Submitted by Palak Shah

10 Worthwhile Architectural Tutorials To Savvy For Optimizing Your Next Virtual Review

United States Architecture News - Jan 18, 2021 - 09:53   6422 views

10 Worthwhile Architectural Tutorials To Savvy For Optimizing Your Next Virtual Review

The transition from the in-person interactions to the remote means of communications have been particularly challenging for everyone during a global pandemic, especially for students that hail from creative disciplines and architectural backgrounds. While adapting to the latest digital whiteboards and tools seems convenient it can be particularly tricky to present during final reviews and juries, when much of the feedback and discussion is dependent on the comprehensive and cohesive nature of one’s presentation.

Though digital reviews may be less time consuming as they cut back on lengthy plotting hours and reprinting trips, it can indeed be vice versa in reality; virtual reviews demand a high level of legibility and precision with regards to drawings, as in this case, the audience is in extreme proximity to the "presentation screen" allowing greater flexibility to review the work in detail. Thus, to make the best use of time amidst an intensive charrette, one must adopt an efficient workflow that not only enhances the presentation boards but also justifies the creative concepts of the proposed project.

Commenting on the role of Architectural Visualization during the recent shift in the Era of Virtual reviews. Oliver Uszkurat, founder and visualization artist behind the noted platform Learn Upstairs, responds: "Partially yes. I'd say we still need to present projects in a visually pleasing and convincing way. But the medium has changed and we need to address that when the representation/visualization part comes. Before, we delivered drawings and images on boards, which often had default paper measurements and real-life board dimensions, which restained us in some way. Now in virtual reviews, we're talking about representing using only pixels. And that gives us almost endless sizes, and the possibility to zoom-in and enlarge drawings to better present ideas and designs."

With limited time at hand to present the nuances and entire breadth of the final project, it is crucial to optimize and focus on the quality rather than the quantity. "Less is more" but at the same time "Too little" and your audience and reviewers will be lost amongst the inadequacy of clear drawings and quickly changing slides. 

PS: Do you believe Less is More?, Do all presentation boards require plans, sections, and elevations, etc? Or is it possible to optimize Visualization and explain concepts better?  

Oliver answers, “Totally! Each type of project demands certain drawing types. For example, in some cases, a ground-level house won't benefit that much from a section as a multi-story building would in a presentation. And that goes for all drawings, diagrams, camera angles, and so on. There's no recipe for this, you have to really understand what you're designing to see how each drawing/image will affect your project's presentation.

Now, I think that thought applies also to the board/page composition. There's no need to fill the board or portfolio page with many drawings. Be concise about the information you display and don't repeat drawings just for the sake of using different drawing types.”

Preparing for the final review is much like visual storytelling and the organized structure leading to the premise is of primary importance. To help you survive the end-semester struggles, here are 10 tutorials by Show It Better and Learn Upstairs, which are a unique representation of the conventional deliverables. Not only are they time-saving, but are also a great set of tricks to have up to one’s sleeves. The focus of these tutorials is on an efficient workflow at the same time reserving potential for adaptation to one's own individual needs and project requirements. Below are Ten worthwhile picks, classified into a presentation structure that can direct your next virtual review in a good direction. 

The Hook

In literature writing, a hook is an opening statement that captivates the attention of your audience and draws them into staying gripped throughout the longevity of the entire read. In the case of presenting a prospective design proposal, this can be an observational fact, existing site context, research that motivated one as an Architect into the deeper investigations. While designers spend many late nights understanding the site conditions; it becomes crucial to summarize this visually and briefly through appropriate architectural drawings. This abets professionals and reviewers to discern what is happening in the existing spatial context much easily. While technical drawings like site plan and site analysis do the Job, simple three-dimensional illustrations can cover a wider extent of background that the audience needs to comprehend before your followed proposal. Below, Show It Better creates a stimulating three-dimensional illustration, that offers an extensive glimpse into the site context and surrounding. 

Video courtesy of Show it Better

The Transition:

Between the hook and the thesis, the transition, is a crucial link that introduces an architect's individual and unique stance into the picture. This can be a great opportunity to explain how the project prompt has been read from a personal point of view and that justifies the succeeding thesis. While Ideas, often expressed through conceptual sketches work well, they can also be combined into an interesting Photomontage or Collages to better represent all dimensions of a designer's complex thought process. Here, Show It Better briefly and efficiently illustrates how.  

Video courtesy of Show it Better

The Thesis: 

At the heart of the presentation, situates the thesis summarizing the gist of the intent and idea; it is the premise that defines the path to be pursued and maintained by the proposal. The thesis ultimately is the outcome of the quintessential WHY, thus binding the creative process of architectural problem-solving. While Parti Diagrams are great tools for encapsulating the outline of one's manifesto. It is ultimately the process of concept evolution that drives the review. Popularly known as Process diagrams, they come in extremely handy to elucidate the journey of concept, form, and spatial evolution. Architecture is indeed an iterative process of trial and error and these simple and lucid sequence diagrams by Learn Upstairs below demonstrate it wonderfully. 

Video courtesy of Learn Upstairs

The Body

Similar to the structural concepts of writing essays, the ‘Body’ supports the main arguments and intent of the project. These encompass the crucial components that provide a backbone and structure for the Thesis to stand on. The Plans, Sections, Elevations, and other technical drawings fall into this category. The reviewers and audience largely rely on the ‘Body’, to understand the nuances of the design and audit the extent to which the Thesis statement made by the designer is justified. While these drawings are extremely important, they are demanding in terms of time and often become redundant. Here are some upskill examples by Learn Upstairs on ways to optimize various technical drawings that not only abridge the thesis but also beautifully encapsulate the essence of one's argument. 

Massing+ Programming+ Strategy

Video courtesy of Learn Upstairs

Plan + Section

Video courtesy of Learn Upstairs

Plan + Elevational Axonometric Model

Video courtesy of Learn Upstairs

Attention to Detail:

Now that these Workflow Techniques save you some much required time during an intense charrette, it is important to stand out by spending some quality time reflecting on pivotal nuances and details that enable you to focus on key features of your presentation.

Pick a Style

Video courtesy of Learn Upstairs

Create your own Color Palette

Video courtesy of Show it Better

Focus on Realistic Lighting

Video courtesy of Learn Upstairs

Conclusion/Landing Slide:

One of the most commonly made mistakes during final reviews is not including a Concluding - Landing Slide in your presentation. Landing Slides are pausing slides, which are used to conclude your presentation at the same time giving an opportunity to your reviewers and audience to have a discussion and offer constructive feedback. Landing slides should not just be a blank slide but should entail a clear and comprehensive drawing that is the epitome of your whole project. In other words the "Money Shot" of your proposal. An Instance of a dynamic drawing by Show It Better outlines how to create an animated exploded axonometric view.  

Video courtesy of Show It Better

Check out some additional great recommendations by Steven Rubio, Founder and creator of the popular platform Show It Better for enhancing your Miro or Presentation boards

While aiming for low bearing fruits will not get you the desired results. Working efficiently on the right drawings and skills shall definately elevate your latent visualization abilities to conduct a fluent virtual presentation and get the deserved recognition.

Cover Image: Learn Upstairs. Image © Oliver Uszkurat