LandARCHConcepts - Case Study

Ambitious Landscape and Building Integrated Design Project Using IRender nXt for SketchUp

For this case study we talked with Graham Slocombe, a landscape and garden designer based in the UK.  He has over 38 years of related professional experience, and his education includes a BSc (Hons) in landscape design and a Master of Horticulture degree from the Royal Horticultural Society.  From 1999 to 2002, Graham visited and studied at an academic level 237 celebrated gardens of various styles in Italy, France, Portugal and the United Kingdom.  Graham has also authored and contributed to several landscape themed books.

He established his “A Room Outside” practice in 1987 and renamed it LandARCHConcepts in 2016.  LandARCHConcepts specializes in cultured landscape design and management, specifically English, Mediterranean and Continental landscapes.  

So Graham, noting those 237 gardens you visited, which was your favourite?

Picking one is difficult because there are so many different styles, and I like more than one style, but to pin one of them I would have to say the beautiful ‘Moorish’ Palácio Fronteira, or in English the Frontera Palace, in Lisbon.  The exuberance and inherent metaphor of the Moorish gardens and architecture encapsulates a dimension missing in many of the other architectural and landscape styles.  This style has influenced my work a great deal, especially in the Mediterranean.  

With your many years of experience in landscape design and management, when did you start using SketchUp, and subsequently rendering software, to bring your designs to life?

I had worked with AutoCAD 3D and 3D Studio back in university, but it was so cumbersome to use and the output so dire that I did not entertain the idea of 3D modelling and rendering until 2012. 

It’s a funny story actually.  My fellow undergraduate students and I cracked a couple bottles of wine in the design studio with the professor when it was all over and our projects submitted – it was best described as purgatory on 386 computers, sort of ‘thank goodness that’s done with!’  My 3D project submission for that module was a black humorous, satirical version of a Japanese garden with a lot of intrinsic metaphor, culminating in a secret garden space where the traumatized AutoCAD 3D designer could commit hara-kiri or ritual suicide!  All my fellow straight-laced students were sure I would be thrown off the course for my written philosophical insolence.  I got a first-class award!  My professor loved it and used it as propaganda to weasel new 486 computers from a tight-fisted budget department! 

Anyway in 2012 I assumed things might have moved on enough to wet my appetite.  I had wanted a refresher course in 3D AutoCAD and I was recommended to try Google Sketchup from an AutoCAD trainer, when I mentioned AutoCAD 3D he coughed and pointed at Sketchup!   

How long have you been using IRender nXt, and why did you choose to use this particular rendering software?

In 2012 in the same year I dove into Sketchup, so I have used IRender nXt religiously for 6 years.  I chose IRender initially on price, yes I know it’s shallow, but I wanted to test the rendering water before I invested big because I was still coloured negatively by the limitations of 3D Studio from university days.  One month working with IRender and I knew there was no need to look further a field as it had everything I needed.  

What is it that has kept you loyal to IRender nXt over the years?

Without question the quality of output in relation to the friendly user interface, which allows you to become productive in minutes rather than months – that’s so important! 

Equally though, the amazing and unique ‘lighting channel’ feature.  All my promotional and presentation work has unintentionally evolved around the lighting channels feature.  It allows me to take my clients into the design and to let them experience a dynamic lighting ambience that the other rendering engines simply can’t do.  I get multiple render images of different lighting ambiences inherently with one render job, as my videos illustrate.  Really this is a priceless feature, its magnificent!

To this however, I must add the rapid and excellent customer service, that is second to none.  This too is so fundamental, design is a pressured profession and you can’t wait 5 days for a response to a query or problem.  The turnaround to a query with the Render Plus team rarely exceeds an hour!   

When you have contacted us for assistance at Render Plus Software over the years, we’ve always been impressed with the complexity of your designs and thus the demands you have placed on IRender nXt to perform.  When we caught wind of your most recent project, the modern synagogue and garden design, we decided we’d like to learn more about what you’ve done, and show some renderings from the project.

The synagogue, plaza landscape and associated garden is my most ambitious promotional work using IRender (rendering) and WonderShare (video) to date.  The contemporary synagogue is a design for a synagogue and public plaza in the south of France. The Jewish world garden is associated to the synagogue on the other side of the road.

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I created a strong sense of place by basing the architectural lines of the synagogue on the hidden gematria code beneath Barachit 1 (Genesis 1), which reveals a blueprint for a star tetrahedron and the formation of the Star, or Shield, of David.  The garden metaphorically charts the origin of the Jewish people and their subsequent journey from Eden to the restoration, thus injecting meaning to augment function and physical attributes in the 'sense of place.'  The garden also contains a purpose designed sculpture I called the 'Torah Illumination Scroll.'   I took the advice of a photographer friend who pushed me for more and more realism in the form of background land and cityscape, diverse skies and realistic people. 

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You can see further renderings from this project here.  

And to pull this all together, you produced a couple of videos!

I created one video of the synagogue renderings and the other of the garden renderings.  I am very pleased with these after putting in a massive amount of work, and they certainly represent a milestone in my IRender and video production.  

What about the interior of the synagogue?

I have modelled the interior of the synagogue too, but the renderings will take a while so I initially published the 2 videos.  I also have in mind to release a conceptually different video.  The aim would be to show how I took and synergised the hidden (mathematical) gematria of the Torah to create the futuristic synagogue form.

Thank you, Graham!  Fantastic work, and the culmination of months of rendering using IRender nXt.  We appreciate how enthusiastic and passionate you are about our software!

- For more information on LandARCHConcepts visit LandARCHConcepts or email

- For more information on Render Plus Software visit

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