The spirit

In the July 2012 issue of d’a, the editorial asked whether imagery of architecture was really the necessary evil that it appears to be :

The architect believes himself to be a magician : concrete becomes diaphonous, see-through glass buildings shine like diamonds, volumes without flanks or unbecoming acroteria are chiselled out with their fine edges and rise weightlessly up into the sky. In the first plane, in the soft summer dusk, children play in the tall grass under the leaves of springtime or autumnal trees. This development in regards to digital imagery concurs with a certain form of show of architecture where the vast majority of architects, either by conviction or jealousy, condemn excessiveness . They associate it , rightly or wrongly, to the dictatorship of the image which they honour even more since they have almost all given in to the temptation of its power.

Before the project there is the dream of the project. This dream takes form through the transmission of an emotion. Is it wrong to want to share it ? What should one think of an image that is too beautiful ? That the project is inevitably a bad one ? Is it the image or the project that is being judged ? Does an image of architecture possess an artistic quality, one that goes beyond the project represented, one which would justify the selection of a project ? What are the alternative objective criteria that enable a project to be understood, better than when using a perspective drawing, when the choice is being made ? Are the graphic artists responsible for the ostricisation of the specification criteria when a jury deliberates ? Must they therefore censor themselves and denature their work, ? Is the dreamlike quality contained in an image so harmful, that a bleak and abstract vision should be imposed ? Is quality better portrayed through abstraction ? Is not architecture at the very centre of life, light and space ? For this reason, don’t images of architecture attempt to reveal that part of the project that a bare line cannot render ? What would the alternative be ? The « naked » 3D model ? The analogue model ? The geometrical plan drawn with Rotring and without shadings ? Back to the 80s !

But going back is impossible, quite simply because the computer is at the origin of a new way of seeing. The signature buildings of the years 2000, those which signed the style of our era, could never have seen the day without CAD. The digital imagery of communication is merely a basic form of this technology. Architecture is above and before all a profession of imagery. From the very beginning, before constructing, architects have had to harness energy. Whether through a model, plans or 3D image, the representation of a project passes through the eye. How can those who seek to add another dimension to their work be blamed ? Poetry distinguishes and enhances the act of construction. It must also precede it.

How can one, in the era of digital and green backdrop cinema work, justify depriving oneself of the means to convince, and sometimes, inspire enthusiasm ? A good project, when served by a good image, always find its way forward better. Instead one could ask oneself if the eyes of the decison-makers have not been, little by little, educated by trial and, sometimes, by error ? Public taste has evolved too. There is not a single commune that can avoid using a beautiful image to communicate around its projects. The specialized sites and social networks hunt relentlessly to uncover the snapshot that will illustrate the project-stakes being debated. The image has become a sort of « proof », it cannot erase itself from the web . For some it becomes a form of totem, crystallizing expectations… and serving to thwart danger in the event of a delay.

It is in this context that Golem charts its course… established in 2008 after the evolution of Depaule & Associates, the origin of the company really goes back to 1995, on the eve of the first digital images of architecture. Since then the « style » of the firm has remained unchanged. It is the very platonic submission to the natural rules of light and space, yet is controlled by the desire to please the eye. We perceive the chaos and noise that surrounds us, yet we do not want them to find an echo in our work. We want to avoid the superfluous, the kitsch, the artifice used as a facility. We take advantage of technological evolutions, we experiment in fields lying just beyond our core business, yet we continue to preserve our belief in the search for emotion : architecture is a message to be understood that we refuse to leave to the « machine ». this is why our work preserves this graphical and sometimes pictorial quality. It the search for this impression of reality, that is both honest and epicurean, that makes us progress in our work.

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Golem Studio


  • Architects – Modeling
  • 3D CG artists – Shading/Lighting
  • 2D CG artists – Compositing


  • Image database
  • In-house production tools
  • Render farm
  • Linux server
  • Optical fibre


  • Step-by-step validation
  • Delivery in high resolution
  • Homogeneous images