15 successful architectural offices that create non realistic drawings

15 successful architectural offices that create non realistic drawings

By Igor Grushko, Studio Alternativi

We’ve carefully picked 15 successful architectural offices that create non realistic drawings to visualize their projects to be realized in the future.

Some of the practices tend to use digital collage, some digital hand drawing on an Wacom tablet or an iPad, others are creating renderings that try to deliver and communicate the atmosphere of the project and its’ sense of place by creating rendered, but surreal reality.

You might ask why and what this is good for.
There is no one simple answer, but we will try to share several thoughts:

A. Efficiency - Realistic or Hyper Realistic drawings are big time consumers, they may take a lot of time to set up, require deep knowledge (that isn’t too easy to obtain) and probably will spend your money, if outsourced.

Post-Digital Drawing on the other hand, doesn’t require deep composition understanding and usually is much quicker than the realistic one.

The more easy approach leaves a room to trial and error and changes are made without punishing yourself with extra sleepless nights.

B. Artistic Vs. Commercial Approach - In our humble opinion, the purpose of a drawing or a visualization is communicating yourself or the client the quality of the future space, which is reachable with simple volume relations, light and shadow game, general details. In most cases there is no need for more.

Realistic renderings on the other hand are oriented more to those (outside the discipline) that are lacking three dimensional vision skills, causing the client to ask exactly for what they’ve seen on the detailed images.
It may be easier to convince the client with the suggested proposal and make him/ her buy the apartment shown in the beautiful picture, but it may cause a lack of flexibility on the stage of realization also.

C. The Feeling - Regular drawings show the reality that is known for most of us, like a photograph of a place or a real space that doesn’t exist yet.
That leaves very little room for imagination and viewers' own interpretation.

Non-Realistic Drawings in contrast help the viewer activate his/ her intuition, imagination, associations from the past. Which makes the viewer not only think, but also feel. It’s like looking at a black/ white photo instead of a colorful one and completing the missing details in your mind. Saying it in simple words - Non-Realistic Drawings are heartwarming in many cases.

So, Let’s get straight to the offices and their beautiful work examples:

1.
Office Name: OFFICE Kersten Geers David Van Severen
Website: http://officekgdvs.com/
Instagram: https://instagram.com/officekgvds/
Location in the world: Brussels, Belgium 
Technique: Digital collage

Some info about the practice taken from the description made by the architects themselves:

OFFICE Kersten Geers David Van Severen was founded in 2002 by Kersten Geers and David Van Severen. OFFICE is renowned for its idiosyncratic architecture, in which realisations and theoretical projects stand side by side. The projects are direct, spatial and firmly rooted in architectural theory. The firm reduces architecture to its very essence and most original form: a limited set of basic geometric rules is used to create a framework within which life unfolds out in all its complexity.

Since its establishment OFFICE Kersten Geers David Van Severen has earned a reputation as one of Belgium’s most successful and renowned practices, and one of the world’s truly original voices in present-day architecture. OFFICE engages in all architectural and urbanist design, creating projects of all scales ranging from furniture to master planning in Belgium as well as internationally. This practice is combined with academic research and teaching. These two aspects of OFFICE’s work are explicitly each other’s mirror, creating unexpected parallels between academic and practical work.

Offices Kortrijk, 2014


Library Sint-Martens-Latem, 2017

Les Halles Généreuses, 2018

2.
Office Name: fala atelier 
Website: https://falaatelier.com/
Instagram: https://instagram.com/fala.atelier/
Location in the world: Porto, Portugal
Technique: Digital collage

Some info about the practice taken from the description made by the architects themselves:

Fala is a naïve architecture practice.

Six houses and a garden, 2019


Building with three apartments, 2015


Family house renovation in Porto

3.
Office Name: Point Supreme Architects
Website: http://pointsupreme.com/
Instagram: https://instagram.com/pointsupreme/
Location in the world: Athens, Greece 
Technique: Digital collage

Some info about the practice taken from the description made by the architects themselves:

Point Supreme Architects was founded in Rotterdam in 2008 by Konstantinos Pantazis and Marianna Rentzou and is now based in Athens. Their work integrates research, architecture, urbanism, landscape and urban design.

Faliro Pier, 2012

Sigrou Avenue, 2012

Theater Square, 2010

4.
Office Name: K O S M O S Architects
Website: https://k-s-m-s.com/
Instagram: https://instagram.com/kosmos_architects/
Location in the world: Virtual collaboration of partners based in Basel, Moscow, Bangkok and New York
Technique: Digital drawing

Some info about the practice taken from the description made by the architects themselves:

K O S M O S Architects is an office collaborating virtually, bringing together partners based in Basel, Moscow, Bangkok and New York. K O S M O S designs projects and environments of all types and scales: from a door handle to a city; from hardcore architecture to pop-up art installations. The office combines art and technology, global experience with respect to local context, European professionalism and Russian drive.

The Tower Of Labyrinth, 2014


Botanical garden in the underground river, 2017


EMA, Factory of Electrical Medical Apparates, 2015

5.
Office Name: Architectural bureau CHVOYA
Website: http://chvoya.com
Instagram: https://instagram.com/chvoya/
Location in the world: Saint-Petersburg, Russia
Technique: Digital rendering, digital collage, vector collage, hand drawing

Some info about the practise taken from the description made by the architects themselves:

Architectural bureau "CHVOYA" is a small studio for good architectural design.
Founded in 2009 by three graduates of Saint-Petersburg State Academic Institute for Sculpture, Painting and Architecture, as an elaboration of QUIETTIME paper architecture project (http://quiet-time.ru/).

Santechpribor factory renovation, 2019

Garage Screen summer pavilion, 2018

Linear ice rink, 2015

Cradle house, 2015

6.
Office Name: Dogma
Website: http://dogma.name/
Instagram: N/A
Location in the world: Brussels, Belgium
Technique: Digital collage, vector collage 

Some info about the practice taken from the description made by the architects themselves:

Dogma was founded in 2002 by Pier Vittorio Aureli and Martino Tattara. From the beginning of its activities, Dogma has worked on the relationship between architecture and the city by focusing mostly on urban design and large-scale projects. Dogma is active in offering consultancies to municipalities and agencies concerned with urban planning and architectural issues. Parallel to the design projects, the members of Dogma have intensely engaged with teaching, writing, and research, activities that have been an integral part of the office’s engagement with architecture. In the last few years, Dogma has been working on a research by design trajectory that focuses on domestic space and its potential for transformation. This work, made of studies and projects, has been exhibited at different venues among which the Tallinn Architecture Biennale (2014), the HKW Berlin (2015), the Biennale di Venezia (2016), the Chicago Architectural Biennial (2017), and the London Design Museum (2018). In 2006, Dogma won the 1st Iakov Chernikhov Prize for the best emerging architectural practice.

Cooperative housing in London, 2017

Housing for Community Land Trust in Brussels, 2019


Project for a mid-rise housing block in Russia, 2018

Zeus Invited Competition, 2014

Zeus Invited Competition, 2014

7.
Office Name: Nowadays
Website: https://nowadaysoffice.com/
Instagram: https://instagram.com/nowadaysoffice/
Location in the world: Moscow, Russia
Technique: Digital rendering, digital collage


Some info about the practice taken from the description made by the architects themselves:
Nowadays office was founded in Moscow, 2013. Since the founding of the firm, Nowadays' team has been working on a wide array of projects, ranging from public spaces, urban planning, parks and landscaping projects, to residential and public buildings as well as private and public interiors.

The Kremlin museum, 2019

The Kremlin museum, 2019


The Kremlin museum, 2019

Voshod, Reconstruction of a mass-produced Soviet cinema Voshod, 2016

Voshod, Reconstruction of a mass-produced Soviet cinema Voshod, 2016


Voshod, Reconstruction of a mass-produced Soviet cinema Voshod, 2016


Voshod, Reconstruction of a mass-produced Soviet cinema Voshod, 2016


Varshava, Reconstruction of a mass-produced Soviet cinema Varshava, 2016

Varshava, Reconstruction of a mass-produced Soviet cinema Varshava, 2016

Varshava, Reconstruction of a mass-produced Soviet cinema Varshava, 2016

Varshava, Reconstruction of a mass-produced Soviet cinema Varshava, 2016

New Jerusalem park, 2017

New Jerusalem park, 2017

8.
Office Name: 51N4E
Website: https://51n4e.com/
Instagram: https://instagram.com/51n4e/
Location in the world: Brussels, Belgium
Technique: Digital collage, physical model collage, hand drawing

Some info about the practice taken from the description made by the architects themselves:

51N4E is rooted in Europe, where comfort slows down change. In the face of a democratic and ecological deficit, transformation happens here in a space that is already occupied by multiple and often parallel realities. In this context, we use design to help overcome opposition and create integrated value and new experiences.

51N4E is a self-steering collective that wants to empower people to be both autonomous and connected. It does so by organizing the supportive processes needed for a collaborative design culture. This collaboration platform combines the internal studios with a growing network of external partners. As such, it mirrors today’s complex reality and produces an ecosystem of knowledge.

Alvéole Saint-Nazaire, 2018

Alvéole Saint-Nazaire, 2018

Velodromo Maspes-Vigorelli, 2013 (in collaboration with Piovenefabi)

Velodromo Maspes-Vigorelli, 2013 (in collaboration with Piovenefabi)

Room in the City, 2016

9.
Office Name: OMMX
Website: http://officemmx.com/
Instagram: https://instagram.com/officemmx/
Location in the world: London, UK 
Technique: Digital rendering, digital collage 

Some info about the practice taken from the description made by the architects themselves:

OMMX build, draw and write about architecture. We believe that architecture gives form to our collective desire to understand and express who we all are. It can construct intimate portraits of different communities, from individuals and families, to companies, landscapes, cities and nations. OMMX is committed to this biographical process, to creating spaces that we can relate to and that help us relate to one another.

We have served a broad mix of private, social and public sector institutions, working on housing, private residences, galleries, offices, public spaces, festivals, exhibitions and shops. Selected clients include the V&A, the Royal Academy of Arts, the Design Museum, English Heritage, the Wellcome Collection, the British Library, Clerkenwell Design Week, Naked House and Marian Goodman Gallery.

This year we have been nominated for the EU Prize for Contemporary Architecture and the Lisbon Triennale Début Award. We have also had recent successes in competitions organised by the American Institute of Architects, the Royal Institute of British Architects, the National Infrastructure Commission and the British Council. We were shortlisted to represent the UK at the Venice Biennale in two of the last three national competitions.

Our work has been published widely and we regularly contribute to architectural critique and discourse at institutions across Europe, recently participating in the Architecture Foundation event Introducing New Housing—“a presentation of the best architects and most progressive developers working in the UK today”—and at the Building Centre panel discussion Rethinking The Way We Live.

An extension to a UNESCO world heritage site (Begijnhof in Bruges)

A Sense of Place, A drawn photoshoot for Delpozo (featured in Tank Magazine Summer 2017 Issue)

A Sense of Place, A drawn photoshoot for Delpozo (featured in Tank Magazine Summer 2017 Issue)

A Sense of Place, A drawn photoshoot for Delpozo (featured in Tank Magazine Summer 2017 Issue)

Housing for St Helena

Housing for St Helena

Housing for St Helena

Norsk Skogfinsk Museum

Artist Live Work, a multi storey warehouse

10.
Office Name: DRDH Architects
Website: http://drdharchitects.co.uk/
Instagram: N/A
Location in the world: London, UK
Technique: Digital rendering, physical model collage, vector collage, digital collage

Some info about the practice taken from the description made by the architects themselves:

DRDH Architects was established in 2000 by Daniel Rosbottom and David Howarth. The work of the practice is characterized by its responsiveness to both physical and cultural contexts and for the quality of detailing and construction, often achieved within stringent time and budget constraints. The practice works across a breadth of scales, contexts and building types, both in the UK and overseas.

The practice situates itself within a wider research context that includes teaching and writing on art, architecture and the city. It has achieved critical recognition both for its built projects and through competition. Its work has been published, exhibited and won awards internationally.

Within its central London studio, the practice has expertise in, and access to, a wide range of physical and digital techniques for design development and representation, from physical model making and photography through to computer visualization and Building Information Modeling (BIM).

Opera Ballet Vlaanderen, design period: 2019-2018

Centre for Studies of the Holocaust and Religious Minorities, 2017

KVOSIN Hotel, 2012

Arnhem Museum, 2016

Helsinki Central Library, 2012

11.
Office Name: Raphael Zuber 

Website: http://raphaelzuber.com/
Instagram: N/A
Location in the world: Chur, Switzerland
Technique: Digital rendering

Some info about the practice taken from the description made by the architects themselves:

Raphael Zuber studied architecture at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich (ETHZ) and directly after opened his own office.

His first building is the Schoolhouse Grono. In 2016 he completed his second one, the Apartment building in Domat/Ems.

Among his important projects are the Ethnographic museum Neuchâtel, the University campus SUPSI in Mendrisio and the Funeral Chapel in Steinhausen.

Raphael Zuber has taught at several architecture schools including the

Accademia di Architettura di Mendrisio, the Oslo School of Architecture and Design, the EPF Lausanne and the ETH Zurich.

House at the Black Sea, 2018-2021, with Laura Cristea. Rendering: Office Raphael Zuber

Weekendhouse on the Isle of Harris, Scotland, 2014. Rendering: Office Raphael Zuber

University Campus SUPSI, Mendrisio, 2012. Rendering: Office Raphael Zuber

12.
Office Name: Other Architects
Website: http://otherarchitects.com/
Instagram: N/A
Location in the world: Sydney, Australia
Technique: Digital collage

Some info about the practice taken from the description made by the architects themselves:

Other Architects actively seek out ‘other’ approaches beyond conventional wisdom, popular opinion and architectural trends. Established in 2012, our office was recently awarded the 2018 INDE ‘Prodigy’ award for most promising design practice in the Asia-Pacific region. 

Based in Sydney, we are a young and dexterous architecture team with an international profile, a fast growing body of work and the knowledge, skills and experience to see projects from inception through to completion. The office has experience working with private clients, developers and large organizations including Rookwood General Cemetery, Fox Sports and the National Gallery of Victoria, and has completed projects ranging in scale from exhibitions, private residences and apartment buildings to major urban developments. 

Current Other Architects projects include: a masterplan for Sydney’s first new major cemetery in over 150 years, a small apartment building disguised as a single home, an Islamic gathering and prayer facility, and a country house conceived as one large room. The practice’s work has been exhibited at the inaugural Chicago Architecture Biennial and the National Gallery of Victoria (NGV) Triennial, and has featured in numerous international publications including the Wall Street Journal, the Atlantic, Architectural Record, Metropolis and the Australian Financial Review. Garden Wall, Other Architect’s installation for the NGV Triennial, is estimated to have attracted over a million visitors during the summer of 2017.

Split Personality

Double House

13.
Office Name: Olga Tarasova
Website: https://olgatar.com/
Instagram: N/A
Location in the world: New York, USA
Technique: Digital collage, hand drawing

Some info about the practise taken from the description made by the architects themselves:

My name is Olga Tarasova and I am an architect. Currently working in New York City.
I’ve graduated from Cornell University in May 2019 with a MSAAD (former MArch II) degree with distinction. I am from Russia and in 2016 I graduated from Moscow Architectural Institute with a Master degree also with distinction. The major part of this education process I spent in the Yury Grigoryan’s project studio. After graduation I worked for two years in the Moscow based architectural office Meganom.

I believe in architecture as in great experience that we can create for people. I also believe that using an artistic approach in architecture creates a very specific result. Delicate graphical language as architectural representation is not only the visual identity of the project for me, but it is also a significant tool for architectural communication. Thus, art has become a very important chapter of my life.

The Kapotnya effect. Resettlement. Moscow Architectural Institute, Yury Grigoryan studio, 2016

The Kapotnya effect. Resettlement. Moscow Architectural Institute, Yury Grigoryan studio, 2016

Action Plan and Gorky Park Embankments, 2016-2018. During work in Meganom

Action Plan and Gorky Park Embankments, 2016-2018. During work in Meganom

14.
Office Name: BC Architects

Website: http://architects.bc-as.org/
Instagram: https://instagram.com/bcarchitectsandstudies/
Location in the world: Brussels, Belgium
Technique: Digital rendering, digital collage

Some info about the practice taken from the description made by the architects themselves:

BC-AS is BC architects and studies. BC stands for Brussels Cooperation and points to how BC grew - embedded within place and people. We do projects through 2 legal entities registered in Belgium: BC architects bvba (company) and BC studies vzw (non-profit).

BC architects bvba delivers full architectural services for your building project, ranging from small scale renovations to urban developments. Our architecture is sensitive to people, context and materials. We develop your project with our network of engineering professionals and other experts according to the highest European Standards.

Started in 2012, our team currently consists of 4 partners and 4 employees, working from Brussels and Addis Ababa on projects in Belgium, France, Ethiopia, Burundi, Nigeria and Morocco.

BC architects benefit from the knowledge created through BC studies, its lab for social, material and architectural innovation, where we have built up extensive research on local materials and innovative building processes.

The Bamiyan Cultural Centre, 2015

Open Oproep OO3004, 2015

Publiek Toegankelijk Museumdepot en Kooktheater Aan Het NAVIGO-Museum Oostduinkerke

15.
Office Name: Bast
Website: https://bast0.com/
Instagram: https://instagram.com/bast_architectes/
Location in the world: Toulouse, France 
Technique: Digital rendering, physical model collage, vector collage, digital collage

Some info about the practice taken from the description made by the architects themselves:

Bureau Architectures Sans Titre was founded in Toulouse in 2013. Since then, an anonymous approach and a proactive research posture has been adopted to experiment with the diverse potentialities of each project.  At each step of the design, solutions are found and contiguously questioned in an iterative way. As a result, projects don't follow a formal method, but instead develop in an evolutionary process that defines the identity of the office.

E50, Réhabilitation Du Parc De La Villa Tertrais-Chailly

E49, Construction De l’IFSI IFAS

T14, Transformation D’un Ancien Garage Citroën

T14, Transformation D’un Ancien Garage Citroën

L20, 165 Logements Collectifs

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1 Comment

  • This is so amazing, I agree with your point of view regarding the realistic drawing vs. this kind of drawing. And thank you for making this list. Now it is really useful for my Thesis Work.

    Maria Morales on

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