Architecture lives among the visual and fine arts, so it’s only natural that architects are trained to make beautiful drawings, renderings, and scale models.
The difference in the creative process is the narrative, or the art of telling a compelling story. Every story or narrative is a series of events tied together into a plot. The act of architectural storytelling is crucial to the building of spaces that convey meaningful messages.
In today’s world, you have a lot of tools to carry your ideas and visualize your project’s story. Sketching, collecting data and showing diagrams, building scale models and rendering designs, are just some of the visuals form in which one can display its concept, showing the client that the story is built up from their wishes.
Like any business, architecture is also about relationship. The most important one is between the architect and the client. Every project starts with the story the client brings to the architect to get the new building designed. The art is in interpreting the clients’ story, designing it, narrate it back to the audience, and make them buy it.
Within the frame of the idea that the architect storyteller is someone who makes buildings and spaces that speak, giving the users a story that will stick in their minds, here are five popular methods, examples and tools used in the process of visual storytelling in architecture.
With more digital tools available to architects than ever before, one has to ask themselves why the sketch still remains a valued piece of representation in the architectural field.
Sketching is always the ‘go-to’ tool when you develop an idea for a building or a site. It is the foundation for all other tools. In this fast-paced world, it is a great quick tool to show off your skills, and your fast response to the client’s request.
While some sketches are just cryptic scribbles developed during the design stage, others can become true works of art, aimed to convince clients.
2. Conceptual Diagrams
One project comes with a lot of requirements, desires, ideas, and possibilities. Before ending up with the final design, there are an infinite amount of possibilities and questions to be considered. The architect has to be able to filter and synthesize all of these in order to arrive at the clear story of the project. That process can get messy, and to communicate all the ideas that create the story to your audience can be challenging. The best way to make this visual conversation happen is through multiple diagrams that bring clearness to your presentation and make people better understand the overall concept of the project. A series of well-put-together diagrams can definitely boost the narrative of your story, enabling the audience to connect with the design.
3. 3D Renderings and Virtual Reality
Technology has gifted us with another way to tell an architectural story. Architectural 3d renderings illustrate your design project on a virtual platform which allows you to introduce atmospheres, materials and even human interaction.
That interaction makes the audience feel closer to the project, allowing them to understand it and automatically brings the client closer to the architect, strengthening the relationship between them.
A picture is worth a thousand words. Showing your design through rendered images isn’t just about showing the qualities of your project, but creating a vision of the users desired lifestyle.
Good images will burn into the mind of your audience and leave a lasting impression. It is a promising taste of something yet to come.
4. Models – Prototyping Architecture
Not only a presentation tool in the architect’s toolbox, but also a creative product for everyone, models are the way to tell the story in the most tangible way.
Driven by their experimental nature, architects have used this tool for years to materialize the thinking process. The role of an architectural model in the architectural design process is irreplaceable, because they help to quickly visualize the design in 3D, and test multiple ideas in a way that is both time and cost saving.
The entire creative world is concerned with design thinking and prototyping before the product is made. The prototype will not only allow to test a certain proposal but also helps to tell the project’s story in a comprehensible way.
In order to be even more user-friendly, with the aid of technology, models can be made interactive, providing the viewers with a more impressive presentation.
5. Video and 3D Animation
Historically the first form of storytelling was oral combined with gestures and expressions that would allow the audience to interact with the story.
Making a 3D animation about your project is probably the latest architectural storytelling tool out there. The use of this tool has been growing lately, being considered a sophisticated way to give the audience a virtual taste of their future.
Sound and music, virtual mock-ups of building materials and camera ‘flights’ inside and around the building all give you the opportunity to guide the client into the story you want to tell.
From sketches to renderings and videos in today’s world there are a lot of tools to visualize a project’s story. It is important to always ask ourselves if the tools that we are using are effective enough in communicating the story in a way that excites the clients and prospective clients, and at the same time allows us to differentiate ourselves from the competitors?
We hope this article makes you happily question your storytelling and inspire you to try out some of the suggested tools in your work.
And don’t forget to SHARE the article with your friends and colleagues, they just may be in need of some good architectural storytelling inspiration!