10 Trending Architectural Rendering Styles for Architects

Architectural visualization and rendering has been around for quite some time. For a while, no visualization would be seen without a desaturated sky or a gaggle of supermodels strutting across open interiors to flaunt the exclusivity of a space. While these tactics are still widely used today, architectural rendering has evolved in major ways as an accompaniment to new technological advancements. 

As such, many architects and designers today have the ability to create unique styles and compositions to exhibit their designs with varying colors, lightning, framing, and angles to convey the right mood for the right setting. 

This overlap between design and emotive cinematography has allowed AEC professionals to tell their stories behind the designs in a wholly unique way. It would then be beneficial to understand what the top rendering trends are and how they can create a beautiful, finished product. 

If you’re looking for a few ways to incorporate a different rendering style or technique into your next design project, then this article is perfect for you. I guarantee that these trends and tips will help you provide your clients, stakeholders, and shareholders with something that they’ve never seen before.

1. Mad Max

This style is ideal for projects whose focus is on lighting. The Mad Max technique consists of highlighting a project through careful placements of subtle or lone lighting. Its remaining surrounding atmosphere is shrouded in darkness. A well-balanced game of lights and shadows will ensure that the new building design stands out amongst the seemingly barren urban wasteland.

2. Whodunit

This particular technique is perfect for those looking to present conceptual or minimalist designs. When framed, its atmosphere is surrounded by a melancholy, drama, and stormy disposition. The entire rendering is desaturated and uses darker tones like blue and green. In short, Whodunit encapsulates a sober, stark, and elegant composition to create a feeling of tension that grasps the viewers’ attention. 

3. Katherine Hiegl

If you found it funny that this style is named after the infamous actress, then you are not alone. However, I’ve found that the title itself succinctly embodies the essence of Heigl. Now, if I’m not making much sense, bear with me for a moment. Close your eyes and imagine romantically snow-dusted streets, the sounds of children having fun, the imagery of couples holding hands, and a beautiful building in the background. 

To put it simply, this style represents the possibility of everyday living. It’s characterized through the adoption of giving the entire landscape center stage. 

Katherine Heigl toys with the emotions of the public, which is often presented in a picture of people living their daily lives through activity. This style is typically utilized in renderings for shopping malls, restaurants, galleries, stores, apartments, houses, parks, and etc.

All image credits go to Lumion and their respective owners

4. David

I recommend the David technique for architects looking to showcase their renderings in extensive detail. This style focuses on flaunting mapped textures, lifelike grass, and realistic reflections—all in precise technical quality. The David tends to generate a sense of vitality, serenity, and peace, which are delightfully showcased through vegetal elements. 

5. Gondry

This successful style was named after famed filmmaker Michel Gondry. Its technique includes elements of photography, renderings, 3D models, sketches, and other artistic elements to saturate the design with a distinctive, visual flair. The Gondry is an excellent choice for professionals who are interested in reflecting their personality in their render.

6. Theodore

The Theodore represents the comfortability and coziness of interior spaces. Through this technique, you can convey an aura of warmth by experimenting with large spaces and natural light. If your projects focus on offices, institutions, homes, apartments, and other living spaces, this style will certainly fit your rendering needs.

7. Oneiric

If your designs need to be rendered in a more futuristic or avant-garde context, then the Oneiric is the style you’ll need to implement. This technique provides projects with abstractionism, which gives the viewer more sensations than details. Stuck between realism and surrealism, your render will appear to be practical without needing to convey every single detail. 


8. Paranormal Activity

Paranormal Activity is for professionals looking to create a dreamy, nostalgic setting that’s supported by memory and light, instead of the expected pillars and slabs. This is ideal for architects or designers to saturate their designs in a space that feels caught between reality and fantasy. 

Interior with view of nature lumion 12.3

9. Semi-Realistic/Photo-Realistic

This technique is the epitome of architectural visualization. Through photo-realism, AEC professionals are able to give their audience a perfectly dreamy render. It can be best represented by being created to mirror the real-world, except with ideal lighting, outstanding backgrounds, and dramatic environments. 

10. Watercolor

Architects looking to demonstrate the potentiality behind their project can consider this style. It enables designs to take on the look of a handmade, watercolor painting through the use of colors and textures.

North River House by Depiction

Which architectural visualization style is perfect for your renders?

Honestly, this depends on what your client is looking for and what fits the needs of your firm. To set your company apart, we suggest finding and utilizing one of these styles to add to your branding. However, feel free to implement any of these styles into your design! Incorporate whichever technique to best suit your project needs. 

While architectural visualization has evolved significantly over the years, it’s still a tedious process for most professionals. Still, there are some fantastic 3D rendering and visualization softwares that can help you get the job done with less time, effort, and money wasted. 

If you’re interested in finding out which 3D rendering software is perfect for you, get in touch with us by contacting us, emailing us at sales@digitalquest.asia, or calling +60 3 7960 3088. Our experts would be happy to provide you with some consultation and a free demo of software like Lumion, V-Ray, Thea Render, and more.