Interviews

By Kyle Ouellette

Building Dialogues: Trust and Collaboration in Arch Viz

In architectural visualization, the artist is an interpreter, translating the language of the architect (exacting, technical, and sometimes densely functional) into a universal message - one described through light, texture, shape, color, and mood. Advances in 3D rendering technology are taking place at a break-neck speed and the arch-viz industry has kept pace through expansion: estimated to be a $1.5 billion-dollar industry in 2019, predictions for the next two years have its growth exploding to the tune of $5 billion dollars. In such a competitive global market, smaller visualization firms must differentiate themselves in order to thrive in an ever-expanding technological landscape.
In 2003, CEO and Founder Stefan Vittori started Tangram 3DS in Portsmouth, NH. Vittori was a pioneer of 3D in the early years of its adoption by the architecture and design industries: he and his company have been at the forefront of the industry as it has evolved dramatically over the past two decades. The company has achieved remarkable success and is celebrating its 20th anniversary in 2023, having cultivated over 300 client-partner relationships and amassing a staggering portfolio of over 45,000 renderings. Vittori has built a company culture of honest work ethic and creative collaboration and that culture is what drives his dedicated team.
We wanted to get an inside look at what the process is like from our client’s perspective and so we went to one of our long-standing partners to find out what it’s like to work with us as a rendering partner and what sets us apart in a crowded field of global competitors.
CambridgeSeven is a world-renowned and much-celebrated firm. It has gained international acclaim for its uncompromising focus on ethical building practices and is described by the American Institute of Architects as “an influential and stimulating example, demonstrating new directions of professional practice.”
We spoke with Stefanie Greenfield, a Design Principal who has been developing projects all over the world with CambridgeSeven for nearly 30 years, about the experience of working with rendering firms at large, the collaborative approach of Tangram 3DS, and the future of this evolving industry. The first step in starting a project with Tangram 3DS, Greenfield explains, is gathering insights from her team:  
Tangram 3DS
“We meet as an architectural design team engaging our landscape designers, graphic designers, lighting designers and key team members.  By reviewing the images together we can collaborate internally and gather comments as a group. We try not to confuse Tangram with a lot of disparate comments, so we prioritize ensuring we have a single, coherent voice communicating our shared ideas.”
We work hard to interpret the intentions of our partners. The more we work together with our partners, the more we understand their language, and with each project we are able to translate their concepts into reality with greater speed but also with greater fidelity to their true vision. This is especially important when working with a firm of CambridgeSeven’s caliber. Greenfield appreciates our reverence for superb design and refined materials:  
“Tangram is great at capturing an atmosphere. On the Foundry project our design goal was to contrast the historic brick building with new modern architectural steel insertions. They did a great job showcasing our modern metal elements with correct texture against the backdrop of the masonry structure. We loved the final view which was quite a dramatic image that widened the angle of the interior atrium and made a highly compelling rendering.”
Tangram 3DS
We appreciate CambridgeSeven’s collaborative approach and that it extends to the firms that they partner with. We are big believers that open channels of communication, where all ideas are valid and respectfully considered, foster creative thinking and thoughtful, effective revisions.
“The Tangram team is open-minded and shares our vision for finding the best design solution,” Greenfield says. “The most effective part of the process is Tangram helping us focus and hone in on the actual view. Sometimes the most challenging part is finding the “wow moment” ; the team is really good at sending us quick vignettes to try different perspectives.”
“The design process becomes iterative when we start to see the initial imagery through renderings…Tangram helps us strengthen our design by staying open and flexible through the process as well, they bring their own creative talents to the table to promote design excellence.”
“At Boston’s One Dalton, [the] renderings for a luxury apartment were so successful in capturing the sensuality of wood and stone materials we were using in the project.  Stefan’s team really captured the quality of light on a curved wood wall that evoked the warmth just right. and showcased light in the penthouse unit hitting the wood finish to dazzle you. It was really powerful.”
Tangram 3DS
Understanding the needs of a project and a partner goes beyond materials and finishes. We are in the business of visualizing spaces, yes, but we take to heart that our partners are designing physical environments for real communities across the globe and we strive to serve their mission with earnestness and authenticity. This is something that Greenfield appreciates because, as she notes:
“CambridgeSeven provides design work all over the world. All these projects have unique and varied communities. Tangram has a diverse rendering farm to make our images come alive and meet indigenous and unique rendering needs. They are great at listening and integrating entourage that reflects the communities we serve.”
Tangram 3DS
We are honored and humbled that, in many ways, Greenfield considers Tangram 3DS to be an extension of her team. She knows that we are invested in the success of each and every project and that it is a point of pride for us to have been able to work with CambridgeSeven on so many projects. Because we have built such a strong and long-lasting partnership with CambridgeSeven, Greenfield knows, right out of the gate, that her projects are in good hands:
“They know what we need and after years of working together this has become seamless for our firm…Once you’re in the CambridgeSeven family, you stay with us. I know I can call [CEO] Stefan or [Creative Director] Jared with anything and that they will support us. Trust is incredibly valuable.”          
“My dream as an architect is that everything we want to see can be rendered realistically and instantaneously! Tangram is already on the next level with animations, flythroughs, and cinematic experiences and if they can continue to leverage emerging software and techniques they’ll continue to be leading the path for the future built environment.”

We truly value the relationship we’ve built with CambridgeSeven and we work hard to bring the same creativity, expertise, efficiency, and professionalism to every project we take on with a client, whether it’s the first or the four hundredth. We are grateful to CambridgeSeven, and all our partners, for continuing to trust us to bring their visions to life.

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About this article

Tangram 3DS speaks with Principle Designer, Stefanie Greenfield, from CambridgeSeven. They discuss the designer side of the Architectural Visualization pipeline, how Tangram facilitates CambridgeSeven's goals, and how rendering partners can compound their value over time.

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About the author

Kyle Ouellette

Senior Architectural Visualizer & Project Manager at Tangram 3DS

placePortsmouth, US