So how is Maya at making visualisations of architectural space? Armed with architectural plans the modelling and texturing (using Maya's MIA material x mostly) didn't present too many issues. The lighting was of course the real balancing act. With Physical sun and sky, ambient lights, wall lights and ceiling lights to add into the mix this involved significant tweaking, and some small amount of post processing. Global Illumination added to final gathering brought down the render time and helped to clear up what had been very blotchy walls.
The glass and polycarbonate roof were the tricky problems to solve. The outside was not an important part of the design and so needed to fade and blur through the glass. Rather than render the outside separately I wanted to learn more about how to balance the levels as one image. The preset glass didn't quite achieve the desired result. Eventually I realised I needed to reduce transparency slightly with a white colour, to give the effect of the sun hitting.
The polycarbonate is a double layered materials with ribs in between creating long cell-like pockets of space within it (giving good insulation qualities). Divides between sheets create the darker strips. So this was modelled in a phyically accurate way (to achieve lighting accuracy (again using reduced transparency), but if I had planned any significant animation using this material baking the light qualities onto a poly-plane would be preferable, as the refractive nature of the material added to render time significantly.