Before a building is built, one of the greatest challenges for designers is to convince clients of the more intangible qualities of architecture — qualities pertaining to atmosphere, feelings of comfort (or discomfort) and sometimes even more intense feelings. The incredible ability for imagery to send a shiver down one’s spine translates into very real feelings of wonder and awe in built projects — but just how do you stir emotions with a single visualization?
The following projects were finalists in the unbuilt categories for the 2017 A+Awards, thanks in large part to their visceral power. Spanning many typologies and vastly different geographies, these renderings are united by their ability to conjure strong, even overwhelming, feelings in a myriad of ways. Get ready to have your emotions piqued by some of the best architects and visualizers in the world today:
Does the image above depict loneliness, or does it conjure up more positive feelings of serenity, calmness, maybe even joy? Whatever feeling arises within you when viewing DL Atelier’s stunning conceptual project Moon Stage, one thing is for sure: This visualization is full to the brim with moving qualities beyond the built environment it portrays. Another layer of intrigue is provided by the instrument held by the young boy at the center of the frame — one can only imagine what he is playing on his violin, and the mood of the rendering could alter dramatically depending on which song you hear as you view it.
Like Moon Stage, WOJR’s rendering for Mask House may stir a mixture of emotions depending on personal perception. While the residence itself is designed as a place of refuge and contemplation, the visualization of the house’s entrance elevation possesses a mood of disquiet, its razor-sharp façade of dark timber emitting a faintly foreboding quality. This striking exterior contrasts with feelings of comfort generated by the home’s warm interior, thus illustrating the power of material choices to profoundly affect an inhabitant’s mood.
In Messana O’Rorke’s beautiful rendering for Lake House, the key to its calmness lies in the foreground. The still water abutting this striking Modernist retreat appears to be an unassuming element of the visualization at first glance, but it radically alters our perception of the overall design. Its placid nature inspires feelings of relaxation that are reinforced by the warm illumination reflected in its surface, encouraging us to imagine ourselves tucked away inside this pristine abode on the lake’s edge.
With their elegant rendering of Iskcon Temple, Sanjay Puri Architects proved that it is possible to create an awe-inspiring architectural image without resorting to visual “fireworks.” Instead, the firm utilized familiar architectural tools to create an iconic vision that remains in the memory of viewers. The monumental scale, perfect symmetry and homogenous materiality of the tower evokes images of the Taj Mahal and the Lotus Temple — also located in India — drawing the eye and provoking a sense of awe within all who view it.
Similar to awe, feelings of wonder can be brought about through images of inspiring architecture — particularly in conjunction within a breathtaking natural environment. Beyond this, though, wonder pertains to an added sense of mystery and curiosity, qualities encapsulated by Methanoia’s enchanting visualization for The Forest, a stunning hotel and spa in Pinamar, Argentina. The viewer intuitively places themselves in the shoes of the lone figure within the cantilevered structure, imagining the light-dappled beauty of the unseen vista she is gazing out at.