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  • Fernada Perry

Is it a Photo or a Render?

It is becoming increasingly difficult to recognize whether an image of an architectural project is virtual or is a photo. The technology advances by leaps and bounds in the photography sector as well as in the BIM (Building Information Modeling), resulting in impeccable images in both cases: light, textures, angles and perspectives are wonderful and often reflect spaces that are more spectacular than even reality. The difference is that the photos are real, while a render is an interpretation of something that will be.

We recommend this paper where the author makes an interesting analysis on how architecture is being affected by the way the world moves today around the rapid and shallow reading of Internet and social networks, making information sometimes deviates the essence of it:

"Rendering vs. Reality"

- Project: Mark’s House, Flint Michigan, 2013

- Architects: Two Islands

The comparison of these two images is unfavorable for the project. Both the render is presenting a "hyper-reality", as the photo does not have the best quality and does not honor the construction. Better photos can be seen on the architects webpage:

But the purpose of this text is not at any time to attack or question the indisputable advantages of technology and programs such as REVIT Autodesk, among other tools that are now used in architecture to help architects, customers and contractors involved, to better understand each project from the beginning of the design process, to throughout the execution and completion.

The most renowned architecture offices are using these tools and have incorporated them into their processes obtaining excellent results. For example, the important Dutch Architecture firm MVRDV has within its design philosophy the commitment to use REVIT as "BIM thus becomes a design tool that simulates, automatically updates and manages the spatial consequences of the desires of the individual parties involved in a design process, confronting them with one another in way previously impossible.."(Source:


Architects: MVRDV

Another Example:

Project: 181 Mercer, New York

Architects: Kieran Timberlake

Image: Studio AMD

It is also possible with the current tools, to make virtual tours within the projects:

In Horacio Perry Arquitectos we value pencil and paper design very much, but we are also aware of the importance of keeping up to date and using the tools of technology. However we believe that it is important to maintain the balance between the two processes. Nowadays architecture can not stay in the basic sketch made by hand and ignore the efficiencies and aids that technology allows, however we should not fall into the trap of images that show a distorted reality and far from achievable in life real.

Project: Fedepalma Offices Contest

Architects: Horacio Perry Arquitectos

Image: Acuamotion

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