Generation Render
With Sketches and/or Computer Designs for the Built Reality

In Cassel’s New German Dictionary I can imagine three possible translations for the meaning of the title Generation Render.

Die Erzeugung der Darstellung /The birth of representation/
Das Zeitalter der Darstellung /The era of representation/
Das Zeitalter des Verputzes / The era of plastering/ (that should not be a joke)

Now let me come to the subtitle: “With sketches and/or computer designs to the built reality”. The short answer is: I personally work with watercolour, saliva, Chinese brush, pen, pencil, dry-point etching, AutoCAD, DVD, different kinds of printing, photo and lithography and with many other tools to find the generic idea that should be built.

In every case each tool gives its input into the design of architecture. I prefer hand sketches and watercolour, because of the connection between my brain and my body, which are directly represented in the design. This method produces an authentic reality. The drawings are not the design itself, but are rather subjective and autonomous. I do not use them for representation, and I sometimes sell them.

For representation we use models, perspectives, renderings and of course plans and descriptions. In renderings the designer is the user of an intelligent but normative programme. Without doubt the complexity of computer programmes is very helpful in the everyday work of the office.

A rendering or an animation is never real. It is always what we imagine of something real. There is no doubt that what we call architecture begins and ends in the head and in the body of an individual.
A rendering can help to control two-dimensional geometry. A computer model on the screen is flat, it is not a body. A built model is the embodiment of the idea. I prefer models of wood, steel, artificial materials in nature or those painted to many different scales.

Architecture is a body containing space; to render does not mean to build.

If a client wants a rendering or an animation to sell my design, he has to pay the rendering and animation specialist. In competitions it should be clearly set out which kind of representation is allowed in the same way for all participants. It is useful and correct for the jury that a rendering specialist makes all the projects of a competitor visibly and in the same manner.

I don’t agree that sketching is a traditional method. Every separate occasion produces its own sensuality.

A computer is a tool. To think architecturally I do not need a computer, but for building architecture we need and use the computer. I think we should concentrate less on the perfection of how to render and more on what to render. Rendering is a neo-industrial working method. Its quality depends on the user’s knowledge and on the programme. To make a script of a programme is research. Architecture is more than a product. With the best rendering we do not achieve reality but it is possible to produce beautiful fiction.

“Die Reise durchs Gehirn erspart ihm der Computer” (Zitat Durs Grünbein in Maria Lassnig: Die Feder ist die Schwester des Pinsels) / “The journey through the mind saves you the computer work.” (quotation from the poet Durs Grünbein in the album titled “The Pen Is the Sister of the Brush”, compiled from paintings by Maria Lassnig. /

/The text was written for the panel discussion titled “Generation Render, Mit Skizzen und/oder Computerentwürfen bis zur gebauten Wirklichkeit” held on 12 November 2008 at BIG Az W (Architecturzentrum Wien). It has not been previously published and – due to Heinz Tesar’s absence – has not been read out./