Transforming the design of a steel structure 1970’s building in the heart Dublin’s most well Known Street, is not an easy task. What’s more, introducing a contemporary design which will receive planning in this Architectural Conservation Area of Dublin is a big challenge. But it is a challenge that BKD Architects rose to, helped in part by the 3D visualisation work of 3D Design Bureau.
At the tale end of last year, we were approached by our client to work closely with their project architects in visualising the proposed re-design of this existing 1970’s building. Located on the corner of Grafton Street and Lemon Street, the building sits within the Grafton Street Architectural Conservation Area. It therefore was paramount that the planning application was supported by a set of photomontages that accurately illustrated the proposed new contemporary building. Despite a great design by BKD Architects, it brought its own architectural visualisation challenges.
The brief was clear and straight forward. The execution, however took a little more work. Our task was to produce a set of high quality photomontages from key vantage points on Grafton Street. The objective of the 3D photo montages were as standard – to show how the proposed design, particularly the new glazed curtain wall façade, would sit within the proposed streetscape. However it was clear from the initial project meeting that the key to these photomontages was getting the proposed glazed curtain wall system looking as it should. This was something that was not going to be achieved with standard 3D rendering alone.
The Work Involved:
3D modelling of the proposed building was straight forward enough and for the most part so too was the 3D visualisation of it. Life inside the building was required which meant the interior 3D modelling and population of the lower ground floors. However when it came to the visualisation of the pattern of glazed panels on the façade, more thought was needed to our approach.
These panels are made of a mix of open mesh, closed mesh and reflective glass and achieving the correct look and feel of them in the montages was important. As per BKD’s planning document “The use of open and closed aluminium mesh interlayers is intended to provide a sense of materiality and texture with a subtle colour tone, set behind a flush reflective glass face. Viewed obliquely, the upper part of the façade reflects its neighbours across the street whereas when seen closer up, the sense of material and pattern becomes more apparent.”
We identified early on in the project that more control was going to be required in post production in order to achieve the exact look that was needed. Every project we work on has an element of post rendering composition work. This work includes masking, image retouching and grading and inclusion of additional assets. However the nature of this project meant that the standard ratio of time spent in post production, versus 3D modelling and visualisation, was going to be higher.
Despite this additional work in post, it was still important that we had a very good base 3D render from which to work from. Then, through the use of numerous render passes and alpha channels we were able to have full control over the rendered model, in particular the glazed mesh façade. This allowed us to carry out alterations to the rendered model without having to re-render the 3D model itself. There were instances throughout the project where re-rendering was required due to architectural design and material changes. A lot of work was also needed in cleaning up the existing photos and a particular style to the 3D images was requested which involved subtle filters being added right at the end.
A huge level of work went into this project and credit must go to our architectural visualisation team who managed to deliver on a difficult requirement. Despite tight deadlines, a lot of back and forth with the architectural design team, and some ups and downs, we had a happy client and project architect at the finish line.