Visualizing the Future of Energy Research

How do you attract investors when your product isn’t quite finished yet?

We often think of timelapse photography as something that captures a concluded process from start to finish, but in the case of the future Vagelos Laboratory, 215 Timelapse was tasked with documenting a work-in-progress to draw in more donors.

The Vagelos Laboratory for Energy Science and Technology is a planned addition to the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Arts and Sciences. The 111,000-square-foot facility sits at the corner of 32nd and Walnut Streets and will serve as a new gateway to the Penn campus. The energy-efficient building will feature a modular infrastructure that encourages collaboration and adapts to changing research needs.

Because this project is still being funded and completion is a couple of years away, it’s important to show prospective investors what they’re putting their money into—even if it doesn’t actually exist yet. In addition to capturing the construction in progress, we also shot footage of a scale model of the building and collaborated with our friends at CadRender to create visualizations of how the finished structure will look in its real-life surroundings.

Besides helping fund the project, the footage I’ve produced will eventually be used to celebrate the facility’s grand opening, as well as for future historical and archival purposes. For that reason, this project goes beyond progress footage to include interviews with the architects, construction and facilities teams, and even future resident professors and staff.

Combining footage of ongoing construction with simulated images of the finished product helps clients and investors better visualize the results of their funding.