Arlington Timber Frames - Case Study

Shiver Me Timbers! Rendering Timber Frame Structures with IRender nXt for SketchUp

We're off to Windsor in Nova Scotia, Canada, to chat with Marilyn West of Arlington Timber Frames Limited. Arlington designs and build timber frame structures using traditional mortise and tenon joinery, pegged together like timber frames have been for centuries. They have produced hundreds of timber frames over the last three decades, and the frames' strength and integrity will ensure that they will be around for the enjoyment of future generations. As well as houses, Arlington builds timber frame cottages, churches, barns, studios and commercial structures.

In 2017 Arlington moved from Sheffield Mills to Windsor. if you happen to visit Windsor in the future and want to say hello, you'll have no trouble finding Arlington's shop - it's next to the water tower with the giant ice hockey player on it!

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Hi Marilyn, timber frame design looks like a great niche to be in, how long have you been doing this?
I have been specializing in timber frame design since the beginning days of Arlington. I remember that as a child, my favourite toys were a set of red plastic "brick" building blocks and a dollhouse. My play became my work, and while I am involved in all aspects of the design process, my favourite part is 3D design and rendering - it's like playing with a virtual dollhouse.

If you've been involved in designing for that long, your design skills have obviously evolved with new technology.
Yes, my college training consisted of hand drafting only, and over the years I have taught myself to use AutoCAD, SketchUp and, most recently, IRender nXt.

Why has rendering become an important part of your design process?
Many people have difficulty interpreting a set of architectural plans. Having the ability to produce photorealistic renderings has been a great advantage from both a construction and marketing point of view - rendered 3D views of a project are particularly helpful when making a client presentation. They get people, including myself, excited about the design possibilities! It has definitely brought greater satisfaction to my work as well.

Tell us about a recent project you’ve done for which you’ve produced renderings using IRender nXt.
Some of my favourite renderings were produced for a social centre to be built in a retirement community here in Nova Scotia. The social centre boasts a vaulted timber-framed hall as well as an outdoor kitchen and gazebo, which are being handcrafted by us. The client provided conceptual drawings and preliminary plans from which I produced photorealistic renderings using IRender nXt. These renderings have been used in brochures and presentations to help promote the project.

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What elements do you pay most attention to when you render?
The most challenging aspect of rendering for me, and the most satisfying when achieved, is implementing the best lighting to highlight the features of a project. This is what I pay the most attention to when rendering an image because the lighting can make or break the final image. IRender nXt is very user friendly and even a user new to the software can produce exciting images using these tools. Discovering IRender nXt was a game changer for me!

Thanks for taking the time to talk to us, Marilyn. We hope you'll share more of your renderings with us in the future!

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