Let’s Face It – Architectural Drawings Can be Confusing.

Plans, Sections, Elevations: the traditional drawings used by architects to describe their designs, can obscure design ideas rather than illuminate them. Unless you’ve spent lots of time reviewing blueprints, you may find it difficult to understand the drawings well enough to have an active partnership with your architect. But – there is a solution; there is a way to become a full collaborator in the design of your home: 3-Dimensional Renderings. At 2e Architects we offer them free to all of our clients.

What’s Great About 3D Renderings?


3D Front Elevation Rendering
Michelle and Greg’s Whole House Remodel


3D Front Elevation Rendering
Jonathan and Valerie’s Whole House Remodel

In the early stages of your project, the 3D model is utilized to make 3D renderings to help you visualize your dream … because if you can’t see in your mind’s eye what you’re going to build, all the permits and plans in the world are useless.

There are three pleasant results: First, you will see a three-dimensional image of the renovation and/or addition, which most people find far simpler to work with than plans, sections and elevations. Second, I won’t spend time and you won’t spend money on stand-alone renderings. The best part of this process is that pretty soon most clients soon become quite confident as a collaborator in the design process.

Third, I have found that the 3D images quickly lead to meaningful conversations on design options. Rather than discussing style (which, while important, the 3D image makes obvious), we talk about rhythm, proportion, light and shadow, the use of sunlight as a design element, and the specific views from each window. In this way, you truly collaborate throughout the design process and will see your home before it is ever built.

How Can You Offer Unlimited 3D drawings of My House?

Traditionally 3D renderings have cost hundreds of dollars each, and many architects continue to charge this way today. At 2e Architects, they’re free. Period. There has to be a catch, you say–it can’t be this simple. Well, there used to be a catch–cost–but that has changed.

How is this possible? Instead of spending hours drawing up plans, then sections and then elevations, 2e Architects uses a computer program called ArchiCAD to create a 3D model of your project. Simply put, instead of creating each drawing individually, every drawing is one view or another of the 3D computer model. We can make changes instantly and show the effects without long delays in reviews.

How Do You Make 3D Drawings of My House Project

At 2e Architects, every project for every client considering new construction or a whole house remodel and renovation begins with a photograph of the house as it is. For a point of reference, I normally keep some element (like a chimney) constant. This acts as a visual anchor, and will help you imagine how your revised home might look. It also aids us in the discuss of other possibilities. For example, what if this window became a door?

Three or four exterior views are typical for a large renovation or addition, more for new homes. Once you settle on an exterior design, we will continue the process on the inside of your home with more 3D renderings. Once the entire house is assembled in our software program, we then have the 3D view which allows our clients and contractors to fully understand the home design and within the program we also have all the elements necessary to obtain building permits and create construction blueprints. We just simply have to “flatten” the 3D view for traditional views of plans, elevations, and sections. The plan view is simply a horizontal slice of the 3D model which reveals the walls, furniture placements, and window and door locations. The exterior elevations are a side view of that very same 3D model. The sections are the vertical slices.

See 3D in action

This video shows the accuracy with which we were able to design Craig and Judy’s Net Zero Home from concept through to build. We walk through before to after and show how useful 3D renderings were in getting the design to be just what these homeowners wanted.

As innovators in the space of 3D renderings and for offering unlimited versions of the drawings to our clients, we were featured in this Editor’s Note from the April 2013 issue of Chesapeake Home + Living.

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