Visual Communication: From Artist Imagination to Project Proposal


Rendering by Vicki Scuri
Visualization for a pedestrian walkway in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Spanning the Arkansas River on Route 66, it features concrete patterns inspired by Art Deco design in downtown Tulsa. Vicki Scuri Siteworks with Garver USA, 2010-13.

Vicki Scuri is passionate about collaborative design. From pedestrian bridges to highway interchanges, every Vicki Scuri Siteworks design reflects regional culture and a strong sense of place. Naturally, she often begins by talking with residents to discern their values and needs. But the scale and impact of Scuri’s proposals also require input from city planners, business owners, and community leaders. Actually realizing a project involves city planners, architects, engineers, landscape designers, and others.

Rendering detail by Vicki Scuri
Computer-generated design for concrete formwork.

For these partnerships to work, clear, compelling visuals are essential. Scuri is continually improving her visualization skills. While she still wields a pencil, her physical models have given way to 3D digital models that are used as design tools and later–through the magic of Photoshop–as the basis for presentation materials.

Scuri finds 3D modeling in SketchUp and Rhino especially helpful in the early stages of a design. “First we do quick hand sketches, and then we model the more promising ideas digitally. This gives a quicker and more detailed look than drawing and modeling by hand. Many schemes are brought to this level and analyzed before selecting which one to develop further.”

“Our process is not entirely digital, and moving between the computer and the hand drawn is intensely valuable. We start out looser and freer in our initial sketches, seeing how far we can stretch our imaginations. Then we refine the scheme to fit the concept and the site with tighter and tighter criteria.”

Developing skills in 3D modeling has been especially important for Scuri’s intricate concrete formwork designs. The patterns for these forms are now modeled digitally, and the milling machines that carve them are robotically controlled. By doing her own digital modeling, Scuri maintains more control over the subtleties of the finished design.

Wall under construction by Vicki Scuri
I-244 Route 66 Pedestrian Walkway (under construction), concrete, 1,500′, Tulsa, OK.