To get a proposal: 413-250-8800 or jakers3(at)

Painting Tutorials

How-to watercolor and sketching tutorials demonstrating tips, tricks and techniques used in the Procreate app, using Apple Pencil and iPad Pro. Also, thoughts about life and architecture in NYC and the Berkshires, MA

When Architectural Renderers Are Also Architects, Architecture Clients Study Options More Cost-Efficiently

Alan C. is a developer and very smart guy. Why? (OK, I'm biased.) Because he called me out of the blue in 2005 and said something to the effect of "Hey, I have this site and I want to study the as-of-right possibilities. I see from your site you are also a registered architect. If I show you plans and sections of a building I have in mind, will you design the exterior, make the presentation drawings and help me pitch the concept to the powers that be?"

As it happens, I had had something similar in mind for a long time. Why not approach developers directly explaining that as an architect with a gift for presentation, I could help them study their options (not claiming to offer final services, mind you) more quickly and efficiently than engaging a "high profile" architect who--given the exigencies of running a large practice--would just assign the exercise to a couple of talented in-house designers anyway, slowing the whole thing down and making it cost 2 to 5 times my fee?

So I said yes, and we began the collaboration pictured below. We used a combination of traditional and digital architectural rendering techniques to explore directions, culminating in the simple black-and-white digital renderings at the end. I'm going to leave out the commentary and just make this a visual journey for now, but suffice it to say that the economic meltdown of 2008 froze the banking system and took down the project. Unless something has happened, I am confident Alan C. and his gorgeous wife S. are passing the time cooking, drinking red wine, dabbling with a little spleef from time to time, and listening to a whole lot of Bob Dylan. He's gonna rise again, trust me.

Early study based on SketchUp massing study (below)

Idea of pre-fab, stackable units enters in:

Note that project sits on top of parking...always a challenge:

Detour into another idea...


Back to a funkier rhythm:

See Part 2 above.

James Akers