SketchUp & Layout for Architecture | Building Model

Once the site plan is complete with camera views for elevations and perspective scenes, its ready to start modeling the building.

Working with your client you can setup the floor plan, doing this either on paper or in a blank SketchUp file. This is to get the general layout of the building and location of each room. Then refine it on your own and clean it up.

Next go into your site plan and create a large plane (enough to fit all the setback lines within) and start sectioning the rooms off of that with a single line to divide them and adding no detail to it.

Make sure the building is within the setback and property lines and make the thickness of the floor. To set the thickness of the floor you want to find the complete width of the supports of the floor not including the finish, such as wood or tiling.

If the terrain is a lot higher in one area than another for a room you can select that separately and lift or lower it accordingly. 

Once you have your outline of the building you want to extract that and put it into another file to work within. If not the layers could get mixed and messed up. Then bring the building model back into the terrain file as a component and just update it when needed.

When copying it out you must copy the property line with it and copy from the origin and paste to the origin in the new file.



SketchUp & Layout for Architecture | Site Plan 4

Once you have your 3D terrain you can then use a tool called drape. This allows you to drape certain objects from the layers onto the 3D terrain. Select the layer you want to drape and select the terrain then click the drape tool.

Trees, using fully realistic 3D trees can look amazing but slow down the program a whole lot. However 2D trees may not show enough detail and won't look right from an overhead viewport. So you want a hybrid of these two. Basic 2D planes but several of them to make it look 3D.

Placement of trees should be easy now that you have draped on the tree's locations.

When draping items onto the terrain such as the road and boundary lines that you may want to texture you want to make sure that they are fully closed entities. So that when its draped it will remain closed, and so allows you to texture it.

Once tweaking the terrain a bit until it's satisfactory you can then create viewports for Layout. Change your viewpoint to have it completely flat. Next, go to the overhead view of your model and hold shift+z then hide all layers except the ones you wish to include in Layout. Add styles as needed and do this for each layer.


SketchUp & Layout for Architecture | Site Plan 3

Once you have each layer defined with the survey you want to set the north compass to the green axes. Next, you want to import the google earth texture to compare and add to your site.

Import the geolocation of your site from google earth which has a tool specifically for that in SketchUp. You don't want the 3D terrain for the time being so you can just hide that temporarily.

Make sure you set the green axes to north on the geolocated texture. 

To find the exact direction of North you can use the coordinates from the survey and then work off of the predefined lines in the site survey. 

If your site survey has a north direction other than the green axes and it is important for you to have accurate shadows you need to do these steps.

You will need to clear the shadows setting from the scenes bar so that they can be reconfigured. Using the solar north plugin. Adjust your compass from the site plan and rotate the image to match the green axes. 

Next, you can review your geolocated texture and the site plan and manually add in other objects that you wish.

Optimizing contour lines. SketchUp has a built-in tool that allows you to create terrain from contour lines. This is optional but will create more perspective while designing and will give you more ideas for the building. You want to create more than enough contour lines so that you will have space enough for your building and for Layout documentation.

Since you are drawing more terrain than needed you don't need to be precise. So this means you can manually draw them out with the freehand tool.

Now use the sandbox, from contours tool and elevate it into a 3D object

SketchUp & Layout for Architecture | Site Plan 2

To start modeling you want to import your site survey.

Having a bunch of different layers for the site is good for the organization.

Default layer - Default layer that should always be active

Google earth - Layers will contain images and terrain from google earth

building model - Building model to be placed in the site

object layers - Objects such as terrain, trees, and rocks

Special Layers - Property lines,  setbacks, and easements

Importing CAD site survey, Before opening the DWG file into SketchUp it is best to first open it in CAD to do some cleanup to the file.SketchUp will automatically delete things like dimensions, text, hatching, etc. Once it is imported into SketchUp you will want to do some cleanup and start to assign layers. 

Before you begin organizing the imported CAD, its best to make each layer have its lines show the same color that the layer is set to. pg-64-65

Once you assign everything to each layer you then want to purge the model. This essentially removes all objects that are not assigned to layers as well as layers that have nothing assigned to them. This likely won't remove all the entities you want to get rid of so you have to manually go through and delete objects you wish to remove.

SketchUp & Layout for Architecture | Site Plan, Client Information, & File organization

Creating a site plan before modeling your design ideas is ideal to capture the terrain, sun exposure, and wind to optimize the best building located on the site.

Predesign information, the location of tree's other structural buildings in lots nearby is important to the design phase. 

Find out what is important to the client to then incorporate their thoughts into your design.

The existing site is will play a very large part in the designing of the building.

Typically you would hire a site surveyor to provide you with a CAD file of the site for you to work off of.

The site survey should include

Property Lines - This would define the line of the property for you to design within

Property setbacks - There are certain restrictions for building on most sites that require a certain distance from things like roads and other properties.

Site contours - This defines the terrain where it rises and falls.

Roads - Knowing the location of the road is important for setting the location of the driveway and garage. 

Utilities - Pipelines such as water and sewage for designing is important to keep needless extra work from occurring.

Adjacent buildings - You need to know the location of nearby buildings to see how this affects your project. 

Trees - Trees and other vegetation are important for either removal or preservation of them during the construction phase.

Views - Waterfall's, mountains or other scenery is important to note for the placement of windows and outdoor features.

Compass - The site survey should have a compass facing north to define the direction of the site.

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Client Program

One of the most important pieces of information is to find out the expectations and requirements of the project are. Things like family size, lifestyle, accessibility, style preference, business needs, room sizes and building size are all things that should be discussed with the client beforehand.

Starting a new project. The first step to starting a new project is to create a project folder and have templates to work off of.

Setting up an automatic backup file saver is very important.

Title Blocks. After making a copy of the template files you can start adding info to the title block such as client info and dates. Copy this to each file template for this project.

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