One of the criticisms of design for the built environment is that it can sometimes become more about the designer than the client or the end user. At RVi our approach has always been focused on what’s best for the client, the user, and the community as a whole – and we seek to understand those perspectives through collaboration and communication.

But regardless of how collaborative and communicative we are, at the end of the day, the design process comes down to designers going back to their offices and seemingly working magic to translate what they heard into something that can be built. This is where the process becomes inherently less transparent and has the most opportunity for misalignment. At RVi we are developing new tools to make the design process more inclusive, collaborative, and transparent – thanks in part to 3D visualization.

When we first began using 3D visualization software at RVi, the emphasis was on showing the end design. Our goal was to create a realistic image that was representative of our design and could be presented to the client, user, stakeholder, or the general public. Check out some of the finished graphics we have created for our clients below.

River Run

La Cima

Oak Hill Parkway






West Park Estates


Harvest at Queen Creek







You can also see our 3D fly-throughs on our Vimeo page.

3D graphics are still very useful for the purpose of demonstrating the final design concept, but as the software has become more robust and more user-friendly, we have broadened the role of graphics beyond representing the final product to encompass the process of creating the design, too.

RVi Designer Robin Winter has led the firm’s 3D visualization studio, beginning with the incorporation of Lumion software to create finished graphics. Robin is now demonstrating how we can use Lumion to involve clients in the creation of the design. “When we meet with a client or user group, we can make updates to the 3D model in real time. We can adjust almost anything about the design – from the height of an entry monument to the materials used to build it, to the plant selections that surround it,” Robin said. “Multiple iterations used to take days – sometimes weeks. With this technology we can do multiple iterations in a matter of minutes, and the best part is that the client is right there, participating in the conversation.”

Incorporating 3D visualization into the design process has helped our clients have greater influence in the design and has allowed them to make more informed decisions about their projects. Stay tuned as we continue to look for ways to enhance collaboration and increase transparency in design.