20 Architectural renders that break the mold

Hey everyone,
I’ve just posted a list of ‘20 architectural renders that break the mold’.

Through my years of browsing 3d forums, I’ve seen some absolutely amazing artworks. Some that seemed to go unnoticed before being quickly buried amongst the thousands of other submissions. So I thought I’d post this list as a way to spread the word incase anyone missed them :slight_smile:

You can view the post here: http://www.blenderguru.com/20-architectural-renders-that-break-the-mold/

If you think I’ve missed anything, let me know!


Wow. Those are amazing.

What mold would that be?

Subjective, there are maybe two or three that look reasonably inspiring. Although they are skillfully done, many IMO are staid, boring and totally disposable, merely emulating a photograph and to be honest photos taken by your usual real estate agent, a pro architectural photographer would present the buildings with more flair. :slight_smile:

I’d be more excited by architectural images from like Fifth Element, Blade Runner, Star Wars, Batman etc etc.

What I really don’t get is why images like these are looked upon as inspiring and why artists spend so much time producing singular images of photo real qualities rather than inspiring and emotive short movies that really encapsulate the architect/designers vision for a project, using mixed media, video, artwork, story. I guess it depends on the reason for creating the images in the first place which is why so many are disposable.

And just to mention your ‘architecture is boring’ unless it’s presented as mold breaking images I’d disagree wholeheartedly with that as well. :slight_smile:

Thanks anyway. :slight_smile:

Hmm, interesting!

I have a lot of sympathy for arch vis… I spent 5 years at college doing architecture before I want off to pursue a career in video games…

It seems to me that some of these are interesting because of the architectural content, some are interesting despite the architectural content… and some are a synergy…

My favorite arch vis is that done by 18th century architect and painter “Joseph michael gandy” who is most famous for painting (and hence popularising) schemes by english architect John Soane…

at the height of the romantic period he painted soanes’ bank of england proposal but as if it was being discovered in ruins by some future generation…

now that’s breaking the mold



There is a “type” of architect for whom the “arch vis” catalogue is increasingly all that matters… looking good in print as opposed to being a “good” space!

You’ve showed some beautiful renders there. Off the top of my head I would also have included Olivier Charles’ Mind Shaft.

Just because it’s a great concept

Shame those aren’t real places, I’d love to live in some of those houses :D…

Beautiful. Definitely inspiring pieces.

I definitely share Yellow’s opinion. I find the recent crop of realistic arch-vis renders totally boring. There are just too many. They basically all look the same. I went to the web site with the 20 renders and I could just barely hold my interest enough to scroll through all of them. None of them held my attention more the the passing scroll time. Just boring. Something that any architecture student can do with current realistic renderers.

Well to me there are thousands of architectural renders that are just simply, “this is what the building might look like if it were real”. Uninspiring, with no artistic merit, nothing. So for an architectural render to tell a story and look like something I might hang on my wall, I’d consider that ‘breaking the mold’. It’s by my own definition of course, but compared to the blandness of the industry these stick out.

My statement that ‘architecture is boring’, reflects merely on my own impression on living in the city. When you see huge tall buildings everyday of your life, it starts to look ugly. :frowning: But I will agree that some (very few in my mind) are actually beautiful.

I do appreciate getting a second opinion on my posts though. I’ve only just started writing so any critique is good critique. :wink: I originally called the article, “20 Inspiring architectural renders” but changed it at the last minute. :frowning:

I’d like to hear more on this. Do you really think that those renders could have been done by just any architecture student? Honestly?
Particularly the ones by Alex Roman and Viktor Fretyan. But most of them are not something you’d find any old college student churning out.

Again this is just my opinion, and you are entitled to yours, I’m just trying to see how you came to your conclusion.

Thanks for the input everyone! :wink:

What I mean is that with the current realistic renderers like VRay and MentalRay and the like, we get to see more and more architecture renders that are just plain placing furniture in a very empty (design?) room with physically accurate material all over the place and physically accurate lighting in a non imaginative lighting setup like a simple sun and sky. Almost half of 3D World mag showcases are of this type now. I don’t even look at them anymore.

As for Alex Roman and Viktor Fretyan renders, they are just as unimaginative in term of composition, camera placement and lighting. I agree that these architects are good designers. They are definitely. I’m just saying that their renders are boring. It is true that not all architecture student could come up with architecture designs like those ones, But they could easily come up with similar renders because they have access to the same material libraries and the same sky and sun setup. The renderer does the rest. I try to not confuse good architect with good visual artists. They are not the same. Those two guys are definitely good architect in the sense that they know how to play with space and materials but they are not great visual artists. Their sense of projecting their 3D ideas onto a 2D canvas is weak. I understand that producing a 2D piece of art is not their goal. They want to provide a sense of space. a sense of “being there” for their customer. It may be a very good communication piece between the architect and his customers but for me, which is not involved in the project, those are just boring. I have several books in my bookshelves about architecture of all periods. Architecture designs like the ones we see on this web page are not uncommon. They are not even outstanding. They are good but nothing I would label genius.

Frankly, I’m an advocate of photorealistic renderers and renders because they are so much easier to use than the current crop of legacy renders with their load of ad-hoc arbitrary hacks added one over the other. But I would hope that artists would start using those renderers in more artistic ways rather than just boringly replicating reality with a camera at eye level position and a strong sun shining through windows and obstacles. I’m waiting for that. And there are a few artists who have a lready started doing that. But those arch-vis renders are definitely not there by a long stretch.

And I would also add that this is just my own personal opinion.

yellow, ypoissant: i respect your opinions, but i think where (most) of those renderings succeed is in the way the images are composed in photographic terms, not just CG terms, if i can make such a statement. the artists responsible are approaching the image like an architectural photographer would, which is seen by the balancing of daylight with artificial light and the subsequent color composition created by their interplay, and simply the way the shots are framed and composed, using the geometry of the architecture as graphic devices in the final image. i think the photographic qualities and attention to that kind of detail gives many of these images the narrative that arch. viz, or any visual piece of art, should aspire to. in certain ways they are surreal in the sense that well executed photographs can be surreal, not in the sense that poorly executed CG renderings are surreal, follow?

i dont think they are just ‘snapshots’ of mundane buildings at all; i could definitely see how those spaces could be represented much worse than that. most of those renderings are not your average ‘sun and sky’ light set up. i agree there is a shitload of work out there that just takes a box of a space and fills it with furniture, fires up Vray and calls it finished, but those 20 renderings are definitely not in that category. of those 20, i could only count a handful that MAY come close to your ‘furniture-in-a-sunny-box’ renderings, the rest of the spaces and models are pretty stunning IMO.

for the record, Alex Roman and Viktor Fretyan are NOT the designers of those spaces. two of the buildings are by Tadao Ando and Louis Kahn, not sure about the others though i think it says, though theres that Mies house and Hadid at the end.

what im saying is youre trivializing some pretty solid work. composing with light and space is no simple task that you can just plug into a renderer, it takes dedication and a good eye. or maybe its just cuz i have a soft spot for purdy pitchahs and architecture…

by the way, the architecture of Batman is actually Chicago, if im not mistaken. hence all the Mies buildings.

otto: many of them are, in fact, real places. except the last one is a Hadid building that is in the works. aaaand i duno about some of the ones in the middle.

MichaelW: im feelin that last line for sure and it could be extended to architects who lately care only about the ‘greenness’ of a building rather than the actual spatial qualities. having a sustainable building is like having a structurally sound building: it should kind of be a default requirement, no? anyways, ill stop before i get riled up about that, those trendy motherf…

awesome images though, ill have to check out more of Gandy’s work. those damn romantics. thanks for sharing!

alright, enough out of me. great images, redbyte! dont hesitate to share more if you find em!

Beautiful collection!!

very well made and detailed images , but their general theme is very cold and boring. Definitely not what I call inspiring Architecture and of course very far from breaking the “mold”, to a large extend I agree with previous posters.

I am in the yellow and ypoissant camp those renders are largely underwhelming and boring, building etc can be extremely beautiful works of art but the vast majority of arch vis works just never seem to bring that sense of beauty to me.

Follow, yes and respect your opinion, I don’t see well composed images, I don’t see well framed I see cliche’d eg. Framed by trees, blah!. Use of vignettes and CA. Man if my expensive camera lenses exhibited those sorts of lense defects (sorry, characteristics) I’d throw them back at the manufacturer for my money back. :-).

I understand it’s a stylistic call but I think it’s well over used and comical in a way that artists stive to produce photoreal renders that then have to add liberal doses of vig, CA, grain and whatever to emulate well worn and cliche’d photographic post processes.

No, I think I made it clear they were skillfully done and respect to the artists. But when it’s done/achieved why produce more of the same, why not move on, expand skills, learn new 3D techniques and start making animations, short movies of the same visual quality. Add a story line and deliver a more cinematic view of a building and it’s surroundings, it’s relationship to it’s accupants etc with all the attributes of the images. That to me is why so many of these images are disposable, but then to invest time in that means they aren’t earning and they are earning delivering more of the same. :slight_smile: Well executed.

Or maybe it’s because I’ve seen 25yrs of 3D architectural work and spent the last 20yrs in employment in a number of architects practice’s. For the last few years I’ve become more and more uninspired by this type of work, it’s well executed but that’s neither here nor there, I’m not moved by ‘well executed’ is anyone?

Yep, read the articles, seen the VFX breakdowns. But it’s not the physical location it’s the depiction, mood and presentation, like to see anyone do that with Indigo or Lux. :slight_smile:

Well, those that don’t like redbytes’s list, please illustrate this thread with examples of ARCHVIS that YOU think break the mold, else it all feels a little negative and like there’s not much to discuss…

I tried to stimulate some possible discourse here with the following:

It seems to me that some of these are interesting because of the architectural content, some are interesting despite the architectural content… and some are a synergy…

but no one took the bait!

I know it was a throwaway line, but to me is the central “problem” with archvis… usually the architect and the visualizer are different people, who’s art are we admiring? surely the best is when synergy occurs?

I get the impression (maybe wrongly, its hard to tell) that some of you find architecture boring and so find pictures of architecture boring… (and BTW, I’m trying for that not to be a sweeping statement that paints all who disliked the collection the same)

I’m always amazed how endlessly fascinated we all get with Tadao Andos architecture… half of that list features his trademark concrete… sorry I’m not sure where I’m going with that, but please, rather than saying “i don’t like your list much it’s a bit boring” how about some proposals for what should be there?

(I like pictures me)

Just tried to take my own challenge!

I take it all back… Archvis is 90% really boring!

To Yves, whilst technically it is very easy to use a good renderer these days and get a good “photoreal” result doesn’t de value the work for me… But i really hate those stark rooms with some “design classic” bits of furniture dotted around…

Whilst not mold breaking i like the following piece


it doesn’t revolutionise or break the mold, but the architecture is shown off very nicely with the lighting choices, and it’s really nice to see a piece with good context for the scheme…

This one:

the architect is the star… sometimes the old trusted simple shots are best with such bravado going on weoth th building…


Hmm, I’m a sucker for the “twighlight hour”… These are all very conventional I guess…

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yellow: points taken. however, id say that these 20 would rank pretty high among most other 3d viz works just in terms of their quality of execution. whether or not the whole genre has gotten a bit cliche, i see what youre saying, you can see strong parallels in photography in that there are certain themes and ‘templates’ that appear in 90% of portfolios.

i dont think the fact that they are still images rather than videos has any relevance to their value. photographers dont necessarily need to go on to film to improve their craft, but i get it: its a good reminder to keep pushing the limits. you should always strive to look for ways to do better.

anyways, my 2 cents.

MichaelW: absolutely right. will edit this once i get some more time. the Hadid example in the original 20 is a good example of an… interesting architectural scheme coupled with a couple dramatic renderings. especially the first one http://www.blenderguru.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/05/mir002.jpg

gives a bit of that dramatic ‘oomph’ no? ive always been very impressed with concept art and environment art for games and whatnot, just in the wild ideas and impossible schemes they propose. arch. viz should have that kind of dramatic flair, no matter the content. sad fact of the matter is, you dont get to do that 90% of the time.

StompingTom: I’d say that the last render you showed is artistically interesting. I mean the composition. It have something from the selected POV. But really, what this really sows-off is the architect design. I can appreciate the talent of the architect but this is nothing more than one examplary of a photo that will be taken hundreds of times by future visiting tourists.

Michael W: See? What you are showing are good architectural designs. I agree. But, let’s take the “TODS” building for example. What is there in this render that is more interesting than a photo that I would take while doing a tourist visit in this city. I know that the building does not exist yet but still.

I think the attraction or fascination 3D artists show for that sort of render is mainly because every 3D artists who have spent numerous hours and days trying to do such a realistic render in one of the legacy 3D renderer such as BI is in awe because they have been dreaming of doing something similar for a long time and its proved unachievable. Those 3D artists who have been fighting with CG hacks, accumulating tricks and trying to make all those tricks achieve this kind of realism are jealous. They think the artists who achieved that are either magicians or extremely talented.

But the artists who produce those photoreal renders are no magicians and most of them are not very talented either. They just use the new tools around. A lot of people are blinded by the photorealism and they are only attracted to the surface renders while in fact, the vast majority of those renders are rather plain and devoid of any artistic value. Those plain realistic renders are the equivalent to the good old floating reflective and transparent balls over a checkered floor of some years ago.

Those renderers are just easier to use. Those new renderer represent the dawn of a paradigm shift in the 3D market. Soon everybody will have access to that type of renderer. That includes Blender artists. I’m waiting for until true artists take those realistic renderers and start to explore them in ways that no arch-vis technician have ever dreamed of before. I’m waiting.