Review: Architectural Design with SketchUp

At Fat Pencil Studio we try to keep up to date with SketchUp developments. This week we provide a review of Architectural Design with SketchUp, a 2013 publication by the versatile engineer, script-developer and educator Alexander C. Schreyer. The book retails for $49.95 and can be found on the author’s website.

Primarily focusing on plugins, rendering and ruby scripting, this is a guide and textbook relevant to SketchUpers of various levels and professional backgrounds. Frequent color illustrations, step-by-step instructions, and references provide a well-rounded and objective manner of writing that is pleasant and informed, reflective of Schreyer’s footing in multiple fields and his practical understanding of shaping both the digital and physical landscape.

The hierarchy of information provides a great level of detail in between helpful explanations of “why” and “what”. Although its publication predates the recent release of SketchUp 13, it is still very useful. Hey, even the price for each cited plugin is listed! Likely this book will lead you to many other new sources like the rendering software Kerkythea. It may even inspire you to buy a reflective sphere to create spherical sky images.

By appearances Architectural Design with SketchUp is specific to architecture, yet it is also relevant to fabrication, presentation, and data analysis. One of my favorite new finds is the Slicer Plugin (shown below) which uses an enclosed volume to create an egg-crate matrix of slabs of a shape, similar to Responsive Design Studio’s Chick and Eggs Chair or parametric cardboard sculptures by Toby Horricks. Another favorite is CubicPanoOut, used to make a 3D Interactive Panorama. And could ColorByZ, which creates a color gradient by height, be useful for creating maps from terrain models? This book gets me excited, it gets me thinking, and it definitely has my vote!


Yelena Prusakova was an illustrator at Fat Pencil Studio from 2013-2017.