Weir Mill For BDP, Capital & Centric, C Our Studio
Our Studio crafted the visualisation of Capital&Centric's Weir Mill, designed by BDP. Credit: Our Studio

Best CGIs of 2021: Our Studio 

Julia Hatmaker

It has been a busy year for Manchester-based architectural visualisation company Our Studio, whose renderings include the SimpsonHaugh-designed Three60 skyscraper, Capital&Centric’s Weir Mill and FEC’s Victoria Riverside. 

Crafting these images requires talent, skill and patience. As visualisation artists, Our Studio works with architects and developers to bring their two-dimensional drawings to life, showing how the project might look when completed. 

The CGIs Our Studio creates accompany planning applications, marketing materials and news websites. 

For Sam Crothers, co-founder and managing director of Our Studio, it’s about telling a story. 

”Every image we produce has a team of artists behind it – all working together to create a visual that aims to engage and connect with its audience and tell a story,” she said. 

“Whether it’s winning planning permission or a competition or selling the vision of a building, apartment, home or office space, we want people to take a look at something we’ve produced and for it to evoke a desire to be in that space or a part of the vision that the architect and developer are trying to create. With everything going digital, the content that we produce is becoming more and more important.” 

With that in mind, Place North West asked Crothers to share some of her favourite pieces from this year that were set in the North West. 

Weir Mill (pictured above)

  • Architect: BDP 
  • Developer: Capital&Centric 
  • Location: Stockport 

Crothers loves working on projects where devleopers are focused on the impact their work will have on the community. Weir Mill is one of those, she said. 

“Weir Mill is reusing an old building in Stockport and the architecture is lovely,” she said. “Just the fact we’re repurposing and reusing the space is great. It’s recycling architecture and great placemaking.” 

Three60 For SimpsonHaugh, Select Property, C Our Studio

Our Studio’s CGI of Three60. Credit: Our Studio


  • Architect: SimpsonHaugh 
  • Developer: Select Property and Renaker
  • Location: Manchester 

Crothers loves that this visualisation is set at dusk, which highlights the dramatic nature of Three60. 

Showing a cylindrical building was also exciting. 

“In terms of exteriors, we really love the Three60 image,” Crothers said. “I think it’s interesting to see a different type of architecture in the city centre.” 

Swan Street For Hawkins Brown, Capital & Centric, C Our Studio

Our Studio’s CGI of Swan Street. Credit: Our Studio

Swan Street

  • Architect: Hawkins\Brown 
  • Developer: Capital&Centric and Kamani Property Group
  • Location: Manchester 

It is the storytelling combined with interesting architecture that makes this image, according to Crothers. Zooming into the image you can see the details, including a couple on a romantic walk on the rooftop terrace, a dog begging for treats outside the building’s restaurant and a woman enjoying a hot drink from her apartment’s balcony. This gives a sense of what a vibrant community the place will be. 

Crothers also liked how the architect wanted to incorporate art into the façade, which her team as illustrated with the text “This will be art. Not this, something else.” 

Island For Cartwright Pickard, HBD, C Our Studio

Our Studio’s CGI of Island. Credit: Our Studio


  • Architect: Cartwright Pickard 
  • Developer: HBD 
  • Location: Manchester 

This image was used for planning and will be developed further when the project enters the marketing phase. 

Crothers likes how the image not only shows how the building will fit into the space, but also gives a sense of what it will be like when people are there as well. 

“That viewpoint really compliments the architecture with the brick and then the glass reception area,” she said.  

“When you really look at these images, you can zoom in,” she said. “There’s so much going on in the image, as opposed to it just being something you look at. You can see multiple activities and architectural details.” 

She pointed out how you can see into the reception area and its green elements, and the upper level spaces with their lounge-like chairs. And, of course, there are plenty of people to see too, from a businessman on a phone call in one of the upstairs offices to the group of three hanging out in the reception. 

Viadux For Lister And Lister, Salboy, C Our Studio

Our Studio’s CGI of Viadux. Credit: Our Studio


  • Interior Designer: Lister&Lister 
  • Developer: Salboy 
  • Location: Manchester 

“Viadux is another one we really love,” Crothers said.  

The swimming pool in the basement, in particular, is a highlight. Crothers loves the detail her team put into the work, making sure the brick had the right texture and proper reflections from the water. “A lot of time went into that,” she said. 

Embassy Village For Jon Matthews Architects, Marshalls, C Our Studio

Our Studio’s CGI of Embassy Village. Credit: Our Studio

Embassy Village

  • Architect: Jon Matthews Architects 
  • Developer: Embassy
  • Location: Manchester 

This is a project that Crothers feels strongly about. Peel L&P has lended the land for Embassy to build 40 modular homes between Bridgewater Canal and the River Irwell for homeless charity Embassy. This would allow the charity to provide secure housing with 24-hour onsite security, support for residents to help them get their feet on the ground and a community hub. “What they’re doing there is fantastic,” Crothers said. 

Victoria Riverside For Hawkins Brown, FEC, C Our Studio

Our Studio’s CGI of Victoria Riverside. Credit: Our Studio

Victoria Riverside 

  • Architect: Hawkins\Brown 
  • Developer: FEC 
  • Location: Manchester 

“In terms of scale, Victoria Riverside is probably one of the bigger ones we’ve worked on this year Crothers said. 

The CGI of the development was tough, since Our Studio was tasked with showcasing all the buildings in one singular view point. 

“This is where storytelling and lighting really comes into play,” Crothers said. She described how important it was to showcase how the space would be used. 

There are people jogging by the riverbank. A mother pushes her baby in a pram. And you can catch a faint image of a musician holding a guitar in one of the windows.  

“We wanted to show the architecture forming the backdrop to everyone’s daily activity,” Crothers said of the picture.

OurStudio Team, OurStudio, C OurStudio

The Our Studio team

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