History of Architectural Visualisation

History of Visualisation

Today we are taking a journey, and no I don’t mean a journey to Tesco’s for the 3 pound meal deal which I can’t stop thinking about at the moment. I mean the type of journey which takes us back in time to what started the very reason I have a job today. Visualisation combines art, science and statistics to represent information of multiple different forms. The Ancient Babylonians (Great name), Egyptians, Greeks and Chinese all developed sophisticated way of representing information for the movement of stars, produce maps to navigate and most relevant to VMI Studio and other visualisation studios would be to develop plans for city development. Many of these early visualisations around 600BC would have been drawn of clay very much like nowadays on these really technologically advanced computers with advanced architectural software (kind of). Later visualisations were ‘rendered’ onto papyrus, which allowed information to be more easily shared and edited or annotated.

Let’s kind of jump forward 1500 years. Trust the Italians to make one of the most important discoveries in history. In 1415 Renaissance man Fillipo Brunelleschi really affected the industry when he painted the first example of linear perspective. This being a three dimensional illustration that includes converging parallel lines to create a visual representation of how the human eye physically perceives the world. This was the biggest step in creating a visualisation that humans could empathise and connect with.

Brunelleschi, renowned for his design of the dome on top of the Cathedral of Florence discovered the missing puzzle piece that artists and architects had been searching for. Him and his team created a mathematical solution aimed at grasping a realistic 2D depiction of the 3D World. Perspective added so much depth and space to paintings and drawings. Architects and artists were finally able to create realistic portrayals – in the 15th century and beyond it helped massively with convincing the church or the government (somewhat the same thing). The industry no longer relied on expensive and very time consuming sculptures and models and was easily replicated by sketches, saving time and money.

It took another 500 years for next substantial development in the architectural and visualisation industry. The use of linear perspective grew massively and started to have a majorly positive effect on society and the industry. At the turn of the 20th century all would change however. The modern architectural movement, originating in Germany in the 1910s, took visualisation to a new and exciting place. Architects began to break away from the title of master builders and began to become more a specialised group with their own qualities and goals. Ornamentation and flair which has become a major part of visualisation nowadays due to client demand and the need for something different was completely different back then with more of a focus on form and space.

Walter Gropius and Le Corbusier, who were Historic designers, were the best at relaying design information in ways that hadn’t been done before. Three dimensional spaces became overlapped and colour coded results in diagram portrayals that expressed something about the programme without a simple drawing. Architects produced the means not only to understand the ‘what’ but also the ‘why’ and the ‘how’. This allowed the builder to see the space as the architects did.

And now for the modern day, the likes of Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Richard Branson and many other majorly influential entrepreneurs. These pinnacle characters in the speed of technological advancement has breathed new life into the world of architecture. This industry progression has not only helped designers to really showcase their work but also everyone is being forced to play catch up to those using the latest and greatest software and technology. However not everyone has decided to progress with the times, some designers and architects who have stood their ground and still hand draw and sketch. Whatever category you fall into, technology has no doubt had a massive impact on visualisation. Take a look at how visualisation is helping in the creative industry here with a  piece of work that us at VMI Studio did.

So what’s next? I think the future for this industry is perhaps bleaker than other industries. The majority of processes may become more automated. With this prediction of the future there is a potential danger that the emotional and human aspect of architecture and design may be taken away. So in the time its taken for me to write this blog post, I have managed to go on my journey to Tesco’s, now i am complete. So only time will tell the outcome of Visualisation from drawing on clay to perhaps having no input at all.

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