100 Renderings That Tell Powerful Stories About Architecture

Architizer is thrilled to reveal the 100 finalists for the 2020 One Rendering Challenge!

Architizer Editors Architizer Editors

At the end of 2020, the 100 Finalists for the 2nd Annual One Rendering Challenge were published, each one telling a unique story about architecture and the wider world during one of our most turbulent eras Below, you’ll find every amazing visualization that made the Top 100, forming a huge and vibrant exhibition of architectural rendering and narrative-driven design.

Our stellar line up of expert jurors reviewed each image in minute detail, and their decisions were revealed with the publication of the Official Winners’ Announcement in 2021. They judged the renderings based on the competition criteria to come up with their top choices. For the One Rendering Challenge, jurors’ rankings are converted into scores, which then give us our two Top Winners and 10 Runners-up.

You can explore those 100 renderings below (published across 4 posts and in no particular order), accompanied by their stories. Tell us which is your favorite on Instagram and Twitter with the hashtag #OneRenderingChallenge! Below, “Part 1” presents the first 25 architectural visualizations — you can jump to part 2, 3 and 4 using these buttons:

Part 2     Part 3     Part 4

“Lost” by Saman Gardy


“Paris, France…

a busy winter evening …
an urban stairs …
a city map …
a kid , people …


Software used: V-Ray, 3ds Max, Photoshop

“Misfits” by Cristina Patane’

Cristina Patanè Images

“In an incredible year in which we couldn’t have ever imagined the unimaginable, we found ourselves facing pain, helplessness, loneliness, silence. We experienced isolation and found ourselves in contexts that were unsuitable, with a wrong size and limited.

Misfits are ordinary people living in any city in the world. Locked up in their flats, they have been denied the freedom to live outside of them. They have found it hard to accept the condition of being forced not to meet anyone except through a bridge: the window.

They saw with eyes of passive acceptance nature in all its power taking unusual spaces during a surreal spring. They have interrupted all daily activities leaving space for an emotional disorder whose creator is an invisible enemy. It is all so unreal and yet so true.

But this lush life that blossoms unchallenged, invites us to resistance and rebirth.”

Software used: V-Ray, 3ds Max, Photoshop



“Bronx, New York. 2023
Over 3/4 of the world’s population has been wiped out due to a global pandemic.

This circular installation was commissioned to represent planet Earth. Also known as ‘The Sculpture of Perseverance’. The locals see this sculpture as a beacon of hope. It is a memorial for all the friends and family members that we have lost. Months after the artworks installation, a message was curved: ‘We must fight on and we will continue to shine’.

This environment was built from my imagination. I was thinking about what might happen if a recently developed master plan was to slowly deteriorate and become taken over by local graffiti artists.

This rendering blurs the lines between architecture and art. I really like how the bold composition complements the dramatic lighting.”

Software used: 3ds Max, Corona Renderer, Photoshop, Other

“HOPE” by Tossaporn Vongkittipong

Illustrations on Demand

“Climate change, global warming, affects us all. Pollution problems has been reaching to significant levels. Natural disasters such as earthquakes, volcanic activities, natural forest fires, tornados, flooding, tsunami, et, cause everything and everyone dying. Is there any hope for our planet? Is it wrong to be hopeful?”

Software used: V-Ray, 3ds Max, Photoshop

“Hope?” by Antonio Ciccioli, Luca Stanisci and Piera Angela Liberi


“He was walking along the street where his latest mural had taken shape and with surprise he saw that it had been covered by a stupid advertising poster…

A stupid poster featuring a stupid new housing estate and a stupid claim: your hope our goal.

“Hope? R U Serious?!? ”

And while he was vandalizing the same poster that vandalized his mural, remembered:

“the architect needs to learn to see, and to open his eyes because there is always a lesson to learn from the street””

Software used: 3ds Max, Corona Renderer, Photoshop, Other

“The House in the water” by Gianlorenzo Petrini

studio Petrini Architettura

“”A man is looking at the nature that surrounds him from the top of his house, designed and built by himself. He loves the sea and has decided to live in contact with it, on a remote island…far from the rest of the world.”

The building in the image is an exisisting concept by “KA architecture studio”, however by modeling it I decided to modify it slightly, then I decided to place it in a natural context, I imagined a Croatian archipelago.”

Software used: 3ds Max, Corona Renderer, Photoshop

“Sunlight infusion” by Mihhail Jassinover, Mihhail Jassinover, Anton Voloshin and Anton Aleknavitsjus

Yellow Studio (Beatus Plus OÜ)

“We were tempted to play with one of our commercial projects and create this artwork.
Perfect location of the office building with the old town of Tallinn in the background led to a scene when the old and new naturally merged into a beautiful composition.
Full 3D – including the old town – gave a possibility to play with the sun shooting its beams through low, gloomy Nordic sky. Sunlight pervades throughout the old town and office building. Rays cut through windows of the building, turning everything – interiors and glass facade – to gold.”

Software used: 3ds Max, Corona Renderer, Photoshop

“2552 – No way back” by Corentin Chapelle

“I did not know the last time I went on the surface, even thinking about it, makes me sick but I wonder, maybe it’s habitable again…

My dad had those stories of the ancient world, Ah, yes, we used to call him the Earther, the last men from the surface they said, now the stations are our cradles.It’s funny because I remember my dad always having this picture in his pocket, a house surrounded by a beautiful forest, they had real living trees back then, now everything is fake and synthetic. I always though, one day I would go there with him but, the plague and then the heat waves, the firestorms, the everlasting night, the acid rains, the thick pollution…I heard the atmosphere below the clouds is more toxic than the one on Venus, even the germs went extinct. Who’s fault is that, we’re not sure anymore.”

Software used: 3ds Max, SketchUp, Enscape, Photoshop

“Sowing the Seeds of Change” by William Campion

University of Bath

“Here the farmer experiences an existential crisis while purveying the inevitability of an agricultural revolution. Agritecture will bring food factories and vertical farms into reality and disrupt the everyday. This jarring scene exemplifies the current toll on the environment modern agricultural methods cause to create fertile farmland through deforestation and agrochemicals, giving everything we eat large carbon footprints. Instead farmland will eventually be swallowed up by the urban sprawl and redistributed vertically in more efficient architectural machines to create a circular economy; this architectural form of farming is in fact less destructive than the conventional methods. The image is seemingly timeless, it could be 20 years from now or 10 years ago, it forces the viewer to contemplate their own impact on the global food chain and whether vertical farms are preferable to farmland and decide whether the food we all take for granted on supermarket shelves is actually bountiful.”

Software used: V-Ray, SketchUp

“Villain’s Retreat” by Matej Hosek


“Inspired by Porco Rosso’s Hotel Adriano, I wanted to depict a fictional lair where all kinds of things could happen….”

Software used: 3ds Max, Corona Renderer, Photoshop

“Childhood Memory” by Razvan Neagu

University of Architecture and Urbanism Ion Mincu Bucharest

“This image reflects a distant memory of my childhood. I was spending a lot of time in the old wooden attic, searching through old crates, ripped books and playing with the magnifying glass and light. The meaning of this image was to bring to life a memory embeded in my head, and the feelings that comes with it. Despite every architecture visualizations i made, this one image is still my favorite in terms of storytelling, feelings and i think this is the meaning of a CG Image. Bringing thoughts and feelings into something you can visually share.”

Software used: 3ds Max, Corona Renderer

“A Day At the Races” by Vittorio Bonapace

Vittorio Bonapace Studio

“This image has been created before the Covid-19 pandemic and run for the Evermotion Challenge 2019 The Time Of Change.



Not so far from now.

A day at the races to save the planet. A day to breathe again.
Apparently the Earth looks natural and safe. Still a nice place where to live. Apparently.
Pollution and huge climate changes have made air impossible and unhealthy to breathe. Everyone needs a helmet that cleans air. Without this, humans could breathe just a few seconds. Then it comes irreparable damage to the lungs. No way back.

A young champion kid’s race to express a hope to breathe again. To push everyone to stop all this situation and look forward to the future. A hope coming from the young people, those who deserve a better future.

The future is in the human beings.”

Software used: 3ds Max, Corona Renderer, Photoshop

“Fireflies” by Lisa Della Dora

“Late spring 2020, lockdown in Italy is at his peak, people are allowed to go out for a maximum radius of 200 meters from their houses, social distancing is starting to really hit everyday life.

Our house is in the countryside, behind our cracked backyard wall we’re lucky enough to have a beautiful forest, we’re actually kind of used to social distancing, living in the middle of nowhere, but still, this pandemic is giving us a lot of worries.

Then, one evening, I decide to go to breath some fresh air outside, I get to the patio and I stop, Matilde is there, sitting in our garden, surrounded by candle lights. She managed to get some fireflies in a jar and now she’s setting them free, and this just makes everything else fade away, something so pure and simple yet so liberating, I think I just found my hope back.”

Software used: 3ds Max, Corona Renderer, Photoshop

“The Shelter” by Benjamin Springer


“Since my youth, I’ve loved to create virtual worlds.
Now I’m over 30 and this is one of my best (I think) personal creations.
Some of the most important aspects of the project are the approach to the sophisticated photorealism only with cgi 3d elements. Normally I do regular ArchViz projects for real estate investors, but every year I develop my own concept scene to challenge myself and my skills. The biggest inspiration for that are ambient music in combination with works from photographers. I design my own shapes to bring that alive in new digital spaces. The basic idea from the shelter was designed some years before, but I reinvented the idea after I saw photos from Michael Schauer. I was in love and fascinated to combine the magic of his beautiful lake shot in combination of a luxury “shelter-concept” hovering over the water’s surface.”

Software used: Cinema 4D, Corona Renderer

“It is difficult to hear the sound of making coffee when the noise of the garbage truck is carried on the street.” by Filip KuraszJakub Figel


“Project name: E Tower,
Location: New York, W56th Street

Good morning New York!

Early morning scene let us experience city without being distracted by the crowd and cars. The only sound comes from the garbage truck parked nearby. As we approach the building, we can notice that street vendors are already enjoying their second or even third coffee on the spot.

For those who like investigating images there is a hidden postcard from Białystok, Poland. A beautiful mural called “Girl with watering can” by Henryk Borawski which enlivens the sad, naked walls of the surrounding buildings.”

Software used: Corona Renderer

“CONCERT FOR PLANTS” by Ander Alencar


Softwares: 3dsmax | Corona Renderer | Photoshop
Design and Visualization – @anderalencar

My version of the concert for the biocene that happened in Barcelona last month. Following the COVID-19 lockdowns, barcelona’s el liceu opera house has reopened with a concert to an audience of 2,292 potted plants. Based on this I created renderings to show in render of my own theatre design.”

Software used: 3ds Max, Corona Renderer, Photoshop

“Not An Ordinary Day” by Utkan Yonter

Whitespace Architectural Design and Visualisation

“The alarm goes off. Another ordinary day. Shower, breakfast, grab briefcase, and out. As I hurry down to the subway, I think of all the deadlines … my boss’ red face when he realises the major paper he was expecting yesterday is still not finished. I flash my metrocard in front of the machine – it doesn’t work – weird. Put my head up, look at the screen – not working, still weird. But I’m not bothered. Why not? How have I become so oblivious to the world around me? Metro arrives – well, at least that works. I find a seat, surprising! Four stops. Exactly 13 minutes. I leave the station and walk. No cars – strange. Very quiet – again, strange. Arriving in front of my office building, I stop and look up. So, it is not an ordinary day, after all, and I am bothered, now.”

Software used: 3ds Max, Corona Renderer, Photoshop

“The right moment” by Jakub FigelFilip Kurasz

“Project: E-Tower
Location: New York

Depicting architecture is not only about showing the building from afar. It’s about finding the right moment.

Imagine yourself at the place.
Where would you go first?
What will you see?
What emotions will accompany you?

Then take out your smartphone and try to capture that moment. If it’s good you can post it on Architizer.”

Software used: Corona Renderer, Photoshop

“Exploitation of concrete” by Mariam Labib


“This project is an architectural exploration based on the brutalist architecture, A visually heavy and massive block, highlighted by its shadows and reflected by its repetition.
with the usage of geometrical elements and minimal amount of openings.

The importance of using the bridge as a horizontal element to cut the ideal vertical composition of the architectural render, as well as a river, to balance the boldness of the edges, giving the observer a wider zoomed out effect of a stepped and stabilized form. Choosing a black and white wash for the image to observe the rough exploitation of the concrete and observe the monochromatic range of the render.

Please take your time to zoom in.”

Software used: V-Ray, 3ds Max, Photoshop

“Home” by Jirair Maghakian

Project Lab

“A home surrounded by war, a clock marking a ticking bomb, a desk displaying a ceasefire agreement.

Growing up, we are told to believe in peace as a tangible truth and are promised a world that has meaning, yet we find ourselves entrapped in an unfamiliar and uncertain reality.

Irrespective of the atrocities experienced, the family home remains the constant space that validates the narratives and memories of the past; it reminds us of our resilient roots.

The home represents a new, powerful version of ourselves; a version that continues lighting up the Christmas tree inside with the shattered windows and doors. This home will once again unite its family members who will rebuild what has been shattered in hopes of honoring peace and justice.”

Software used: V-Ray, 3ds Max, AutoCAD, Photoshop

“Hope” by Saman Gardy


“Location: Budapest, Hungary

Children resemble hope & future. For a healthy community in future, we need to keep them in a good health. Here, with the help of design, we not only create an atmosphere for them to keep in touch with their friends during lock down, but also maintaining social distancing.
The project portraits a badminton playground in a rectangular shape & corners as sitting spots.
As the courtyard surrounding suggest, it has been built in a classic style manifesting Budapest rich architecture within a small yard.
This way, children have the chance to retain their positive vibes; later on, spreading it out.”

Software used: V-Ray, 3ds Max, Photoshop

“Buried Déjà vu: a Greeting from the Oort Cloud” by Shaokang Li

University College London

“-Time: October 28th, 2220, 02:18 a.m.

-Location: Oort Cloud

-Mission: Activate the memory

As I wake up from a sleep pod, everything surrounding is different from my memory. I am in a strange scene: a giant machine without boundaries; a couple of elevators running straight up; some odd-looking robots are repeating the same movement. There’s a strong strangeness to the material around. I couldn’t tell the true colors of the wall. Everything seemed to be determined by the lightings.
There is a left message in my mind: “Welcome to the space city, my dear friend, the construction was all finished and the scene is still waiting for unlocking. You could discover your memories from the street. Enjoy your life here.”

It is a futuristic control center in outer space in 2220.”

Software used: Rhino, Cinema 4D, Photoshop

“Muruna: The Living City” by Ahmed NoemanJace Marc

American University of Sharjah

“This scene depicts the urban oasis of Muruna, which strives to be a vibrant economic and social hub within the Emirati city of Ajman. The project functions at both a macro and micro scale, exploring various tower typologies that, when assembled together, create an intricate self-sufficient network. Muruna also serves as a revitalised alternative to urban living. Residents are able to enjoy a breath of fresh air high up in the sky, as apartment units look over private recreational spaces. In the distance, apartment blocks form urban canyons, with the city at each tower’s feet. Cranes and shipping containers, operating from underneath, demonstrate the industries that enable Muruna to truly come alive. It is in this interdependence between residence and industry where resilience is achieved. Ultimately, Muruna aims to provide a site-specific response with a crucial emphasis on serving the social, economic, and recreational needs of the city.”

Software used: Rhino, Photoshop, Twin Motion

“A future yet to be constructed” by Moritz Maeder

ETH Zurich

“We find ourselves in the middle of an overwhelming storm blowing around us all the artefacts ideas and concepts accumulated over the past centuries. As it grows stronger and stronger we realise, that the only thing to do is to let go of the concept of holding on to singular theories and ideologies and move to the eye of the storm. From there we start seeing things much clearer. We start seeing connections of and relations of ideologies that once seemed contradicting. Standing in the middle of the storm we watch the concepts and artefacts dance around us, conducting the music they are dancing to.”

Software used: Blender

“When the sun goes down…” by Jakub Figel and Filip Kurasz

“Project: E-Tower
Location: New York

What seems to be a typical skyscraper during the day, reveals a second face when the sun goes down. A hidden facade with round windows is both unique and bold, giving the tower a true sci-fi feeling.

The image captures a moment when the circles start to appear once people get back home. As a true observer, a journalist even I approach the scene from a distance. Watching people passing by, waiting for their bus or heading to their favorite street vendor is peaceful. At one point, I noticed a building reflection in one of the puddles and I knew I have a perfect shot.”

Software used: Corona Renderer, Photoshop

Next 25 Renderings →

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