Framingham State College; for Pfeufer Richardson Architects, Boston

I had done some renderings for Framingham State College last year, for Einhorn Yaffee Prescott and Pfeufer Richardson. They were three grey-scale pencil views executed during design development, in order to communicate the then-current state of the design to the client, for their approval.

Some time later, late fall, we did a new color view for publicity purposes and fund-raising.  When the color image was reviewed by the client, they were happy enough with it that the decision was made to re-do the original pair of pencil sketches as color views also.

I finally found some time last week to slide these into the schedule.  Here’s the first image, a shot of the building at the main portal, where students pass into or under the building from their way to or from other parts of the campus.  Under the glass cubic volume, at the ground floor, are entrances to the dormitory, and a grab-n-go coffee and snack venue.

Portal View, Framingham State College New Dormitory Einhorn Yaffee Prescoot and Pfeufer Richardson

View of the Portal, with Common Rooms above. 11x17, 300dpi

Detail of Dormitory Rendering for Framingham State College Einhorn Yaffee Prescott and Pfeufer Richardson

Detail, about 5x5, showing the texture of the sky and Reflected light from the Metal and Glass Boxed Bay Windows

Detail of Dormitory Rendering for Framingham State College Einhorn Yaffee Prescott and Pfeufer Richardson

A Detail at the Portal with Common Rooms Above, Looking through to the Quad Beyond

Detail of Dormitory Rendering for Framingham State College Einhorn Yaffee Prescott and Pfeufer Richardson

An Enlargement of the Previous Detail, about 3x4 and close to full resolution

The previous image was a view of the portal from an angle we hadn’t studied before.  When the color image was reviewed by the Architects’ client, they were pleased enough to suggest that two earlier pencil views should be also executed in color. These are the original renderings, done some time early in 2009.

Pencil Sketches Dormitory for Framingham State College Einhorn Yaffee Prescott Pfeufer Richardson Architects

Two Earlier Pencil Sketches of the Proposed Dormitory at Framingham State College

The same digital model was used, re-lit, with some basic colors or textures added to inform the ambient light.  It was rendered out as a base to work from, and painted over in Photoshop.

Digital Rendering of Quad View, Framingham State College Dormitory EYP and PRA Architects

The Quad view, in color, at 11x17 and 300dpi

I’d really liked the pencil sky of the earlier version, with its clouds or contrails introducing an interesting energy to the sky.  Cute puffy clouds are a little trite sometimes, and so I try to introduce some visual interest into the sky whenever possible.  Still, it needs to support rather than dominate. I thought that to literally re-use the same sky, only now in color, might be a little too easy and a little too graphic.  But I kept the same idea, horizontal clouds vanishing with some perspective, and made them into clearing rain clouds. A little deeper in value, a little less graphic.

Detail, about 4x9 inches, showing the Glass of the stacked Common Rooms and the Portal below them, at right

Framingham State Dormitory EYP PRA Architects

Detail showing the Lounges at the end of the Dormitory Hallway, and the Staircase connecting the floors. Detail is about 8x8

...a further enlargement of the previous detail

The  second view is from the Campus Entry, which we have been referring to as the “Gate View”.  The center of interest of the image is a large cube-like lounge space of glass and wood anchoring the corner and floated out into space on a brick plinth.  The charge of the art direction was to express the glassiness of this corner and the glassed lounges above it, against the wonderful background texture of brick-punched windows and clinging metal bays.

Framingham State College Dormitory for EYP and PRA

The "Gate View" of a new Dormitory at Framingham State College, the original at 12x12 and 300dpi

A portion of the Image, taken at nearly full-resolution. My intent was to keep the sky very loose and organic, somewhat dark as well, to reinforce the light and angularity of the glass box and punched brick wall.

The nature of the Glass was a primary concern. My intent was to describe some sense of the glass being reflective when seen at a steep angle, on the upper levels, growing more transparent as the viewing angle is lowered toward the bottom.

In the earlier pencil image, I had worked to develop a sense of depth to the image along the sidewalk, as the street progressed deeper and deeper into the background.  I wanted to retain that sense of depth in the color image, because the side of the building vanished very quickly and was showing a hundred feet or so of building in the space of just a few inches.

Near-full resolution enlargement from the left-hand portion of the rendering, implying some depth with atmospheric perspective. The building fades, becomes less saturated, and gains a bluish tint as the depth increases.

The color versions were produced under the direction of Preston Richardson at Pfeufer Richardson Architects of Boston, with design information and input from Desmond MacAuley of EYP/ Einhorn Yaffee Prescott, Boston, the design architects for the project. They were executed in February 2010.


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4 responses to “Framingham State College; for Pfeufer Richardson Architects, Boston

  1. Marcos

    What a fantastic Job, Jeff! Congratulations!!

    I have a question: on your Framingham State College renderings it seems that you have a mixture of hand and digital techniques. Could you describe how much post-processing do you do once the watercolor “is ready”? Do you use mostly Photoshop or any other software?

    Thanks, and once again congratulations. Your renderings are awesome!


    • Thanks for the comments, Marcos. I like to think that it is all “hand” drawn, it’s just that the entire thing was done digitally, rather than on paper.

      In a way, I guess, it is all post-processing. I model and light the physical elements and environment, rendering out a photoshop file with multiple channels (shadows, light, materials, etc.) generated by the modeling software.

      I open that in PS, and using a small stable of brushes (paintbrushes and a pattern stamp brush or two), I develop the image layer by layer.

      I almost never use filters. The “watercolor” filter in Photoshop is probably the one thing on this planet which looks least like watercolor.

      I might use a filter to kill some detail, especially with entourage. There is a woesome habit among illustrators to include people and cars and trees which are much more detailed than the center of interest (whatever it is that they are illustrating). All that does is suck attention away from the very thing you want to communicate.

      There are a few filters that can reduce detail and simply things, but even then that’s only a good start, you still need to work over everything by hand to unify it and play things down or pump them up.

      I tried Painter a while ago. Meh. Too literal in it’s attempt to replicate, and (at least then, in 10.0) too slow with lots of brush lag. I paint in photoshop after modeling in sketchup and/or Cinema4D.

  2. Tatiana

    These are so beautiful and I just wanted to thank you for your inspiring website. I’m an intern architect (or whatever we are calling the unlicensed these days) and looking to practice my presentation skills. I’m always lurking to see what you have posted. Thanks!

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