Daily Features

The Big Picture

An exhibition of digital renderings reveals the unbounded possibility of the architectural image

By Alan Rapp, Superscript August 14, 2013

A key tool to present a proposed building in its surroundings to clients, communities, and the media, the architectural rendering has always balanced pragmatism with idealism. Through a combination of several factors—advances in visualization hardware and software, not to mention the previously unthinkable forms that can be engineered today (also thanks largely to computers)—today's generation of digital renderings can forgo the objective orthodoxies that once prevailed. 

Using a recent issue of CLOG, “Rendering,” as a springboard, the Art Institute of Chicago’s current show “New Views: The Rendered Image in Architecture” both displays and interprets the state of the art in visualizations today. Cinematic, science-fictional, and sometimes whimsical, the digital rendering reveals the paradox of visualizing architecture today. As the editors of CLOG put it, “Design concepts can now be tested and conveyed with an unprecedented degree of visual accuracy. Simultaneously, whether through omission, extreme dramatization, or even intentional fakery, architects have the ability to depict the impossible with a remarkable degree of realism.”

The Book

CLOG: Rendering Clog editors


The following is a selection of cutting-edge renderings from studios around the world, many of which are featured in the exhibition. “New Views: The Rendered Image in Architecture” is on view in the Kurokawa Gallery of the Art Institute of Chicago through January 5, 2014.

+Pool, New York City. Playlab and Family in collaboration with ARUP
+Pool, New York City. Playlab and Family in collaboration with ARUP
Changsha Meixihu International Culture and Arts Center, Changsha, China. Zaha Hadid Architects
National Gallery of Art, Nuuk, Greenland. BIG, rendering by MIR
Opera House, Busan, South Korea. Sériès et Sériès, rendering by Labtop
ROCKmagenten, Roskilde, Denmark. MVRDV + COBE, rendering by Luxigon
Visitor Center, Gulating, Norway. CODE, rendering by MIR
432 Park Avenue, New York City. Rafael Viñoly Architects for CIM Group and Macklowe Properties, rendering by DBOX
National Museum of Denmark. Kengo Kuma/Jaja, rendering by MIR
Keelung Harbor Service Building, Keelung Harbor Authority and Taiwan Ministry of Transportation, Keelung, Taiwan. P-A-T-T-E-R-N-S
Kimball Art Center, Park City, Utah. BIG
Sandsliasen Bergen, Norway. Link Arkitekter, rendering by MIR
Elevated Field from Europa City, the New Metropolitan Complex for Grand Paris. Snøhetta, rendering by MIR
St. Gallen Kunstmuseum, Switzerland. Greg Lynn FORM
514 Eleventh Avenue, New York. HOK, rendering by Visual House
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