Friday Photo – Rendering the Rendering

When most of us see architectural renderings, we go through an automatic process of uncloaking them to create a mental image of what a building or streetscape might actually look like. Renderings are, of course, PR tools–slick representations of best-case scenarios under ideal conditions.

Especially in the case of recent proposals for a new development on Nicollet downtown.  As the Strib article says, “Firms bidding to develop the old Nicollet Hotel block are working through the holiday season to produce new renderings that depict their ideas for transforming it. They hope to influence public opinion for an ambitious makeover of a site now owned by the city of Minneapolis.”


A few weeks ago I found myself staring at this rendering, preoccupied with the task of visualizing what I thought the area might really turn out to look like. But it was hard to extrapolate from the shiny, textureless reality. So I touched up the rendering to provide a more realistic depiction.

renderingedited is a non-profit and is volunteer run. We rely on your support to keep the servers running. If you value what you read, please consider becoming a member.


9 Responses to Friday Photo – Rendering the Rendering

  1. Mike Sonn
    Mike Sonn January 16, 2015 at 8:37 am #

    If I may, the trees are too green. Need some mid-November 3/4 leaves dropped, brown muddy grass, kinda landscaping.

    • Shawn January 16, 2015 at 10:27 am #

      I kind of agree… The buildings are well muted, but that’s definitely an Oct/Nov sky, so get those trees barren!

      Otherwise, I’d love to see every architectural rendering in a reasonably awful perspective 🙂

  2. Adam Miller
    Adam Miller January 16, 2015 at 10:12 am #

    Needs more dead birds. Just look at all that glass. And it’s what, 2-3 blocks from the river?

    What’s that? We only worry about birds when it’s a stadium we don’t like? Okay, never mind.

    • Jake H January 16, 2015 at 11:26 am #

      The Audibon Society has worked with all of the developers in the city, and will likely work with this one to ensure the project doesn’t cause harm to migration patterns.

    • Wayne January 16, 2015 at 2:01 pm #

      I thought many (most?) of the downtown glassy skyscrapers already use some of the 3M films to protect birds?

  3. Bill Lindeke
    Bill Lindeke January 16, 2015 at 11:10 am #

    needs more plastic bags stuck in the gutter, in the trees. might want to add a speeding SUV weaving in and out of traffic?

    • Wayne January 16, 2015 at 2:02 pm #

      Could also use some more gum on the sidewalk and maybe an illegally parked DID truck on the curb.

  4. Eric Anondson
    Eric Anondson January 16, 2015 at 2:45 pm #

    The Truth-in-Renderings commission has spoken! Though I think the skyway needs far more people in it, because … Minnesotans.

  5. Alex Schieferdecker
    Alex Schieferdecker January 19, 2015 at 1:11 pm #

    It’s not worth a law, but I’d love it if there was an unwritten rule that for every rendering depicting a building with a beautiful sunset, there needs to be another rendering depicting it in a drizzle.

Note on Comments welcomes opinions from many perspectives. Please refrain from attacking or disparaging others in your comments. sees debate as a learning opportunity. Please share your perspective in a respectful manner. View our full comment policy to learn more.

Thanks for commenting on!