One Rendering Challenge 2021: Competition Winners Announced!

The winning architectural renderings range from evocative, everyday spaces to dramatic, otherworldly environments.

Paul Keskeys Paul Keskeys

The best architectural renderings of the year are here. Architizer is delighted to announce the winners of the 2nd Annual One Rendering Challenge! After carefully considering a stunning shortlist of 100 architectural renderings and reading their stories, our esteemed jury have selected 2 top winners — one non-student and one student entry — along with 10 striking runners-up. The 2 Top Winners each receive a grand prize of $2,500, along with pro rendering software from Chaos Group.

The winner in the student category is “Hanging by a Thread” by Jeremias Dabbah, Sofia Di Tomaso and Camila Crudo, students at the University of Buenos Aires. “‘Hanging by a Thread’ successfully uses imagery to convey a non-visual state that lends itself to multiple meanings,” said juror Mengyi Fan, Director of Visualization at SHoP Architects. “It works well to not only creatively reimagine life in a specific location, but also allows that microcosm to relate to modern society as a whole. The composition of the image, from the perspective used to the slight fish-eye of the lens, emphasizes the disarray of the image, the society, and its inhabitants. It is an image that reveals more the longer you look, and I sincerely applaud the beautiful work and the thought put into it.”

The winner in the non-student category is “Sun Hit” by Francisco Tirado, architect and visual artist at Cobe Architects. “‘Sun hit’ stood out thanks to its next level of natural light and color manipulation, making the architectural structure a strong focal point,” said juror Duy Phan, visual artist at Binyan Studios. “Besides that, it celebrates that moment of rare beauty in the early evening, when a few last sun rays of the day pouring across the façade. Compositionally, by choosing a narrow lens to capture the image, the author strengthens a comparison between the unique design and its context.”

Without further ado, see these images and 10 superb commended entries below, each of which tell powerful stories about architecture and society in 2021.

Student Winner: “Hanging by a Thread” by Jeremias Dabbah, Sofia Di Tomaso and Camila Crudo

Universidad de Buenos Aires

“Over the years, population density has been affected by great growth, thus generating constant urban changes, from changes in the perception of housing to the way in which the means of transportation are affected. These aspects make up a system that tries to balance the density to optimize the operation of the city.

Our image intends to portray the variety of situations that affect people living in Villa 31, one of the most famous slums in the city of Buenos Aires. While attempting to understand their stories and invites us to expose into this deteriorated reality. People of limited resources and numerous families live here extremely crowded, in deteriorated conditions and spend every day finding ways to adapt and survive.

Unrestrained density attempts to bear its own weight, beating gravity itself. However, it seems to expand endlessly. Those tired cables will not withstand the burden of time.”

Software used: SketchUp, Rhino, Lumion, Photoshop

Non-Student Winner: “Sun hit” by Francisco Tirado

Cobe Architects

“I always got amazed by the summer long evenings in the north, where the sun barely goes off on the longest days of the year, and right there, when the sun is touching the horizon line, if you look around you can see incredible reflections and redish tones everywhere. Is a magic moment that last very short, but it generates so beautiful colours and shadows. I wanted to capture this lighing on a scene, and then I modeled this skyscrapper and stadium complex basically for this image, is a complete comcept design that I generated to make it work as best as I could on this image, and of course later I have been using it for learning purposes, and generated more visuals of it.”

Software used: V-Ray, 3ds Max

Commended Entry: “TREES” by Norviska Studio


“This project is envisioned in the Japanese countryside, during the autumn season. The building is owned by a multinational NGO and it is the home of a “doomsday seed bank”, where the information for almost all the trees, plants and flowers in the world is storaged.
Visitors must follow a strict protocol to enter, since the vault is maintained at a low temperature. The curves in the architectural design help the wind control the temperature and function for months with no electricity.”

Software used: 3ds Max, Photoshop

“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

Commended Entry: “Early Departure” by Hism

“It was 6:00 a.m. A cold and gloomy November morning. That day I got to the train station earlier than usual. I was struck by this place being practically deserted.”

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

Commended Entry: “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 façade – to gold.”

Software used: 3ds Max, Corona Renderer, Photoshop

Commended Entry: “Geysir” by Andrea Cogo


tamed nature
wet steel
fish scales
in the mist

boiling water
is their prey

they appear
in the distance
as the wilderness
fades away

Many atavic places on earth are subject to humanization and exploitation. The loss of wildlands damages biodiversity and can accelerate cimate change. Not only we need to preserve the health of our mother earth for future generations, it is also our responsibilty to preserve her beauty. Our childrens have the right to experience the same sense of awe that has inspired generations of artists since the dawn of time.

*The Great Geysir in southwestern Iceland has been active for approximately 10,000 years”

Software used: 3ds Max, Corona Renderer, Photoshop

Commended Entry: “Preparing for New Year” by Roman Huzar

Binyan Studios

“This year was a hard one for all, and taught us a lot. Many people lost their jobs, someone lost loved ones, others had to close their business and others were luckier, and adapted to today’s realities. All this leads to the restructuring of the world economic order and the world as a whole.

But as long as the world moves, builds and adapts to new conditions – traditions remain the same.

Inspired by Mark Fearnley Photography

Full CGI image”

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

Commended Entry: “Undertow” by Nicolas Dagna

“This grand theater located in Yiwu China, is composed by these delicate glass panels that resemble of sails. When illuminated at night they work as a glowing structure that becomes an icon across the city. My approach to capture this was to use a very still and calm setup that allows these sails to shine in contrast with the darkness that surrounds them. A dark and moody park frames the iconic architecture in a peaceful and honest way. Human scale is portrayed in a delicate way against the magnitude of the architecture. Silence is the main trigger for this image.”

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

Commended Entry: “Fantasy” by Elizaveta Ivanova


“Into the Unknown.

The fantasy image of architecture is designed to arouse feelings of mystery and hope.

We don’t know who this traveler is, where he comes from. And what dangers he has been able to overcome. But we believe that his path will succeed.”

Software used: 3ds Max, Corona Renderer, Photoshop

Commended Entry: “Closing Hour” by Mick Charoenphan


“The late night drive. The midnight express train. The lonely walk home. Telltale signs of an impending deadline.

All for it to repeat the next day.

The local convenient store, an urban oasis. The cool electric glow beckons the night child. A fleeting moment of bliss can be his for $1.99

“Closing Hour” celebrates the everyday spaces of the fastly consumed metropolis and the momentary pauses they bring.”

Software used: Rhino, Cinema 4D, Photoshop, Other

Commended Entry: “The House of Rising Sun” by Bogdan Begmat

CUUB studio

“Our idea was to create an interactive composition with architecture being a plastic system interacting with other systems (including humans). This poured concrete, almost-monolithic architectural structure communicates with human through its form, appearance and reflected light. Despite the brutalist style, known as unwelcoming and inhuman, in this composition human is a part and logical continuity of the architecture.

Muted materials, minimalistic form and massive brutal appearance highlight the emotional power of space. Rough, unfinished surfaces inside the structure contrast with the mirror-like water surface. Calm nature landscape of a sunset accompanies the round-shaped building and creates peaceful and silence atmosphere.”

Software used: 3ds Max, Corona Renderer, Photoshop

Revealed last month, the top 100 renderings were published in our special editorial feature, entitled “100 Renderings That Tell Powerful Stories about Architecture”. There will also be further features on the winners in the coming weeks.

Thank you to all participants for their hard work in creating these amazing renderings, each telling a fascinating story about architecture and our world today. Our next challenge, the 2nd Annual One Photo Challenge, is one of architecture’s biggest architectural photography competitions, and it launches on February 15th — sign up now to receive key updates and prepare your submission:

Register for the One Photo Challenge

Paul Keskeys Author: Paul Keskeys
Paul Keskeys is Editor in Chief at Architizer. An architect-trained editor, writer and content creator, Paul graduated from UCL and the University of Edinburgh, gaining an MArch in Architectural Design with distinction. Paul has spoken about the art of architecture and storytelling at many national industry events, including AIANY, NeoCon, KBIS, the Future NOW Symposium, the Young Architect Conference and NYCxDesign. As well as hundreds of editorial publications on Architizer, Paul has also had features published in Architectural Digest, PIN—UP Magazine, Archinect, Aesthetica Magazine and PUBLIC Journal.
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