“The real purpose of these drawings is not to predict the future. Their real goal is to control it.” In a recent New York Times article an industry visionary speculated the importance of Hyper Realism in renderings and how fundamental it is to the evolution of our craft. Many of us are familiar with the pioneering works of Peter Guthrie, Bertrand Benoit and Henry Goss in this field, in fact it would be hard to dispel the horizon-stretching renders of Goss’ Staithe End House or Guthries’ Hendeeborg House from our awe and possibly even envy.
Some of us would shrug off these Pink Floyd acolytes as largely irrelevant to the coal-face where most of us mere mortals generally shuffle around. For surely our clients come to us because they want practical grace, efficient spacing and oodles of natural apertures, they’re not after napkin sketches. And of course the Prog-Rock set have impossibly expensive bespoke tech systems powered directly from the earths molten core, which harness artistic visions direct from the soul of DaVinci himself, channelled via the wicker dream-weaver dangling above their exclusive Pinifarina Aresline Xten chair.
Ok so now maybe we are getting a little carried away, but the truth of the matter is that if we felt that our contemporary, Peter Guthrie, was crafting in spaces beyond our grasp then we are perhaps mistaken. Because in actual fact the Excalibur in Guthries’ tech arsenal is none other than a humble little design app which goes by the name of SketchUp. Without question the wielding of this application is fused with Guthrie’ unquestionable talent but according to Peter himself he doesn’t believe it’s too difficult for anyone else to incorporate Hyper Realism in to their stable either, “I try to make atmospheric, memorable images without using too many post-production tricks,” Guthrie says. “Other visualisers perhaps take their inspiration from film and video games, but that isn’t an aesthetic I’m drawn to.”
Guthrie also feels that we’re reaching the point where renderings are indistinguishable from photographs: “I think we have… The 2013 Ikea catalogue has a surprising number of visualisations in it and most people are none the wiser.” He also believes that society is more comfortable with Hyper Realism in rendering due to the examples it regularly consumes through movies and video-games “It makes un-built architecture more immediate and allows for greater conversation about the built environment”.
Just as in the movies and video-games it is becoming ever more difficult to define the line between that which is rendered and that which is real, some visualisers are actually being employed to include imperfections in their renderings so that artificial elements become even harder to distinguish from those which have a physical existence.
Although we might not be entering ‘The Matrix’ just yet if we do not embrace and even shape our own architectural futures, then they may become something that we are not equipped to thrive in. It is certain that Hyper Realism is here to stay and our professional and artistic offering will only flourish if we can embrace it.
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