Office Culture
Embracing New Design Tech at Darden Architects
02/17/21

In addition to our standard design programs and processes, Darden Architects can utilize new technologies to enhance the client experience and present our designs in engaging and dynamic ways. These services detailed below are usually additional services and can be integrated into the planning and design methodology through discussion with the owner on what will best suit their needs for a given project.

Project Renderings and Fly-throughs

Architects rendering of the Reedley Performing Arts Center at Reedley College

Darden Architects early designs are developed using 3 dimensional modeling software to “sketch” the concepts and schematic designs. Currently, we utilize programs such as SketchUp, REVIT, and Lumion to produce renderings and project fly-throughs for many of our projects. These project visualizations can provide the owner and stakeholders a realistic idea of what the project will look like including textures and colors that present what finishes will actually be specified in the project. Our renderings can be polished to include sun orientation and sky backgrounds.

Architects rendering of Matilda Torres High School in Madera Unified School District

They can be populated with people, cars, interior furniture, and landscaping to give a sense of scale and provide a image or video that accurately showcases our design. These renderings and project fly-throughs can be very useful for schematic design presentations, fundraising efforts, board meetings, and community meetings.

3D Goggles and Photo-spheres

Photosphere image of the Northside Christian Church Project 

We were one of the early adopters in our region to utilize the 3D goggles, such as the Occulus Rift, for project visualizations. This technology allows our design teams to develop a 3D environment showing the exterior or interior of a design project. By wearing the goggles the owner can be placed “inside” this environment. This gives an excellent understanding of scale and space and is particularly useful for sharing interior designs.

Photosphere image of the 8 classroom building prototype for Fresno Unified School District

By creating a series of photo-spheres, which are basically 360 images, taken from different locations of an interior space we can utilize a smart-phone and light headset to provide a similar portable experience to the client.

Drone Photos and Videos
Darden Architects maintains a Commercial Drone pilots license. There is a rigorous training and exam process for this skill, as well as an understanding of the safety precautions and State and Federal regulations for Unmanned small aircraft.

Drone image of the Sanger Educational Center project for Sanger Unified School District

Having this tool at hand allows for quick site surveys and video to support planning and project certification efforts. We can also provide visual updates during project construction, and of course develop dramatic multimedia presentations of completed projects from this aerial viewpoint.

Virtual Community Input Meetings
The input process during master planning and the early stages of design is vitally important to set direction and establish goals for the final design. Community and Stakeholder meetings can be valuable for this and create excitement and consensus of support for the project.

Community input meeting for the Kerman Unified School District Master Plan Update project 2020

We have found, particularly during the current pandemic that facilitating these meetings virtually can often spur greater attendance numbers than we experienced with in-person meetings. The ease of attendance, accessibility, and optional anonymity can make virtual meetings more appealing to community members. We are experienced with running virtual meetings, including providing options for online input forms.

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