2D and 3D Architectural Design Workflow

Architectural Design Q&A: An Interview with Woojae Sung

This article is part of a series of interviews with practicing architects who use Concepts in some part of their workflow. In each interview, we explore their design process and the tools they use to create lasting architectural designs.

1. Tell us about you — what you do, what your passions are, where you live/work, how you got to this point in your career.

2. What is your design process like? Where do you gather your inspiration and what prepares you for creating an architectural design?

3. What tools/programs do you use in your design process? How does Concepts fit into your workflow?

4. Discuss scaling and the possibilities to import and export to/from standard CAD programs.

5. How do you feel the 2D / 3D workflow serves your design process? What advantages do 3D models give you, and what advantages do 2D sketches give you?


Woojae Sung: My name is Woojae Sung, an architect/designer working in New York. Currently I am running my own practice, Selective-Amplification, and also serving as an Associate at Grimshaw Architects in New York. Previously, I worked for OMA and SHoP Architects in New York.

Concepts is a very flexible and powerful tool. I do idea sketches and diagrams on the “infinite canvas”, one of my favorite features of the app, and develop 3d models based upon the ideas. With these models, I produce very detailed perspectives or architectural drawings in Concepts for design discussions with design teams, consultants and clients.

A proposal for a Denver Art Museum project.

The infinite canvas helps me dump ideas without interruption. All I have to do in brainstorming phase is to draw on the canvas, panning around. Then I reorganize later in Indesign.

Brainstorming.

These are examples of the sketches I make for various projects.

Concept sketch for a Sustainability Pavilion for the Dubai Expo 2020.
Another sketch for Dubai Expo 2020.
Aerial view of a hatchery project.

I create many design schemes, whatever is necessary to communicate and envision possibilities.

A schematic design of the Arboretum of Rare & Distinctive Plants in Hainan, China.
An alternate layout.
Yet another scheme.

As projects develop, I typically work in 3D modeling tools such as Rhino3D and Grasshopper (a parametric design tool in Rhino). Whenever it is necessary, I take a screen capture, save it to Dropbox, and bring it into Concepts. I sketch over the image to add more info, detail, notes or annotations in order to communicate with the design team.

Spatial modeling with Rhino and detailing with Concepts of Let’s Run Park in Korea.
An inside view of the same project.

For presentations or for booklets, I prepare 3D perspective renders and similarly bring them into the app. I trace over them very carefully using pen tools, and later add colors using the Fill tool in a separate layer. Occasionally I export this to Adobe Cloud using PSD format for a final retouch, but most often I skip this last step, as Concepts is near to perfect for what I do.

A 3D render in Rhino of a Chicago Union Station Project.
Imported screenshot into Concepts, starting to add detail.
Giving life to the scene.
Just the ink.
Using the Fill Tool to add shadows and dimension.
Adding color.
Airbrush for gradients and atmosphere.

For scaling, I usually put a scale bar in the 3d/2d model and include those in the screen capture, so I can get a sense of scale when I trace over or put in additional information. I have tried a couple of other sketching applications with scaling capabilities, but none of them were successful.

A schematic design for the Arboretum of Rare & Distinctive Plants.

In an ideal case scenario, I believe what we (as architects) design should be fully thought out in 3D in a very early design phase.

Initial brainstorming for an upside down island concept for the Busan Mulmangol Bunker Regeneration.
A final 3D model image for the project.

However, this is not the most efficient, economic, or sustainable way to distribute architects’ limited time and efforts in communicating with others. And interestingly, people tend to stay more focused on subject matters when presented with sketches, simply because sketches can be very easily crafted as opposed to photo realistic renders.

Community Center Proposal, City of Edmonton, Canada. This axon shows the hub of the community center where different activities overlap.

The key to creating innovative design is through considered, thorough communication of ideas. This means sketching the vision until you bring it to life.

Woojae Sung


For more of Woojae’s projects, visit http://selective-amplification.net/.

Follow Woojae on Instagram, dedicated to design sketches in multiple platforms.

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Interview by Erica Christensen — Director of Community at TopHatch