“Drawing architecture is a schizoid act: It involves reducing the world to a piece of paper”- Eduardo Souto De Moura

Digital presentation of architectural projects is one of the most commonly used tools to communicate our designs to the viewers. They give the viewers an insight into our process of ideation to developing the project. They are often the primary indicators of an architect’s knowledge and abilities, artistic skills, and power of visualizing how an idea will become a real building. 

While sketching and drawing were mainly used for architectural representation in the past, with the rapid advancement in technology and constant innovation in the software used for creating the drawings, today’s digital presentation has made the process much quicker and simpler, yielding better outcomes and giving more clarity of design. 

Here are some tips to keep in mind while making the digital presentation of an architectural project: 

1. Project at a Glance | Digital presentation

Your audience is seeing the project for the first time. They need some context and information about what the project is about. So giving them an overall idea about your concept and approach for designing will intrigue them and keep them aware to listen till the end. Make sure that the sheet looks well-balanced in terms of the color palette used, negative space seen, composition, and orientation of the drawings. 

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Cuatropicos 02_©Ivan Schuler

2. Let Your Design Unfold Slowly 

Structure your presentation in a manner that is interesting for the viewers. For example, imagine walking through a building that surprises you at different instances; it feels so elevating to walk through a well-designed building. Similarly, try to incorporate such a flow in your presentation that keeps your audience curious. 

3. Use the Right Aesthetics | Digital presentation

Be it the font type, the font size, the color palette, or the material palette, make sure you choose the one that best suits your design. Using monochrome works well but sometimes the use of the right color to drive the visual attention of the audience can be taken into consideration. Make sure to use the font from the same family though its size may vary.

4. Make the Presentation a Virtual Experience 

Since digital presentation is going to become the aptest form of communication for architectural projects, the key challenge is to make the viewers understand the project as an experience, even though it is virtual. While technological inventions of Virtual and Augmented Reality make it possible to walk through the building that is still to be built, it would be a good idea to incorporate elements like scale, depth, humans, shadows, and so on by adding character or details to make it look more life-like. Make your presentation as close to a real experience as possible, to make your viewers understand the feel of the building and evoke emotions.

Architecture is an expression of a thought or an idea that gets converted into reality. Digital presentation is the way to communicate that thought to the viewer. Just as in life, even in architecture, the first impression is the last; so while creating the presentation, carefully curate how you want to create an impact on the minds of your viewers. It is through a good presentation that they will be able to read your designs. 

5. Tell an Engaging Story Through Your Design | Digital presentation

It is believed that architects are storytellers but if the story doesn’t interest your viewers then a lot of time and effort you put into designing will go in vain. Make sure you craft a good story about how your design was conceived and use as many illustrative sketches or graphical representations for depiction as possible. Using a storyboard can help to showcase the flow of thoughts and evolution of design. 

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Playful Boundaries_©Lara Copaescu

6. Understand Your Audience 

Your presentation needs to evolve and change depending on the kind of audience you are presenting to. While the approach to design and concept development will appeal to students or other architects, being ready with relevant arguments for justifying your design will impress a jury, and giving a strategic explanation of why this particular design is appropriate for them is what will help you sell your design to a client. 

7. Keep It Clean 

Avoid giving more information than necessary. Don’t use too much jargon to express the design or philosophy. A plain white background with only the necessary text and more images or illustrations is the key to making sure that the audience remains focused.

8. Using Different Mediums of Representation | Digital presentation

With the digitization of drawings in architecture, various modes of representation have been developed by architects aspiring for a clearer depiction of their ideas for the project, to emphasize the way their project needs to be read. A few of those techniques are mentioned below: 

  1. Digital sketches or illustrations- appeal to the audience due to the less use of text
  2. Orthographic projection- they are more technical drawings to better understand how the design works and how to execute it. 
  3. Image presentations- are often self-explanatory and create opportunities for the audience to interpret, imagine and visualize. 
  4. 3D modeling- it creates room for exploration of details in the design, materials, lighting, etc, and gives a better idea of the scale and proportion of the project. 
  5. Storyboard or Layout presentation- provides a visual narrative of the entire project and helps to engage the audience by giving them an overview before getting into an in-depth understanding of design. 
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Architectural Collage_©Tatiana Bilbao

9. Creating an Elevator Pitch 

There may be times when the time constraint is such that the design can’t be explained in its entirety. Using key points or making notes create a separate elevator pitch style write-up that can be used in case you exceed the time of presentation. 

10. Stick to the Basics | Digital presentation

Avoid using complex architectural terms or language that is difficult for the audience to understand. You don’t want your audience to look for the meaning of words when they should instead be looking for the deeper meaning in your designs. Use simple language and structure your thoughts well before presenting. 

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Second Prize: Professor Alan Pert and team members from Nord architecture/landscape firm (Brian McGinlay, Helen-Anne Love, Mark Bell, and Rod Kemsley) and Atelier 10 environmental /structures firm_©architizer.com

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Shaymi Shah is a published author and an architectural content writer by profession. Through keen observation about architecture and life around her, she weaves narratives through her writing as she wants to make people, even outside the fraternity, realize the importance and fundamental need of design in our daily lives.