Visualisation and the Initial Conversation with a Client


The earliest conversations with a client are some of the most challenging. For the client, there is something magical about watching an architect sketch out an initial concept. It encourages them to use their imagination to understand the described space. A pencil drawing softens the imagery for the client and frees up the design process as the idea feels less set in stone. Some architects draw religiously with a pencil from concept through to completion without fully appreciating the value of other design tools. Our panel of experts discuss how and when they employ different visualisation tools during early client conversations.

Facit Homes “tend to start in 3D as quickly as possible” because it helps them to sell an idea more efficiently and effectively. Giving an inexperienced client control of a blank canvas often widens the scope and can confuse the design. By putting a more resolved 3D model in front of the client they can more clearly understand and are often better seduced by the architects intention. Furthermore, the final product is better aligned to the clients early interpretation. Another reason to accelerate the 3D design is because the extractable data increases exponentially. Facit Homes leverage the power of this data throughout a project, from organising logistics to facilitating onsite construction.

Using visual tools to convey the resolution of a design is important. Mamou-Mani used Rhino during the early stages of one project to reassure the client about the progression of the design.

At Millar + Howard Workshop Tomas says that they are “non descriptive about what tools, software and pens they use. We also encourage lots of different forms of representation.” Tomas is tech savvy and highlighted the value of photogrammetry which facilitates engagement of the site within hours of the visit. As previously discussed, photogrammetry is a way of stitching together a 3D model from drone footage or 2D imagery.

It was apparent from all three architects that there is no prescribed formula for those initial conversations with a client but that there is no need to limit oneself to paper and pen. Architects should think carefully about their first conversations and choose tools that compliment the message or intention that they are trying to convey. Having gained an insight into client interactions our next blogpost will highlight some of the advantages of using visualisation tools such as virtual reality.

Angus Brown