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Topics: 3D

I recently did a project that was started in SoftPlan and finished up in Sketchup.

Melisa McCelvey of Distinctive Designs in Tulsa, OK asked me to work on this project with her. A client owned a large portion of a city block and they wanted to sell it. But the problem was how do you sell that much prime property in a soft market? The answer was to come up with a potential use for the property and sell that potential use to investors.

The property is located alongside Riverside Drive in Tulsa. Riverside Drive is a long winding road surrounded by parks, estates, older homes, a casino, and various businesses. It follows along, as the name implies, the Arkansas River as it passes through Tulsa. The subject property is located near the northern end of Riverside Drive and is almost directly across the river from where I lived when I was in Tulsa so I know the area well.

What the clients decided was to create a plan showing a hotel on the property. Melisa had designed several large homes for them in the past, they are builders, but she had never designed a hotel before. So part of the challenge was figuring out how to design a hotel. There also needed to be adequate parking space so that was going to require a parking garage. But possibly the most challenging was coming up with a design that would be acceptable to the local residents in the neighborhood.

The charge was not to come up with complete working drawings but with a conceptual illustration of what such a hotel might look like so that this could be presented to potential investors. What they came up with was a design based on the houses that Melisa saw in Portofino, Italy when she visited there a few years ago.

Melisa worked with Carl Szafranski of Szafranski, Peugh, and Associates who is a friend and landscape architect in Tulsa to help come up with the parking garage and landscaping. Melisa then used 3D cubes in SoftPlan to figure out the massing and basic shape of the structure. Then based on the shape of the building she used SoftPlan to create a potential floor plan showing the layout of one complete floor of the hotel.

To make collaboration easier I used an online service called "Join Me"

Meanwhile I was busy working on building the site in Sketchup. I brought in the terrain with a satelite image superimposed on it. Then from images I got from Google Earth and Google Street View I modeled the houses and apartments in the surrounding neighborhood. I also brought in all of the surrounding buildings that other people had created for Google Earth which included a large towering apartment building and most of the buildings in downtown Tulsa. I even modeled the bridge going across the river, a portion of which is visible in one of the images below.

I then took the 3D massing Melisa had created in SoftPlan and converted it into Sketchup where I placed it on the property and added all the details. After Melisa finished the floor plan in SoftPlan I also converted it into a Sketchup drawing as well so that it could be given the same "squiggly" look that the finished exterior was to have.

Oh, did I mention that I'm in Texas and that the project is in Oklahoma? To make collaboration easier I used an online service called "Join Me" which can be found at https://join.me/. By using Join Me I was able to make changes to the project on my computer in Texas while Melisa watched from her office and the clients watched at their home. We did conference calls and I would make changes to colors and details per their instructions and they could see everything in real time. Melisa had to look away several times because all of the zooming in and out and spinning the model around to access different areas gave her motion sickness. I never got her to puke though. Maybe on the next project.

The first image below was how the project looked in SoftPlan. The other images are output directly from Sketchup. The only post-process work done was to add the copyright notices and also the drop-shadow look on the floor plan.

If you are interested in learning how to use Sketchup to create images such as these then stay tuned to future tutorials where I will be discussing how to use SoftPlan and Sketchup to create presentation images.


Click Images to see full size

Bill is the owner and maintainer of SoftPlanTuts.com

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