|Jeff Schommer, CharretteCenter|
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Computer Modeling can take many forms, which can be understood as a layering of complexity. The first layer is a conceptual one, like that shown in the image above. Computer modeling can provide a preliminary visual representation of the design area. Existing and proposed buildings in basic, typological forms are placed on a simple pattern of blocks in a virtual environment, revealing a basic but informative 3-D simulation of the design. Navigating through the model is very helpful at the earliest, most conceptual stages of a project when details of building design are less important. This conceptual model is very helpful in communicating the relative sizes of the vision’s attributes without cluttering up the vision with design elements so that stakeholders can focus on the form of buildings and public space. Computer modeling can also supplement traditional rendering by creating not-so-detailed perspectives that are easy to change, efficiently generating accurate “underlays” for more detailed sketching.
The next layer is often a green layer, which includes vegetation in the form of very basic trees. Trees will help differentiate between the vehicular street and pedestrian areas and will soften the hard edges of the conceptual design.
The third layer would add those design elements left off of the conceptual model, such as awnings, balconies lighting and signage. These design enhancements can move the stakeholders toward acceptance of the vision by making the model look more realistic.
Good urbanism and architecture is hard to fully understand in just two dimensions. After the basic design is decided, modeling the project can help communicate the vision to investors or stakeholders – helping them to ‘get it’. This becomes critical in projects that require political and financial support.