A building’s essence

Yale Center
for British Art
Crown Hall

Pick a building. Find its essence. Represent it. Learn by practicing. Challenge yourself. Improve your skills. Never settle. Aim for excellence. Have fun. Learn from others. Explore and discover. Join us!



Getting the ideas from your brain and transforming them into a well-designed project with plans, sections, 3D model, and other drawings is an intense task. But it’s useless to create an extraordinary design if you can’t present it properly. In some ways, we can compare this to a writer that has an amazing story to tell but doesn’t really know how to write.

The Architect profession demands that we master many skills, and knowing how to communicate architectural spaces through drawings and images is a crucial one.

With the advance in technology, architects can now present their designs through computers and software and this allows them to simulate reality. But with that progress, we’ve started to see a lack of identity in images, letting the program decide every aspect of that virtual photo. Bringing your style to the composition, and using different techniques allows you to imprint intentional moods and create certain atmospheres that are beyond what the eyes can see, but can actually better covey what you’d feel as you enter that space.

All of that to say that collages, hand-drawn sketches, realistic, post-digital, a mix of it all, or even other styles, are valid ways to present a project. Composition, depth of field, focus, camera angle, story, lighting, color harmony, materiality, and many other aspects that qualify a great image is what is going to be evaluated here. So let your creativity take over and explore the world of visualization to represent your project of choice the way it’s supposed to be seen.

The Challenge

In this competition, you’re going to be challenged to visualize a building. We took care of the design part of the process, by picking three exemplar buildings so that you can focus on the visualization and practice this particular skill.

You’re going to have to choose one of the three buildings to work with (Crown Hall, FAU USP or Yale Art Gallery. The three projects we selected are all educational buildings within university campuses, however, each of them could be categorized under a different architectural style and has its own, unique story. A story that your drawing should tell.

Your task is to create a single image that represents your building in the best possible way. As mentioned, there is no limitation as to what technique you should use. You can choose to show the whole building, or highlight specific parts of it. Show it with its surroundings, or not. Display the real materials, or what feeling they would produce. You’re the author of this image and have complete freedom on how to portrait this architecture so take advantage of it.

In order to achieve this, you’ll have to get to know the building’s ins and outs, get into the architects’ shoes and portrait the building to show its best qualities and attributes.

Visualizing a project can be done in endless ways. Just a reminder that an ultra-realistic approach is just one of them. Be creative! Practice and explore a new skill. You can transmit the correct sensation that a building has to offer with many different styles.



  • Steven Rubio

    Founder of Show It Better
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    Steven Rubio
    Founder of Show It Better

    Steven Rubio is an architect who created Show it Better in 2015. An educational platform dedicated to teaching architects and architecture students around the world architecture representation. Currently, it counts with a community of more than 500 thousand people across all of its platforms. Steven received his undergraduate degree in 2015 and is currently finishing his Masters’s of Architecture in Bogota, Colombia. Apart from directing Show it Better, he also is a practicing architect and artist interested in image manipulations and transformations in Latin American cities.

  • Carolina Güida

    Architectural design and visualization
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    Carolina Güida
    Architectural design and visualization

    Carolina Güida is an architect specialized in architectural visualization graduated from Facultad de Arquitectura, Diseño y Urbanismo in Uruguay. She’s currently working as an independent professional and as co-founder of Stoa Visuals. She has collaborated with multiple international offices such as Rafael Viñoly, Marcio Kogan, Jacobsen Arquitetura, Gaeta Springall, Total Real, MAPA, Fabrica de Paisaje, Pedro Livni, Gabriel Kozlowski and Sol Camacho, among others.

  • Alex Hogrefe

    Partner at Design Distill
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    Alex Hogrefe
    Partner at Design Distill

    Alex Hogrefe is the creator of visualizingarchitecture.com a website that explores architectural graphics and representational techniques. He is also the co-founder of Design Distill, an Architectural 3D Rendering Studio located in Boston, MA. Alex attended Bowling Green State University, Ohio for his BA in architecture and the Miami University of Ohio for his Masters in Architecture, before moving to Boston to work as an architect. Today, he continues to refine his visualization skills through the development of new and challenging illustrations on his website, as well as lecturing and giving workshops, and studying all visualization styles, old and new.



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