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Architectural renderings are more important than you may think

Earlier this month, we wrote a blog post about a pair of copper apartment towers that could be constructed in New York City's Midtown East as early as 2016. We, along with many others, marveled at the architectural renderings for the towers, which looked unique and refreshing. The architectural renderings are a key piece for developers who are trying to complete a new project. The pictures convey beauty and promise, and it can lead to a community accepting the project; or vehemently fighting it.

Take the case of a massive development project in Brooklyn, called Greenpoint Landing. The developers put together a gorgeous rendering that shows myriad silver towers rising up near the East River, with the Manhattan skyline in the background. It looks serene, if not pristine.

But a group of activists who are against the Greenpoint Landing project have used this rendering in a different way. They took those silver buildings and shaded them in a pinkish-red; their size is amplified, as if the buildings are going to completely obscure the Manhattan skyline; and, in general, they look like ghastly structures that should not be placed there. It's the exact effect the group wants people to have when they see the picture.

Ultimately, this story is about the power of advertising and perception. When it comes to real estate development, architectural renderings are an important tool in pushing your project forward. They convey more than just an idea; they convey a feeling. Architectural renderings may be one small step towards completing a real estate project, but it is an important step that should not be overlooked.

Source: New York Times, "Idealized or Caricature, Architectural Renderings Are Weapons in Real Estate," Elizabeth A. Harris, Aug. 26, 2013

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