I don’t have a lot of spare time on my hands … in fact the last few weeks have been brutal. In a “I’m not complaining” sort of way, I think I’m sort of complaining – but just a little bit. One of the projects I am trying to tackle is the renovation of my own kitchen, which by all rights should be a lot of fun. While all architects, when working on their own home, suffer from paralysis from analysis, I am suffering from the age-old problem of simply not having enough time.
But that didn’t stop me from having a bit of fun this weekend when I decided to create a 3D model of my own house – because that’s what architects do for fun. They go into the office on the weekend and do the exact same thing they do all week-long … except this time they don’t get paid for the work they are creating.
Doesn’t that sound awesome!?!
This is the plan of my kitchen as represented in the original construction drawings created in 1967. The kitchen looks like it was built in 1967 and most of it remains exactly as intended … from 1967.
So like any other self-respecting architect, I decided that rather than simply start drawing my kitchen plans up, I needed to model my entire house … because it’s fun.
No really, it’s a lot of fun.
I totally mean that and if you are an architect, you probably read that line and thought to yourself “He’s right … it IS fun.”
Despite the fact that it was fun, it will serve a purpose. I will use this 3D model of my house to have design conversations with my wife who will probably appreciate how much easier it is to see the various design concepts we have been discussing. Up until this point, those conversations typically involve a lot of pointing at stuff and waving our arms around as we both try to describe our point.
Hmmmm … if only one of us knew how to draw stuff. Oh yeah, that would be me, except I haven’t had time to do any real drawings.
Until now … but I have to keep it fun because I think that if you approach the design of a problem as a chore, the final product reflects your attitude. May sound stupid but that’s why I try so hard to make the design process fun, not just for me but for the people I work with. This is “supposed” to be an enjoyable process, remember? (When working on my own house, I have to keep reminding myself of that fact)
I’ve been using SketchUp for a long time and when it comes to down and dirty models like the one I’m showing here, I can cover a lot of ground in a very short amount of time. I put this model together on Sunday – about 6 hours total. It’s not done, I haven’t added doors and it’s missing a few windows but for the most part, it’s pretty spot on.
I had company up at the office when I was building this model – we have a project (it’s more of an art installation) that’s in Riyadh – the capital city of Saudi Arabia. It is extremely complicated and we are using Rhino and Grasshopper (fancy modeling software) to help generate and document the design – I’ll show it on the site here when I have a bit more information to present.
At any rate, I don’t know Rhino or Grasshopper but John Charbonneau, one our summer interns, knows it apparently quite well.
That’s right, I said “summer interns.”
So John and I both spent our Sunday up at the office working on modeling stuff. I needed to be there because a) I want to learn how to use Rhino and Grasshopper, and b) I needed to be around to talk design and construction regarding the stuff John was modeling, and c) I needed to get some work done on my own house project.
So here I am, watching John work all sorts of magic in Rhino (the stuff that program can do it ridiculously amazing) while I sit about 6 feet away modeling my own house in SketchUp. Don’t get me wrong, while I can’t work every bell and whistle in SketchUp, I consider myself to be extremely good at the software. I am as fast as anyone I’ve ever seen and so far, there isn’t anything I want to do that I haven’t been able to do.
I’m what’s know in my world as a “SketchUp Badass.” The fact that I am on the downhill slide of my mid-40’s just makes it that much more amazing. I’m like the Hell’s Angels of SketchUp …
So there I am, making SketchUp magic happening while John is sitting there doing his little Rhino model and we had this conversation:
Bob: So John … how’s your model coming along?
John: Pretty good. I’ve inserted the all the
Bob: [interrupting] Uh-huh, sounds great. So I’m modeling my own house over here in SketchUp … I’m (tongue-cluck with finger snap into pistol fingers) pretty good at Sketchup. Really good. Do you know SketchUp? Do you ever use SketchUp?
John: I haven’t really used it since high school.
What? [sigh] That’s right … he said he hasn’t “really used it since high school.”
Kids these days.
So much for feeling cool.
If you want to see the other posts I’ve written on my house and the adventures I’ve had since I bought it, just go here. If you just want some of the highlights, here are some of my favorites –