Monday, October 29, 2012

Design Charette from SketchUp Basecamp

A couple of weeks ago I went to Boulder to attend the 4th SketchUp Basecamp. SketchUp has hosted this gathering every couple of years, to get users and programmers together to discuss what's planned, what should be planned, what people want to see, and to see examples of how some SketchUp experts are using the software. There are always a bunch of us third-party product people running around as well, including writers like myself, trainers, rendering engine companies, dynamic component producers, and the like.

I plan to write up my impressions of the entire three days, but first I wanted to post about the design charette - the main activity on the third and final day (which ended around lunchtime).

"Charette" is a term I hadn't heard as an engineering student. It is generally used in architecture, when a group of students or designers need to come up with a problem-solving design in a short time. The Basecamp charette participants were told to form groups of about 10, and the assignment was to either design the classroom of the future, or some sort of organizational system for storing educational technology (tablets, printers, etc).

I ended up not participating myself (got involved in a couple of meetings instead), and I wasn't there when the results were presented (lunch meeting!). So I don't know how many groups opted for the organizer and how many did the classroom. But I do know who won, because I know most of the members of that group!

So imagine that you and some colleagues have TWO AND A HALF HOURS to come up with a design and get it into some sort of presentational format. Rather high pressure! But these are SketchUp experts, who are also fluent in LayOut, so great things were happening.

My friend Eric Schimelpfenig was on the winning team, and he sent me the winning model as well as the LayOut (presentation) file. Here are some shots of their design. For each image, click to view the entire thing - you might not get the full image in the blog format.

The overall view shows one enclosed classroom, surrounded by lots of landscaped outdoor space. (I assume this is located somewhere NOT being pounded by Hurricane Sandy, as we are right now...)

This view of the classroom, minus roof, shows the main room with circular desks and a loft area with beanbag (!) chairs. 

There aren't many (if any?) doors that close. A nice flower garden with paving stones is just off (and visible from) the main classroom.

Behind the classroom is an area with interactive signage.

Here's the greenhouse with solar roof:

And this is the open-air Council House.

Next to the Council House are some CSA-style vegetable plots, and the overlook features a human sundial.

Heading back into the main classroom area, there are some flat screens where the kids can see and chat wtih their fellow students across the world.

Have you noticed the translucent people? You can find them by searching for "silhouette" in the 3D Warehouse. These are components that always face the right way, and their black color was made translucent - an easy way to get a quick and dirty rendering without using any other programs.

Various views of this design, along with larger detailed views, were assembled into a LayOut document, which was then presented to the charette judges.

Congrats to the winning team! I'm not sure if the they had a team name, but here are the participants:

Zack Mertz
Rashad Al-Ahmadi
Mike Tadros
David Pillsbury
Jeffrey Orkin
Wyatt Thompson
Bertier Luyt
Yael Kadem
Eric Schimelfpenig
John Pacyga

Anyone can design anything in 3D!

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