SketchUp for Architects
SketchUp is a great tool for small firm architects to quickly develop 2D ideas into full, 3D models. It’s not BIM and it may not be super efficient for our whole workflow, but when used as a quick way to develop concepts, to share ideas with colleagues or to present to a client early on, that’s where SketchUp thrives. There are few programs better suited.
This week at EntreArchitect Podcast, SketchUp for Architects with Mike LaValley, founder of EvolvingArchitect.com.
Mike’s Origin Story
Mike has always known that he wanted to be an architect, aside from brief childhood memories of wanting to be a mad scientist. He grew up playing with legos and making things, and eventually found his way to architecture. He graduated from Syracuse University with a bachelor’s of architecture and settled down in Buffalo, New York.
He’s been through several different jobs, but is now designing spaces for K-12 schools to help kids learn and grow. After earning his license in 2015, he took the plunge into full-force blogging quickly after.
Evolving Architect Blog
Mike loves learning and sharing and has a desire to stay up with new ways of building and innovative technologies. Since architecture is always changing and evolving, he believes the most successful architects are those who really take that to heart.
More recently he’s started to teach more on his website and via YouTube by hosting Workshop Wednesdays, where he shares his knowledge on different topics for about an hour to help emerging professionals. He quickly noticed a need for skills in programs, and was able to focus a couple workshops on SketchUp. The workshop is designed to teach architects in a way that they would use it in a firm, from learning an interface to creating a house model.
Mike feels a need for varying ideas for growth depending on where different professionals are in their journeys, making Evolving Architect a constantly-changing opportunity.
Each month, Mike posts a new video on the Evolving Architect YouTube channel. His goal is to bounce around different topics that people have brought to his attention, including goal-setting and ARE help. This year, Mike plans to integrate content throughout the month for subscribers where they might find short tutorials and other helpful tips.
SketchUp for Architects
Mike’s been using SketchUp since he was a sophomore in college over 10 years ago and has been using it regularly since then. He began using it because it was so simple to create 3D models in real time. It’s a great way to quickly iterate and conceptualize different concepts he wants to bring forth. It’s the first tutorial on his website because he wanted to show how to use it specifically in an architecture office.
Mike uses SketchUp primarily as a way to quickly communicate and present very raw models and ideas to clients who aren’t familiar with reading 2D drawings. It’s a practical tool that allows him to explain an idea through an image without trying to build a detailed physical model.
SketchUp has it’s limitations too. Mike prefers to use platforms like Revit or AutoCad for other aspects of his work.
Sketching in 3D
Once you install SketchUp on your device and start playing with the tools, you can get into drawing in 3D. You can extrude them and build on them to make more complicated figures, but it’s productive to start playing around with the platform and learning how to draw in three dimensions. SketchUp also allows you create shortcuts to make movements as quick and easy as possible. “Practice doesn’t make perfect; it makes permanent.”
The tutorial is broken into different chapters with sub lessons. First you’ll look at the user interface to get a feel for where things are and what tools to use when. Then, users can go straight into developing a house model. Last, you’re taken through the whole process to the final export of the images and the views. Find more more information here.
What is the one thing that small firm architects can do today to build a better business tomorrow?
“Whether it’s SketchUp or another program or skill, building upon what you already know to create a wider knowledge base for yourself is the first priority. Building skills and understanding new ways of building and interacting with the profession is something you can execute now to be better tomorrow. Over time those skills add up in a profound way.” – Mike LaValley, EvolvingArchitect.com
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