Wouldn’t it be nice if we could all live in the dreamscape neighborhoods depicted in architectural renderings? The sun is always shining, traffic is minimal, and the people look so carefree and unhurried. The warm light in watercolor washes is so flattering, especially to building materials like concrete clapboard that up close don’t look so soft around the edges.
We have the technology to create virtual reality simulations of what proposed buildings would look like in their real-life urban context, yet major development projects are routinely approved based on old-fashioned renderings — the architectural equivalent of what fashion models are to real women.
This idea struck me today, as I walked past the new apartment building going up on the corner of Concord Avenue and Wheeler Street. A sign identifying the project includes one of the renderings, inviting a side-by-side comparison to the reality. Compare the photos below with the renderings:
The same developer is proposing another even larger project on New Street, and the renderings for that project make it look like Shangri-La.
For the uninitiated It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia is a TV comedy about a fictional Irish bar in South Philly named Paddy’s Pub. Lots of deception takes place.