Journey of an Architect is a blog started by Tim Ung to document his journey to design 30 projects by the age of 30 (May 2020). His posts focus on his design process, thoughts, struggles, and successes throughout his journey.

1x30 - 05 NYC Micro Dwelling Materials and Site Photos

1x30 - 05 NYC Micro Dwelling Materials and Site Photos

Introduction

This week, the major focus for the NYC Micro Dwellings was to get photographs of the site for future rendering purposes. I would go out to the site myself, but I live far away from NYC. After much thought, I contacted a friend of mine who’s currently working in NYC as a physical therapist at New York University to take photographs of the NYC Micro Dwellings’ site. As my best friend, he agreed to photograph the site without asking questions. So this week, I focused on putting together a quick site map showing locations for him to stand and take a photograph of the site. While he was on this mission, I continued developing textures and materials of the NYC Micro Dwellings in Revit for future renders.

Photographing the NYC Micro Dwelling Site

Once my friend agreed to take photographs of the NYC Micro Dwellings site, I immediately got on my computer and generated a Google map view of the project site and thought about the best public locations to photograph the project site. I placed a blue dot at the approximate locations on the map where I wanted him to stand. Then, I drew a vague triangular box showing the perspective of each photograph and sent over some notes on each perspective.

NYC Micro Dwelling Site Photography Map

To clarify the views, I went into Google street view, situated the camera at the approximate locations shown on the map, and snapped a screen shot. You might be wondering why I’m choosing not to use the Google street view for the renderings. Great question! The two buildings, one adjacent to the NYC Micro Dwellings, and another across the street, are new. So the Google street views show both of them under construction. For the purposes of future renders of the NYC Micro Dwellings, both buildings should be complete. So as of February 2016, both buildings’ exterior shells and some interior buildouts are already complete.

With snapshots of the Google street views, I brought each one into Photoshop and quickly painted a vague transparent red area to represent both the location and approximate height of the NYC Micro Dwellings. These Google street view perspectives were extremely helpful in clarifying the different views for my friend to photograph.

NYC Micro Dwellings Site Google Street View 01

NYC Micro Dwellings Site Google Street View 02

NYC Micro Dwellings Site Google Street View 03

My friend made his way to the site between 8:00am and 9:00am and took lots of photographs from each approximate location. He took these photographs with a very good camera at the highest quality and each photograph came out amazing! He also stood on top of one of the concrete/wood benches on the High line and must’ve mistakenly taken a photograph while the camera was pointed down at the bench. To my surprise, I actually needed a photograph of the bench so that I could try to match the exterior wood rain screen material with the color of the wood used on the High line.

* If you’re wondering why I mention the time that he was at the NYC Micro Dwellings site, it’s because it’ll help me setup my sun configuration in Revit for each rendering. More to come in next week’s post on this topic!

NYC Micro Dwellings Site Photograph 01

NYC Micro Dwellings Site Photograph 02

NYC Micro Dwellings Site Photograph 03

NYC Micro Dwellings Highline Bench Photograph

Setting up the NYC Micro Dwellings model for rendering

While my friend was out on the site, I focused on developing the material palette for the NYC Micro Dwellings and used the existing Revit material library. I focused most of my time on the exterior wood rain screen material and developed the interior materials afterwards. Using the photograph of one of the benches on the High line, I did my best to match the color of the wood in the Revit model. To my surprise, it was time consuming to find and match the color with the materials in the Revit material library. So I decided to get as close of a match as possible and fix the color in Photoshop during the post processing stage.

During this stage of any project, I typically go through several draft renderings where I modify and test various materials on the building. Although it may sound tedious, it’s actually my favorite part of designing and project because it allows me to visualize and show others the ideas that would otherwise be left in my imagination. Although I’m showing three renderings below, this process took about six or seven renderings to finalize the exterior materials and textures.

NYC Micro Dwellings Revit Material Test 01

NYC Micro Dwellings Revit Material Test 02

NYC Micro Dwellings Revit Material Test 03

Setting up cameras in the NYC Micro Dwellings Revit Model

Once I was satisfied with the materials of the NYC Micro Dwellings, I began placing cameras throughout the model in the locations from the map that I gave my friend. I also went through every photograph that he took and selected my favorite photographs. Using these photos, I adjusted the height of the camera to my friend’s height (roughly 5’-11” or 6’-0”) and slowly panned each view to match the photographs.

NYC Micro Dwellings Exterior Camera View 01

NYC Micro Dwellings Exterior Camera View 02

Next Steps

Now that I have high resolution photographs of the site, exterior materials applied in Revit, and camera views set, I can finally move onto post processing each exterior rendering for the project. This is my favorite part of any project and I’m sure each rendering will take a lot of time to develop.

Thank you so much for reading and feel free to share your thoughts in the comments section below! Be sure to sign up for my newsletters and follow me for updates on my design ventures!


1x30 - 06 NYC Micro Dwellings Architecture Renders

1x30 - 06 NYC Micro Dwellings Architecture Renders

1x30 – 04 Design Development of NYC Micro Dwellings

1x30 – 04 Design Development of NYC Micro Dwellings