We have argued that hyperrealism in architectural visualization cannot be reduced to the supernaturally sharp hyperrealist art or the glossy airbrushed render. Hyperreal visualization does not strive to become a precise imitation or a better version of reality.
Then what could the “hyper” prefix in hyperrealism stand for?
Hyperreal archviz encourages the viewer – be it client, investor, critic, or jury in a competition – to seek a real-life interaction with physical space. From our experience, the prefix “hyper” describes the methods by which visualization shapes this anticipation of real-life experience of architecture.
Hyperreal architectural rendering studios employ a multitude of highly varied styles and methods of visualization. However, they all try to convey the atmosphere envisioned by the architect. They create a foretaste of the real world because they are able to induce a quasi-tactile sensory perception of the depicted space. When seeing an eloquent representation of textures, light, and air in the picture, the viewer may experience a slight phantom feeling of touching the materials, the flow of the wind, the temperature. This effect is based on the multisensory convergence in the brain. It means that under the right conditions visual neurons may ignite tactile neurons.
Within this framework, the prefix “hyper” in hyperreal visualization speaks about the intensity and complexity of experience. “Hyper” is hyperawareness, hyperconcentration of the senses, hyperconsciousness and hypersensitivity towards the surrounding space. Hyperreal visualization may strengthen the awareness and sharpness of perception because it is sharp and aware itself.
Hyperreal archviz does not strive to be more perfect than reality because the ability of hyperreal archviz to induce multisensory perception is based on our memories of physical space. Our imagination can only reconstruct the feeling of mass, temperature, texture, air that we have previously acquired in real life. This is why hyperreal visualizations scrupulously recreate the blend of light and color.
The palette of hyperreal renderings hardly ever comes down to the daylight neutrals or the banal sunset pink even in commercial renderings of luxury homes. This sophisticated approach to light and color is evident in the visualization of a villa our rendering studio created in 2021. The yellow-pinkish light of the setting sun is melancholic and almost uncanny. Thus the picture evades the cheerful palette of the glossy renderings. It also recreates the wistfulness many people experience during such sunsets.
Illustration: The palette of "Bounty" by Iddqd Studio creates an atmosphere of yearning, wistfulness, and idleness.
When we see two similar-looking visualizations, how do we tell the glossy rendering from the hyperreal visualization? We may say the former strives to forge a glamorous illusion and the latter to represent the human experience of space. But does the difference run deeper?
If we are to follow the thinking of Baudrillard and Debord, spectacular glossy renderings kill human fantasy and memory. Such renderings can only be consumed passively and without any real engagement. Hyperreal visualization, on the other hand, inspires lively mindful perception of the space in the image. The viewer actively interacts with the depicted architecture. Real buildings, rather than their glamorized image remain the main focus of the hyperreal visualization. As a consequence, hyperreal archviz ‘sells’ potential reality rather than prefabricated dreams. Glossy rendering allows you to own a fantasy as if it was an object. Hyperreal visualization ignites your own dreaming.
Thus, the spell of the hyperreal could eventually be broken.
Header illustration: "Bounty" by Iddqd Studio.