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ArchitectsPortraits of a Practice$
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Thomas Yarrow

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9781501738494

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: January 2020

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9781501738494.001.0001

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Design Tools

Design Tools

(p.114) Design Tools

Thomas Yarrow

Cornell University Press

There is a new work-experience student in the practice. Milo introduces her to the office and explains what normally goes without saying, how the design process works: “We have all kinds of tools available to us.” Computers are one of these tools: “There is a temptation to use them because they are easy to use and produce drawings that look like architects’ drawings.” In fact they are tools that have several tools within them. One of these is SketchUp, a 3D modeling program. Milo explains as he demonstrates, quickly drawing a series of 3D shapes that in only a couple of minutes begins to resemble a house: “It is very, very simple, which is a blessing and a curse—it’s easy to use and quick, which makes it good for working out volumes and masses.” But speed and simplicity come at the expense of precision and refinement. Milo illustrates by rendering a surface with a wood effect: “pretty rank!” he concludes with disgust. Vectorworks is another popular program. Unlike SketchUp, it’s very precise: “good for working out details.” But that can produce its own problems: “It’s easy to get buried in the detail.”...

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