One of the biggest challenges for clients is understanding how our 2D drawings will look in a 3D world. Architectural drawings can be very complex and often difficult for an untrained eye to understand. We make a point to review drawings on every project with our stakeholders and give opportunities to ask questions. Unfortunately, sometimes people don't take advantage of this and walk away without really knowing what they are getting. As architects, it's our responsibility to make sure clients understand.
The best way to make 2D drawings come to life is to dig into our skill toolbox. Renderings and models are tried and true tools and remain the best way to explain architecture. For hundreds of years, architects have used renderings to explain their buildings and physical models have been around for almost as long. These remained the gold standard until the ’80s when digital modeling started to gain momentum. By the early 2000s, 3D modeling was innate in architectural software, making digital models more accessible, even if creating complex shapes was challenging. 3D modeling is so effective it has permeated many industries, be it by a 3D printer, digitally, and/or virtually.
MSB Architects does everything in 3D and we utilize a lot of tools to help our clients understand. Starting in schematic design, the "big idea" stage of design, you might see a rendering, 3D printed model, animation, virtual reality, or some combination thereof. (Click the links for examples of the animation and rendering.) Once we move into construction documents, the phase we detail the drawings for construction, we continue to use the 3D to help the contractors understand complicated details. In some cases, architects are sharing their 3D files with the contractors to help them price and build the projects.
With all these tools at our disposal, every architect should be presenting their designs in 3D. Since ancient times, they have proven to be the best way to communicate a design. Remember, if you can't visualize the concept, please ask for a better explanation. Keep asking the questions. Perhaps visualization using another tool will bring your "aha" moment. No matter what, you should understand your finished product before it's done.