Building Rendering

“The Digital” is no longer simply a tool for the production of architecture, but the context in which architecture is conceived. This shift calls for a fundamental rethinking of some of our most commonly used tools and techniques. For example, digital renderings were once an expedient way of depicting (soon-to-be) “real” buildings through photorealistic, computer-
generated images. With improvements in processing power, software, and virtual reality, rendering now happens in real-time, through immersive, interactive environments. This shift from static to dynamic is more than a simple shift in perspective, it is an invitation to rethink how architecture is conceived, produced, and experienced.

In this studio, we will take up rendering as a means of visualizing the built environment, but also as a framework for design and experience. This approach collapses distinctions between physical and digital, and turns visualization tools into generative ones. Thus, the components of rendering (UV mapping, mesh topologies, and so forth) will be the material we author as architects.

Our site will be Detroit, a city accustomed to digital mediation. Students will study Detroit remotely, utilizing digital tools such as Google Earth to form a basic understanding of the city’s topography. Mid-semester, students travel to the site, gathering information for the design of a building to be designed in a virtual Detroit.