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How To Improve Your SketchUp Skills

08:00 - 24 May, 2017
How To Improve Your SketchUp Skills, 3D Model: Fabian Dejtiar via SketchUp.
3D Model: Fabian Dejtiar via SketchUp.

For decades, SketchUp has been one of the most well-known 3D modeling programs in the design world, owed to its intuitive working tools and labyrinth of user-generated accessories, from open source libraries to plugins. Quite often, SketchUp is the software of choice for engaging children with architecture, due to its availability, flexibility, and ease of use.

Later in your design career, you could be forgiven for dismissing SketchUp as a 'rookie tool', a beginner's level below the advanced stages of Revit, Rhino, and AutoCAD. However, as SketchUp has evolved throughout the years, it now contains a formidable array of functions, capable of producing complex, exportable results in an organized, efficient manner for students and senior partners alike.

From geo-location to sun-paths, here are 10 very useful tips to make you the model SketchUp user of the office.

A Virtual Look Into Richard Neutra's Case Study House #20, the Bailey House

09:30 - 10 May, 2017

The Bailey house—one of Richard Neutra’s four Case Study designs for Arts & Architecture—forms one of five Bluff houses, standing high above the ocean. The brief was to create a low-budget home for a young family, with just two bedrooms, but offering the possibility of expansion as time went by (which did in fact transpire; additional Neutra-designed wings were later built).

Neutra employed the same indoor-outdoor philosophy that can be seen at work in his unbuilt Alpha and Omega houses, using large sliding glass doors to create light and a visual sense of space, as well as ensuring that the house physically opened up to, as he put it, “borrow space from the outdoors.” With this sunny Californian ocean-view setting, it made perfect sense to use the back garden and terrace as living and dining room.

An Off-fur You Can't Refuse: Free Cut-Out Dogs and Cats

10:30 - 9 May, 2017
An Off-fur You Can't Refuse: Free Cut-Out Dogs and Cats, via Viz-people
via Viz-people

It's a well-known fact that everything is better with puppies. Your renders are no different. Fortunately, the website Viz-people is here to help, offering a free set of 6 cut-out cat and dog .PNGs. Pets aren't the only cut-outs on offer (just the cutest—sorry, cut-out kids); in addition, Viz-people has a whole raft of free stuff for 3D modeling and rendering, including 2D cutouts of people, textures, and skies, and 3D models of cars, trees, chairs and more.

8 Models of Memorial Architecture from Different Cultures

09:30 - 5 May, 2017
8 Models of Memorial Architecture from Different Cultures

In most architecture projects, the input of the end user of the space is an important consideration; but what if those users are no longer living? Memorial architecture for the dead is a uniquely emotional type of design and often reveals much about a certain culture or group of people. Especially in the case of ancient tombs, archaeologists can learn about past societies’ customs and beliefs by examining their burial spaces. The personal nature of funerary spaces and monuments conveys a sense of importance and gravity to viewers and visitors, even centuries after the memorials were created.

The list of 3D models that follow, supplied by our friends at Sketchfab, explores memorial spaces and artifacts that span both space and time, representing a variety of cultures and civilizations.

Be a Voyeur in Christian Grey’s Revamped “50 Shades” Penthouse With This 3D Model

09:30 - 4 May, 2017

The interplay of tantalizing eroticism continues within Christian Grey’s luxury tower in the recently-released film sequel, Fifty Shades Darker. In the first film, Grey’s plush apartment played an integral role in undressing the personas of Anastasia Steele, who liberates herself from her chaste existence, and Christian, who exposes the seething and fiery carnal desires and fetishism behind his glorified masculine beauty, charm, and appearance.

Grey's penthouse, which resonates with his unyielding and intimidating Heathcliff undertones in the first part of the trilogy, turns over a new leaf in the sequel. There is ambient warmth in the penthouse; nevertheless, the high level of sophistication prevails in his penchant for singular tastes and fastidiously-selected objects and it remains unapologetically lush.

Upcoming App Promises to Create Basic 3D Models of Existing Spaces in 1 Minute

06:00 - 30 April, 2017
Upcoming App Promises to Create Basic 3D Models of Existing Spaces in 1 Minute, via screenshot from model on Sketchfab
via screenshot from model on Sketchfab

An upcoming app, named Walkabout Worlds, is hoping to drastically simplify the process of creating a 3D model of existing spaces. Designed as both a tool for turning 360 photographs into 3D models and for creating photographic 3D walkthroughs for VR viewing, the app has turned heads for its demonstration that a 360 photograph can be converted into a rough, simple 3D model in as little as a minute by selecting key points in the image such as the corners of the room, as shown in the video below.

10 Awesome Sketchup Plugins That Will Up Your Modeling Game (Explained With GIFs)

08:00 - 25 November, 2016
10 Awesome Sketchup Plugins That Will Up Your Modeling Game (Explained With GIFs), © Wikipedia user: Takuro1202, bajo licencia CC BY-SA 3.0
© Wikipedia user: Takuro1202, bajo licencia CC BY-SA 3.0

After the success of its 6th edition in 2007, Sketchup became one of the world's most widely used 3D modeling software products. This is thanks to its intuitive toolbar, interdisciplinary use within the creative industry (not just architects) and having a free version that doesn't use watermarks.

Its open source library helped the software to provide a wide range of 3D objects, while hundreds of users developed their own plugins not only to solve the problems of each version but also to exploit the potential of their tools. 

We’re going to introduce you to 10 of the plugins shared by Sketchup Tutorials Facebook page using their demonstrative GIFs. If you don’t know how to add a SketchUp plugin, don’t worry! You can learn in this video also posted by them.

A Virtual Look Into Mies van der Rohe's Core House

09:30 - 17 November, 2016

Architecture depends on its time. It is the crystallization of its inner structure, the slow unfolding of its form. – Ludwig Mies van der Rohe

In 1951, Mies van der Rohe designed the Core House, a participative design structure which could be completed by its inhabitants.

This flexible model challenged certain architectural concepts, explored new industrial technologies, and proposed a modular system to improve the quality and affordability of housing.

How New Video-Game-Inspired Tools Are Redefining Post Occupancy Evaluation

09:30 - 1 November, 2016
How New Video-Game-Inspired Tools Are Redefining Post Occupancy Evaluation, A real-time synthetic environments screen grab of the reception area at St Helens and Knowsley Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust in St Helens, UK. Image Courtesy of Arup
A real-time synthetic environments screen grab of the reception area at St Helens and Knowsley Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust in St Helens, UK. Image Courtesy of Arup

This article was originally published on Autodesk's Redshift publication as "A Video Game Is Overtaking Post-Occupancy Evaluation in Architecture."

Evaluating the user performance of a particular building design is obviously a good way for clients and architects to gauge whether their design was successful—or could have been better.

There’s even an entire academic discipline called post-occupancy evaluation (POE) devoted to this concept, and Arup is tapping into it with a network of 22 industry partners using the Building Use Studies (BUS) methodology. Too few designers tap into POE, but with gamified simulations done before projects are built, that could change.

Step into this Digitally Reconstructed House from Ancient Pompeii

14:20 - 12 October, 2016

Researchers from Lund University in Sweden have digitally reconstructed a house in Pompeii to envision what life in the city would have looked like before the destructive eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 AD. The large house, thought to have belonged to a wealthy banker named Caecilius Iucundus, is among the first 3D models created by the research team to document and preserve the city. The team has now released video material of their work, showing their creation of a 3D model of an entire block of houses.

11 Historical Examples of How to Design Doorways, as Selected by Sketchfab

10:00 - 31 August, 2016
11 Historical Examples of How to Design Doorways, as Selected by Sketchfab

Our friends at Sketchfab have noticed a recurring trend: among the many 3D scans shared on their platform, a significant number are of historical doorways. Often neglected in today’s designs, doors and doorways are essential physical and mental transition points between the interior and the exterior of a building. While Mies van der Rohe’s strive for visual continuity and the use of glass doors has some critical advantages, it is not applicable – or only poorly applicable – to every design case. Fortunately, history shows that visually and spatially differentiating doors and doorways from the rest of a facade can be a resourceful alternative.

With this set of 3D models selected by Sketchfab, viewers can explore historical doorways online and discover the spatial sequences that they can offer. From framed, indented, raised, lowered, protruding and ornamented doors, these models clearly showcase the various design strategies available for you to keep your doorway design options open.

Forensic Architecture Digitally Reconstruct Secret Syrian Torture Prison from the Memories of Survivors

20:02 - 17 August, 2016

Forensic Architecture, a research agency based at the University of London, in collaboration with Amnesty International, has created a 3D model of Saydnaya, a Syrian torture prison, using architectural and acoustic modeling. The project, which was commissioned in 2016, reconstructs the architecture of the secret detention center from the memory of several survivors, who are now refugees in Turkey.

Since the beginnings of the Syrian crisis in 2011, tens of thousands of Syrians have been taken into a secret network of prisons and detention centers run by the Assad government for a variety of alleged crimes opposing the regime. After passing through a series of interrogations and centers, many prisoners are taken to Saydnaya, a notoriously brutal “final destination,” where torture is used not to obtain information, but rather only to terrorize and often kill detainees.

Located about 25 kilometers north of Damascus, Saydnaya stands in a German-designed building dating from the 1970s. In recent years, no meaningful visits from independent journalists or monitoring groups have been permitted, so no recent photographs or other accounts exist of its interior space, except for the memories of Saydnaya survivors.

Sketchfab Strengthens Commitment to Virtual Reality With New Features

17:02 - 4 August, 2016
Sketchfab Strengthens Commitment to Virtual Reality With New Features, Image adapted from screenshot of San Carlo alle Quattro Fontane model by Matthew Brennan
Image adapted from screenshot of San Carlo alle Quattro Fontane model by Matthew Brennan

Online model sharing site Sketchfab last week announced three new features intended to solidify its position as one of the web's foremost platforms for sharing VR-viewable 3D models online. Originally launched in January of this year, the virtual reality features of Sketchfab's platform have proven to be popular and has even led to Sketchfab being referred to as "the Youtube of VR."

However, with its initial launch Sketchfab's VR capabilities clearly privileged simplicity and a low barrier for entry—the platform was viewable using just a smartphone web browser and basic VR headset such as Google Cardboard, and models required no extra work to make them VR compatible. As a result, Sketchfab's VR platform lacked the features of more high-end systems of viewing VR. With their latest update, Sketchfab has added useful features while keeping barriers to entry low.

This App Lets You Manipulate BIG’s Serpentine Pavilion on Your iPad Screen

16:00 - 30 June, 2016

BIG’s unzipped wall for the 2016 Serpentine Gallery Pavilion has been a critic and fan favorite so far this summer. Its simple parametric design has inspired the array of captivating photos and even a virtual model that allows you to adjust the parameters of the structure in your browser window. Now you can play with its design wherever you go, thanks to a new app by Studioclam.

Play With a Parametric Version of BIG's Serpentine Pavilion in this Model

11:10 - 7 June, 2016

Every year the Serpentine Gallery commissions an Architect to design a pavilion which will sit on its lawn, greeting the hundreds of thousands of people who will visit over the summer months. Temporary pavilions like this are an important chance for architects to test new ideas, and to communicate to the public what architecture is and could be.

Unless you’re in London, you may not get the opportunity to visit the pavilion physically, but thanks to the web we can take you there virtually.

Courtesy of Archilogic Courtesy of Archilogic Courtesy of Archilogic Courtesy of Archilogic +8

This 3D Model Shows the Damage Caused by ISIS to Palmyra's Temple of Bel

09:30 - 6 May, 2016

In August of last year, many of the most precious landmarks of the ancient city of Palmyra were damaged or destroyed by the forces of ISIS in a violent, iconoclastic attempt to send a message to the rest of the world. Since the UNESCO World Heritage Site was recaptured in March, the question in the architectural preservation community has been how to rebuild and preserve the buildings. That process will begin, of course, with a thorough assessment of the damage.

Shortly after Palmyra was recaptured Iconem, a French company which specializes in the digitization of archeological sites, arrived in Palmyra to lead the survey. In partnership with the Syrian DGAM (Direction Générale des Antiquités et des Musées), Iconem was granted access to the city to survey the damage to the temples of Bel and Baalshamin, the Monumental Arch, the Valley of Tombs, and the museum—all sites which are of the most cultural value and therefore were the greatest targets of ISIS's violence.

The Temple of Bel in Palmyra before the occupation by ISIS. Image © Flickr User Alessandra Kocman licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 The Temple of Bel in Palmyra before the occupation by ISIS. Image © Flickr User Jiří Suchomel licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 The Temple of Bel in Palmyra before the occupation by ISIS. Image © Flickr User Alessandra Kocman licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 The Temple of Bel in Palmyra before the occupation by ISIS. Image © Flickr User Jiří Suchomel licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 +6

7 Outstanding Examples of Cultural Heritage in 3D Models, As Selected by Sketchfab

09:30 - 12 April, 2016
7 Outstanding Examples of Cultural Heritage in 3D Models, As Selected by Sketchfab

Using photogrammetry to capture and model existing buildings is a fantastic way to share cultural treasures with the world, and with VR features cropping up everywhere even enables us to give people virtual tours of a site of cultural significance from thousands of miles away. But beyond that, capturing a model of a building is also a great way to digitally preserve that structure at a given point in time - this technique is even being used by Harvard and Oxford to protect structures placed at risk by the ongoing wars in Syria and Iraq.

In that spirit, our friends over at Sketchfab have compiled a selection of cultural treasures that have been immortalized on their platform. Read on to see all seven models, and don't forget that you can view all of them in virtual reality using Google Cardboard.

4 Ways Virtual and Augmented Reality Will Revolutionize the Way We Practice Architecture

10:45 - 12 March, 2016
4 Ways Virtual and Augmented Reality Will Revolutionize the Way We Practice Architecture

It’s time for the profession to prepare. New software and hardware platforms are emerging that allow immersive environment representation—aka virtual reality, or VR—along with gestural modeling, or the translation of hand movements captured via computer vision into design information. Taken together, these two tools allow designers to visualize and virtually inhabit three-dimensional spatial conditions at “full scale,” where we can do design work with intuitive hand and body motions. The implications for architectural practice are dramatic.

First, it means we need to create new interfaces and custom workflows. The keyboard and mouse take a backseat in the design process. Second—and best of all, in my opinion—these platforms for augmented reality (AR) or VR stand to reengage the designer’s hands in the act of making, digitally.