Mixed-use building, Luxembourg, 2022
Panoptikon & STOA
STOA & Panoptikon
3D exterior imagery
3D aerial shots
In 2021, with a stringent need for housing opportunities, the City of Luxembourg launched a competition for the reconfiguration of the central Belair neighborhood. The winning urban plan proposed a dense, sustainable new destination spread among some existing historic landmarks and former public amenities, with residential, cultural, and commercial functions.
This new area was to get a new tram route, an underground bus hub for traffic-free street life and a park, and preserve the old firefighters’ neighborhood (nowadays a very chic area).
After urban planning, a diversity of property developers, architects, and construction experts were expected to build according to the strategic direction of livability, intergenerational living, and respect for the local environment, while property experts were planning to fit the buildings into the market. All those endeavors required visualization support to get approval, finalize facades and interiors, and without further ado start presale.
ICN commissioned us to create the visual material for a high-end project named ‘UpSide’. Our exterior shots would position the project in its urban surrounding before the interior design and visualization phase. With a project signed by world-renowned studio Arquitectonica, the development was rising on Route d’Arlon, a sloped boulevard overlooking Belair, hence the name UpSide.
The site merged four smaller lots with modernist houses whose street facades were to be kept and integrated. The new construction would mix residential spaces with offices. A two-leveled underground parking would solve the demand for human-centered streets.
Interestingly, Route d’Arlon forms a V shape with St Croix, a secondary un-sloped street with lovely little houses that border the backside of our site. Thus, the secondary facade of UpSide was of equal importance to Arquitectonica. Our exteriors showcased this sunnier facade, its loggias, terraces, and lush vegetation. We were also commissioned to design the residential / office interiors, a process described in a separate case study.
Summary of the brief:
– Gorgeous rendering of the architectural vocabulary: good proportions and rhythm, contemporary materiality, spectacular glazing, high quality of life
– Lively depiction of the ground-floor and Rue d’Arlon
– Human-centered approach in picturing the rooftops, terraces, loggias and outdoors, which are excellent selling points
– Rich neighborhood detailing to reveal the impact on the community
– Strategic visualization to explain the exact range of ICN’s offerings without misleading the audience.
Urban development projects, with their successive phases and smaller parts, require coordination and flexibility. With a stream of incoming / outgoing data, we pursued a cyclical workflow, as every modification would have impacted other teams involved.
No doubt, the coordination master has been ICN Development. They inter-mediated data and timeline management for everyone involved. Then our turn came to manage our collaboration with the interior designers at STOA. We summarized previous feedback rounds to inform them about the desired look and feel of the project. We created briefs for site and drone photographs to use in the aerials. Strategy and clarity turned out our best qualities for excellent teamwork and high-quality results.
We built the 3D environment that subsequently assisted design choices and the refinement of UpSide. Our drafts proved sufficiently complex to inform the architects about which building parts needed technical detailing, so we’d later update the model with new solutions.
KPF architects were designing the neighboring building (there’s a linear street front), and we pondered whether to include it in our images. Together with ICN, we decided to keep both possibilities open, render the KPF building based on online findings, and deliver two versions of aerials. There’s an open-ended discussion on the extent / limits of collaborating with competitors, and we’ll continue to explore it.
Our fine-tuned visualization craft has been essential in the creation of those spectacular exteriors, with all the cladding, glazing, planting, and real-market materials. The aerials requested equal thoroughness to achieve such a level of photorealism.
We’re proud to acknowledge that visual expertise also sharpened our critical thinking and perceptual acuity, enabling us to create those emotionally-charged images. Most certainly, those pictures will seep through the souls of Luxembourgers, as they have already been included in the project’s website and work wonders at showing potential buyers glimpses of their future lives.