Renderings, standards and human perception. A look at the 105 Keefer Street rezoning

It is said that a picture is worth a thousand words. The photograph above is of Columbia Street. It is very much in line with how a person with normal human vision would experience it.

Here is the area of the photograph located in a white box (lower left) within the rendering produced by the applicant (Beedie Group) for the 105 Keefer rezoning:

Does the applicant’s rendering portray scale in a manner or context that the average citizen can clearly understand? Not really.

There are no before / after shots provided with the rendering for a comparison. Could the City make sure that comparisons similar to the following one are provided for scale and context purposes? We think it should.

The architect’s rendering adds excessively tall trees that mask the true height of the proposed building. Here is a comparison of a wide angle photo taken in the field (on left) and the corresponding section of the rendering (on right); note the height of the trees in relation to the monument (lower right):

The before / after shots could be provided with a camera focal length that is in line with human vision. Here’s a crop of the rendering that is approximately in line with our photograph below (top is “before” and bottom is “after”):

Should the City of Vancouver have standards for renderings (including a focal length equivalent / field of view)? (We think the answer is yes.) We’ve documented a number of points that could be improved in an earlier article on the renderings used for 508 Helmcken. Here are a few questions and comments from that article:

By reproducing out of scale, ultra wide-angle renderings, is the City essentially cheating the public and elected officials of having truthful information on which to comment regarding development applications? Are members of the public misled by ultra wide-angle renderings that pretend that large buildings will have less of a visual impact on neighbours and the neighbourhood? Could the municipal government set guidelines or even enforceable standards for rendering submissions? (Hint: Yes.) What are best practices? Should the City refrain from reproducing renderings that fail to meet standards of ethics and integrity in visual rendering? What do you think?

Previous articles on CityHallWatch:


Above: Columbia Street view (left, enlarged from rendering) shown in white box in architect’s full rendering (right)
Below: Photograph and crop of rendering comparison (Columbia Street) – click to enlarge.

We matched the photo by taking a tripod and a camera into the field. We did careful alignment to find the original location of the applicant’s (Beedie Group’s) rendering. We then used the enlarged parts (see image below) of the applicant’s rendering for reference:

Stitch marks in the original rendering (by the applicant, Beedie Group) are apparent. It appears that the background photo wasn’t taken as a single frame through a single lens of a camera. Here are a few of the stitch marks:

One thought on “Renderings, standards and human perception. A look at the 105 Keefer Street rezoning

  1. The city should provide an accurate representation for renderings. I think it’s called propaganda when one intentionally creates visual stimuli to mislead the intended audience. Many Canadians left countries where this was the norm. Canada has higher standards than this.

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