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Andrea Foffa

MA work

ArchViz, 1990-2010. Emergence and diffusion of architectural renderings in the UK

Today, CGI of unbuilt architectural designs can be found ever so frequently: online or offline, in specialist media or national newspapers, as they are constantly issued by architectural practices and developers worldwide. While there is a growing trend for the in house visualiser (often proficient with multiple software, such as 3DStudioMax, Cinema4D, Maya and Photoshop), the niche market of outsourced, specialised, visualisation agencies keeps growing since its emergence in the early 1990s. The aim of this research is to reconstruct the narrative of this young industry in the UK: how it originated, and for what purpose; who were the individuals pioneering certain technologies, and the ways these have come to define a contemporary understanding of the architectural rendering. A weekly UK based architectural magazine (The Architects’ Journal) serves as case study to further understand how this imagery has been mediated between practitioners and journalists, and the extent to which the journal as a designed object has adapted to accommodate and exploit digital visualisation. Finally, the dissertation aims to understand how the arch-viz industry impacted on the wide network of the architectural industry, partnering with other professional services rooted in marketing, communication and public relations. By questioning authorship, stylisation and uses of renderings, this research identifies a generally misrepresented profession, teetering between artistic recognition and sales gimmick, as well as a radical change in the relationship between architecture and the media.


  • MA Degree


    School of Humanities


    MA History of Design, 2017

  • Andrea is a design historian with a background in architectural design. His MA research work focuses on renderings, CGI, and on the rising industry of architectural visualisation in the UK since the 1990s. Other research interests include Italian design, exhibition design as an interdisciplinary research tool, and the ways material culture is mediated. He has worked on exhibitions and in communication for design companies and cultural institutions.

  • Degrees

  • BSC Architectural Design, Politecnico di Milano, 2012