Gemma Da Silva

Gemma Da Silva

Last updated: July 10, 2024  •  3 min read

Customer Focus: Visualizing a Rail Station Redevelopment With Enscape

A railway station with considerable history in the North-East of England, Darlington, UK, is in line for a £100m redevelopment. The location of the world’s first commercial and passenger steam railway, the station is home to a Grade II listed Victorian building dating back to the 1800s.

To help the local council communicate their plans for the railway station with residents, Architectural Designer Grant Hewitt was brought in. Grant, who is part of the team at Rocket Architectural Design, was tasked with creating marketing visualizations that incorporated the original station building.

Grant decided to try out an approach that would involve importing a photo as a material into the Enscape Material Library. The time-saving technique resulted in beautiful renderings that combined the proposed plans with the existing building. Grant tells us more below.

Victoria Raod - Darlington Rail Station Redevelopment_

Could you tell us about the technique you used to import a photo into SketchUp and Enscape?

Importing materials into Enscape is something most users will be aware of. However, with the train station images, I instead used the import material settings within the Enscape Material Library to add a photograph into the background of my SketchUp model.

Park Lane Rail Station Redevelopment Darlington_

For this, I drew a face to the correct scale of the station and positioned it at the same angle of which I took the photograph. This allowed me to create renderings in Enscape that showed the new landscaping in the foreground with the station in the background. I previously used a similar technique in Adobe Photoshop, but this would be much more time-consuming and not guarantee the correct scale and positioning of the photograph within the scene. Below is a screenshot of my unrendered SketchUp model showing the photograph and the Enscape assets around the scene.

SketchUp model and photo of Darlington rail station_How else did Enscape help you with this project?

For this project, I didn't play a role in the designing, instead, I was asked to model and visualize from 2D plans that I was given. The Enscape Asset Library is definitely something that benefitted me through the modeling stage. Having access to a large number of assets allowed me to add most requests into the image easily. Some modeling was required for the products that were not possible to find in the Asset Library, such as local design lampposts and bollards, however, the Enscape Material Editor worked great here to enhance the features and create lifelike textures.

Was there anything that surprised you about your use of Enscape for this project?

With every Enscape update, the software gets easier and faster to use. The addition of the Material Library really speeds up the modeling time, especially when looking to create a concept image for a client. It allows me to spend more time on the design and less time creating or finding my own material textures elsewhere. Another great feature is being able to manipulate materials through overlaying textures via the Reflections and Height Map settings in the Enscape Material Editor (this helped me to create the wet look on the road surface in the first image). The simplicity of this was fairly surprising and I will definitely be experimenting with these techniques in the future.

How else have you been enjoying using Enscape for other projects?

The control that Enscape allows with lighting settings, especially for atmospheric qualities, is great. To be able to control the sky, such as cloud density and the solar angle, really allows the user to set the scene of the image. A recent project we have worked on that shows this is a barn conversion. With the use of Enscape, we produced a range of outputs to complement the materials selected—using the solar angle to reflect on the corrugated metal cladding in the first example below and to create an almost silhouette-like scenery in the second example.
Modern barn conversion rendering_

Barn External Rendering

Do you have a story to share?

A big thank you to Grant for sharing his real-time visualization experience with us. If you have an interesting Enscape project you’d like to showcase, get in touch via

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Gemma Da Silva
Gemma Da Silva

Gemma is part of the Content team at Chaos and loves to provide architects and designers with practical tips to improve their workflows and visualizations. If you have something you'd like to share with the wider Enscape community, email!