The Elegance by Avalee Homes is a 72-unit luxury condo in Vaughn, Ont..

The project was built in Spotlight Property Viewer to simplify the preconstruction sales process.

3D CityScapes is proud to present Spotlight Property Viewer, its custom visualization platform solution for preconstruction developments. The software debuted in conjunction with the Elegance, a 72-unit luxury condominium in Vaughn, Ont. and developed by Avalee Homes.

One part marketing tool, one part sales asset management system, the Avalee Homes team selected Spotlight Property Viewer given that the Elegance was their first solo residential development and wanted a 3D visualization application backed by an experienced team.

The dining room from one of the penthouse suites inside the Elegance.

“You can see multiple points of view, different suites, and floors. The actual colours are more true than just a model that sits on a table. It gives you more of a feeling of the building than a [traditional] model,” said Lino Tatone, one of Avalee’s founders.”It’s going in a more digital way so it’s more in tune with the times.”

In addition to providing an immersive 360-degree view of the Elegance’s exterior and the surrounding area, Spotlight Property Viewer allowed the sales team to take customers inside the upcoming development, highlighting specifics like the interior views of the penthouse unit, the front-entrance lobby, and even give a sneak peek at the views from the terraces.

With Spotlight Property Viewer, you can add metahumans to populate any scene to add an additional layer of realism to your projects.

“I personally like the daylight-night time [function] so you could see what it was like during the day or night. The biggest thing was the views from certain parts of the building, the location of the building, seeing the building itself, the way it looks, the terraces, and the walk-through,” said Tatone. “The walk-through helps with the amenities and the 3D application helps you get a real feel for the amenities and the outsides, too.” 

The gym offers some stunning views of the neighbourhood.

Additional features also provided with Spotlight Property Viewer include:
-A walkable avatar mode to simulate a first-person point of view perspective of the building and area

-A unit selector to compare, contrast, and filter units based on square footage, pricing, number of bedrooms, bathrooms, and or orientation 

-The ability to compare multiple floor plans side by side

-Distance circles to highlight what’s walkable within five, 10, and 20-minute increments. 

-Finish selector to give customers the ability to swap between builders’ fit and finish packages.

-A built-in render generator to provide picture-perfect images for social media and marketing purposes

One of the many stunning vistas available to Avalee residents.
One of the many stunning vistas available to Avalee residents.

For 3D CityScapes, Spotlight Property Viewer represents the culmination of four years of work in the prop-tech industry, combining the company’s expertise in 3D modelling and meeting the needs of developers looking to showcase the best of what their projects have to offer.

“The Avalee team wanted to make sure the application represented luxury and that’s something that we did. They were very conscious and aware that they wanted to make this thing look great. And that really helped us achieve our goal,” said James Borst, CEO and founder of 3D CityScapes. “This application became basically our flagship for small developments. I’d say it’s our highest-quality development to date.”

About 3D CityScapes:

3D City Scapes Inc. is a 3D visualization technology company based in Canada specializing in building 3D interactive environments, assets, and digital twins. Founded in 2019, 3D CityScapes works with property developers, municipalities, urban planners, seaport authorities, and architects to provide 3D applications for use in sales/marketing, planning, predictive analysis, cinematic video production, and more.


For more information, please contact:

Brian Tien Trinh

3D CityScapes



February 28, 2022 Spotlight Property Viewer

What 3D Viz Can (And Can’t) Do For Revitalizing Churches

Documenting vital information? Sure. Wooing critics of gentrification? Not so much.

The Lucas is a former 1874 German Trinity Church that was converted into a condo in Boston’s South End neighbourhood. (Credit: Handout)

You might have prayed in one, attended a wedding in another, and there’s a growing chance you might one day live in a church. Well, what used to be a church.

Converting old churches into condos is a growing trend among builders. The blend of old and new helps projects stand out against brand-new builds that rely on templated floor layouts. And that’s translating to faster sales, according to Ellen Anselone, a principal architect at Finegold Alexander, a Boston-based architecture firm.

Finegold Alexander specializes in revitalizing existing buildings. In 2017 it was tasked to transform an 1874 German Trinity Church in the city’s South End neighbourhood. The result was The Lucas, a boutique, eight-story condominium with 33 residences.

“There were already sold units when it started construction,” Anselone recalled. Keeping the facade also helped it compete with other new builds in the area, she added.   

“The theory behind it was that there was a lot of new construction of condos and apartments going up right around the Lucas. But they were all cookie cutter. In the Lucas, because of the existing building, it couldn’t be cookie-cutter. You get to walk into the original church through that beautiful entry into your new building and it’s unique.” 

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Selling the idea of living in a converted church might have been easy but designing and building a structure within a structure came with obstacles to overcome. That’s where 3D visualization came into play. There are many types of tools out there but they typically fall into a handful of categories.

3D photogrammetry uses overlapping 2D photographs to extract an object’s height, width and depth. It’s good for smaller objects or wide swaths of land when the camera is mounted on a plane or drone.

3D sculpting uses non-destructive laser beams to capture the data of physical objects. That data is then uploaded and transformed into a 3D model.

3D visualized reconstruction is kind of like finishing a partially completed puzzle. There are pieces or structures still in place but some parts are missing due to destruction or centuries of wear and tear. To fill those gaps, modellers turn to archeological data, documents, research on the original builders as well as basic structural considerations to complete the rendering. 

Finally, there’s building information modelling, or BIM. This process uses computer files to capture the building’s interior and exterior measurements. That includes width, height, depth, and sometimes their relationship to time and cost. Softwares like SketchUp and Revit help take that information and visualize it, according to Tony Hsiao, Finegold Alexander’s director of design and a fellow principal architect. 

Tony Hsiao is Finegold Alexander’s director of design and a principal architect who worked on the Lucas condos. (Photo credit: Finegold Alexander)
Tony Hsiao is Finegold Alexander’s director of design and a principal architect who worked on the Lucas condos. (Photo credit: Finegold Alexander)

“From a design standpoint, we used a lot of 3D visualization tools. When you have an existing building, the interface of the new inserted into the old heavily relies on a lot of 3D masking studies, initial conceptualization, program fit, and of course as the design evolves, it gets further and further developed and fleshed out,” said Hsiao.

But the power of BIM isn’t just in visualization, it’s also about juggling large volumes of data, said Mikael Sydor, an architect, and senior project manager at ERA Architects Inc. in Toronto.

“Using BIM is a core part of our practice. We’re using it to manage information about the building including geometries, but also sort richer information – construction assemblies, phasing, looking at what era different parts of the building were constructed and what other information needs to be layered on there,” said Sydor. “So not just visualization but as an information management tool and archive tool.”

While Sydor hasn’t worked on converting churches into condos, he’s familiar with the intricacies that go into inserting a new building into an existing structure, pointing to his work with the Dentistry/Pharmacy Centre at the University of Alberta Campus in Edmonton as how it’s usually a mixture of different visualization techniques to get the job done.

“The Dentistry-Pharmacy [project] is surrounded by what we’re calling a 4D BIM model. It had the 3D geometry of the site that we based on laser scan information as well as archival drawings,” he said. 

That 4th “D” refers to time, with the model incorporating time stamps from different information sources with tags denoting if a structural beam was modelled from archival drawing or if a plane was constructed through laser-scanning data.

This in turn helped communicate complex packs of information in an easier-to-understand format for other stakeholders, Sydor added. “It gave all of the project partners deeper information about the project, like where the information came from and where they’re able to make the most of it.”


That upside of BIM doubling as a communication tool also comes into play during the regulatory stages of revitalizing older buildings like the Lucas, said Anselone.

“Some of our more sophisticated clients are asking for 3D visualization and what we’re seeing is that it helps sell a project. And when I say ‘sell a project’, it helps it get through the permitting process because people can understand what you’re doing,” said Anselone. “If you give someone a set of drawings, they have no idea what they’re looking at. If you give them a 3D image, they get it.”  

Ellen Anselone is a principal architect at Finegold Alexander based in Boston and also worked on the Lucas Condos.
Ellen Anselone is a principal architect at Finegold Alexander based in Boston and also worked on the Lucas Condos.

However, that power of instantaneous understanding varies depending on your audience. When it comes to community consultation on building revitalization, Hsiao prefers a softer approach to presenting ideas to locals who might be worried about gentrification.

“Sometimes the old school can help at the beginning,” he said, referring to his hand-drawn pencil sketches and watercolour paintings. “It’s a softer feel to it. More informal. Not so hard and not so finished and communities like that because of the room for interpretation. Sometimes these much looser, softer styles are very effective because it does provide people the feeling to talk with you. It doesn’t look locked

in. It’s a soft sell.”

Mikael Sydor is an architect at ERA Architects Inc. in Toronto.
Mikael Sydor is an architect at ERA Architects Inc. in Toronto.

Like Hsiao, a glossy 3D render only goes so far as to convert skeptics if you ask Sydo“Our approach towards working with the existing conditions and the existing buildings is understanding what parts of the structure, what parts of that building, represent what values the parties are engaged with,” said Sydor.

“It’s not necessarily about, ‘I’ve got this design and I need to show it off.’ It’s about a more nuanced understanding of the way people interact with these structures or buildings, more so than a glossy render.”

3D CityScapes is a Toronto start-up specializing in building digital twins and 3D visualizations. Interested in building a digital twin? Get in touch with us here or give us a shout at +1 416-477-6846