Frontiers of Architectural Visualization with Chaos V-Ray and Lenovo Workstations

Every design has a story to tell

Throughout history, visualization has played a vital role in design storytelling. Whether it is a physical model, drawing, painting or 3D cinematic animation – visualization allows us to see into the mind of the architect and experience their vision before it’s real. 

Smarter works in real time

Advances in workstation hardware from Lenovo and NVIDIA RTX technology have enabled software developer Chaos to accelerate their award-winning visualization solutions, enabling architects, designers and engineers to create richer, more lifelike stories – faster and easier than ever. Chaos V-Ray is the industry-standard photorealistic ray-tracing software for architectural rendering and storytelling. Chaos Vantage makes real-time ray tracing drag-and-drop easy. Both solutions perform best on powerful workstation hardware like Lenovo ThinkPad & ThinkStation P Series workstations with NVIDIA RTX professional graphics.

The Archilime Academy, Chaos V-Ray and Lenovo Workstations bring Koto Designs Palm Springs house to life

UK-based visualization experts and training facility the Archilime Academy teamed with Chaos, NVIDIA and Lenovo to visualize a stunning home in Palm Springs, California, designed by leading architectural firm Koto Design. Koto’s unique design embraces the warmth of Scandinavian minimalism and fits perfectly into its desert environment. The home will be built by Plant Prefab using state-of-the-art prefabrication techniques and designed to meet carbon-neutral energy standards, complete with energy monitoring and smart home technology. The result will be a beautiful, sustainable home that is both stylish and comfortable.

The challenge of visualizing the rocky, desert landscape of Palm Springs and subtle play of light shade throughout the day on the Koto-designed home gave the Archilime Academy opportunity to use the power of V-Ray 6 for SketchUp to create cinematics that capture the personality of the structure at one with its environment. They modeled a complete 3D scene of the Palm Springs site – everything from the rocky cliff landscape to individual vinyl records in the living room. With a heavy focus on adding tangible texture to every surface, the Archilime Academy used a collection of maps and procedural modeling and rendering techniques to ensure that every object and surface looks photorealistic when viewed at any distance.

Detailed rendering of the exterior of the house with natural surroundings

V-Ray 6’s new feature ‘Enmesh’ allowed the Archilime Academy to create complex geometric patterns which prevents lagging as their visualizers move naturally around the SketchUp model. For the gabion walls, they used this system to freely switch between different types of mesh to contain the stone. The Archilime Academy also employed this system to visualize knitted throws and detailed fabrics, allowing the personality of essential design details to shine in close-up shots.

The design and location of the Palm Springs House was informed by passage of the sun throughout the day. Achieving realistic lighting conditions was an absolute must to truly tell the story of this unique home. The Archilime Academy employed Chaos’s fully customisable procedurally based sky system, allowing them to simulate a variety of cloud types and weather conditions that perfectly communicate the unique personality of the Koto home at various times of day.

Overhead exterior view of the house

Lenovo Workstations and Chaos V-Ray are better together

Such complex visualizations place extraordinary demands on workstation hardware. “A key component to any project that involves visualization is ensuring that our hardware can keep pace,” explains Dan Stone, head of operations at the Archilime Academy. “We also worked with NVIDIA, the creators of the powerful RTX graphics cards that rendered out every single frame of the animation, and Lenovo, whose ThinkPad P1 mobile workstations enabled us to collaborate on the move with live Chaos Vantage workshops.”

To learn more about the Koto Design project, and how Chaos V-Ray is better together with Lenovo ThinkStation & ThinkPad P Series, please visit


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