Architectural illustration – a renaissance?

Could it be that the gentle art of hand drawn architectural illustration is finally returning?

For quite some time property development and architectural representation has been held in the pixel tight bondage of computer generated rendering. Ever since the rise of CAD, it has become the preference of developers and real estate promotors to depict new properties and homes with computer generated renderings. Their precision in depicting materials and detailing combined with the flexibility to zoom through rooms and spaces at the flick of a mouse have made these clinical representations of space and architecture a popular choice. Despite taking hours of processing time and being hideously expensive to generate each render, most developers have chosen to represent their properties utilising this somewhat soulless technology in preference over the warmth and suggestive quality of a hand drawn depiction.

The viewer requires very little imagination when confronted with a computer generated render. All the elements are present and very real. In fact, there is a risk of disappointment when the potential purchaser finally moves into their new home and they realise the view is quite different, the kitchen appliances deviate from the picture, the floor cladding is not the same timber and the kitchen stools are non-existent. Too much detail can backfire sometimes, and there is a lot to be said for the traditional hand drawn illustrations of previous decades. Through a simple line or colour gesture an idea of space is suggested and the viewer is invited to embellish and enhance to complete the picture. Does it matter that the floor is not detailed enough to determine if it’s tiles or timber? Surely a potential resident would like to apply their own palette to the room or building and allow their imagination to wander into the realms of possibility. All this aside, there is a gentleness, humanity and verve to a traditional illustration that a computer simply can’t simulate. Case in hand, is Kelvin Foley’s depiction of the proposed Riverfeast Farmer’s Market at Bundaberg. Energetic, fun, dramatic, full of humanity, this illustration excites the senses without forcing antiseptic detail down the viewer’s visual throat. Kelvin has been creating architectural illustrations for a considerable time, and his ability to inject humanity into his work is undeniable. See more of Kelvin’s illustrative work here.

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