In the case of the new 172m high Central Bank of Iraq, the futuristic setting devised by creative studio Arqui9 only increases the drama of its curving form
The brief for this visualisation came as part of a series of studies to showcase the engineering side of the buildings featured; emphasising the client Newtecnic’s ingenuity for constructing the future.
In addition to the typical focus on the structure, renders feature futuristic construction systems, robotic materials delivery and holographic blueprints — highlighting potential upgrades that the building could embrace in the future thanks to Newtecnic’s engineering.
“Each portrait represents a particular phase of construction in the retrofit process,” says Arqui9 creative director Pedro Fernandes.
“Along with Newtecnic, we thought long and hard on how we could integrate various types of technological advances into each image, making sure we kept with the integrity and language of the project.”
In the visualisation, elements like the hybrid solar voltaic facade panels are enhanced more than they would be in other renders, as well as revealing the constructive systems below.
Fernandes says that it was important for Arqui9 to consider that buildings — such as the CBI, which has a delivery date of 2021 — have a huge lifespan and will need to adapt to the environment and times throughout in order to remain relevant and sustainable.
“We imagined a world where most of the works would be automated and symbiotic, where engineering takes a step forward to aid humanity and its inherent need for advancement.
“Focusing on the importance of good engineering for a sustainable future of the landmark building.”
Following initial storyboarding of ideas and scene concepts, the model data was initially provided to Arqui9 as a Rhino model from Newtecnic, which was then exported into FBX format and into Autodesk 3ds Max.
The studio, based in London, then began to add 3D elements, compose the scene and add the humans and objects that inhabit the render.
“Excluding the building we had no context to go off and had to reinvent the future of the place and the surrounding buildings and context machinery, which also proved to be quite tricky at times,” recalls Fernandes.
Aided by the realtime rendering in Corona Renderer, Fernandes’ team was able to develop and iterate several quick mood concept designs.
“We explore the scene and find a composition that fits best with our idea,” he says. “Many times, formulating a quick sketch on these in order to quickly develop and compose a few key shots.”
From these, a pair of images might move through to the next stage, with client approval, to the adding of textures and other refinements of the 3D model.
The next stage takes place in Adobe Photoshop, in order to add additional atmosphere and mood. “This is where we like to say ‘the magic happens’!” laughs Fernandes.
“We commence with a raw render straight out of 3ds Max, compositing various render passes, including reflections passes, ambient occlusion passes and Z-depth pass.
“We complement these with a lot of digital painting, of clouds, haze and atmosphere as well as using additional images from our photo reservoir, like sun and sky, as well as overlays.”
The goal of focusing on futuristic technical elements created some challenges for the team — namely imagining how the world would look and how construction work would be carried out in the near future.
Arqui9’s creative director concludes that from the very beginning they knew they were working with future thought provocateurs in Newtecnic.
“[They] wanted to push and test the boundaries of what engineering and architecture represented for humanity and its potential forthcoming technological advances.”
Expertly, Arqui9 matched this with images that encapsulate a gritty and atmospheric future that is perfectly believable.
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