Skyscraper Renderings vs Reality

Why do developers advertise a futuristic, modern design, and then build something different?

I’ve been fascinated with high-rise development for a long time, and always find it interesting to see how completely different (and usually disappointing) the reality of a finished tower is compared to the ultra futuristic renderings.

I remember first being startled by this in Panama City in the mid 00’s, where 100-floor skyscrapers would end up being like only 65 and look nothing like the promised imagery.

I didn’t buy into any of those projects – luckily, in some cases, because some of them didn’t even get built and with no remuneration for early investors – but it was eye-opening to see.

Now, being in another city – Phnom Penh – and SE Asia region in the midst of a construction boom, I’m seeing things repeating but even more pronounced this time. So here’s my question if any developers know the answer.

1) How does a building get built correctly if the plans / renderings are completely different? They must have the actual working plans, so why not show those on advertising? Because if they’re going for the element of surprise, that never works – almost without fail the end product is a disappointment compared to the renderings of a building. Which leads to my next question:

2) If someone is paying big money – between $750k to $1.5million for this one, Sky Villa – wouldn’t they be slightly pissed if the product that gets delivered to them is vastly inferior in design to what they saw on screen and in print, when they plunked down their deposit and ongoing payments?

Looking at the two Sky Villa towers going up now, it’s obvious they are not following the original design that is on every website selling the condos. It’s being built by the same company that did Taipei 101, so there’s a good chance it’ll turn out beautiful even if it’s considerably different from what’s been advertised.

But if it’s as good or better than the rendering, I’ll be (pleasantly) surprised…because none of the other towers I’ve seen go up in Phnom Penh the past 3.5 years have been even close to as stunning as they were advertised to be. 😐

This is a question that honestly seems like an integrity issue, so I’m going to start asking developers to find out why it happens! Do you know what’s up with the discrepancy? Send me an email as I’d love to learn more about this.

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