor could many people visualise the end development based on a set of 2D images alone, and that makes it difficult to engage people, get valuable input, and align expectations.

Architectural visualisation makes communication easier. The vision for a project may get lost in the technicalities of blueprints and sketches. Details can fall between the cracks and cause either costly revisions down the line or unhappy clients. A realistic 3D representation ensures all the elements of a project are made to specifications.

Allows for smoother feedback loops

Architectural visualisation brings clients closer to their ideal aesthetic faster than ever before. Powerful rendering tools and software allow designers to show clients multiple options without spending hours drafting or remodelling. Architects can show clients several images of a space in different colours, or play with fixtures to change the aesthetic, having access to a deep library of CGI assets, from dining chairs to the car parked in the drive.

The near limitless potential for customisation can significantly shorten the planning phase. Clients can make faster, informed decisions. Designers can receive immediate and actionable feedback during meetings. Architects can explore different materials and textures with their clients without having to present physical samples.

Reduces costly construction and design flaws

Architectural visualisation allows artists to show clients their vision realised in reality (well virtual reality), helping to expose constraints and flaws. A designer can factor in housing regulations and the spatial limits of a property’s surroundings. This helps mitigate hefty fees and avoid construction mistakes. For instance, a rendering interspersed with real photos from the site can reveal if the property is obstructing street signs, a detail that can easily get overlooked in blueprints.

Interior CGI gives clients the ability to imagine fully realised spaces–and change them even before the first carpet is laid. A client may not like how a room looks like at night, how windows frame sunlight in the morning or want a more expansive street view from their home office. These elements seem minor compared to an overhang covering a street sign, but in a visual field like architecture, the devil is truly in the details. Even the smallest tweaks can significantly improve a client’s satisfaction–and save them many thousands of pounds by finding out later down the line.

Helps clients save energy

More people are switching to cost-effective and greener energy. Controlling and diverting sunlight to provide light during the day is one trend making its way inside buildings and for good reason. Known as “daylighting”, the practice can reduce as much as one-third of a building’s energy requirements.

Today’s architectural visualisation not only allows you to overlay real photographs with 3D images to produce an accurate, photorealistic representation but it also gives the visualiser the power to factor the sun into the equation. This allows artists to find the best way to design a home or commercial building whilst letting in as much daylight as possible.

Broadens your client base

Many businesses and architects used to be limited by location. Face-to-face meetings and site visits can add up, both in transport costs and time, forcing many businesses and architects to limit their clientele.

Architectural visualisation can cut down on the need for face to face meetings by gifting you the power of photorealistic images of a finished project. Whilst visiting a site is crucial for developers, architectural firms can cut down on the frequency of meetings and walk-throughs with the end client through the use of 3D renderings. What’s more these visualisations are no longer limited to paper, and can be sent in any digital format, meaning they can be widely distributed to stakeholders in seconds instead of days and at literally no cost.

Cost-effective marketing

Property marketing has come far from simple brochures and fliers. In recent years we’ve seen more innovative and interactive technologies come to architectural visualisation, such as panoramic 360 rendering and virtual reality-enabled tours.

The impact and implications for marketing are clear. Marketers no longer have to rely on sales pitches to paint a picture of the space–they can just drop potential clients in the middle of it. No more abstractions, designs are put front and centre, and clients can explore at their leisure whether at home or on the showroom floor.

As an architect, your job is to sell a space that’s yet to be built, a challenge when pitching to laymen who might not be able to appreciate the mathematical and spatial technicalities of a blueprint, or the skill behind a 2D sketch. With architectural visualisation, architects can sell the space and the dream behind it.