Architectural Reconstruction Project– Preliminary

I’m trying to do an autobiographical final project, so I attempted to do a reconstruction of the house I grew up in.

Unfortunately, I didn’t have any pictures of it, so I did most of the "construction" from memory. This led to a few problems when I flew in to Ohio last night and got a picture of the place:


I’d remembered the roof on the front of the house, over the front entryway, as being peaked, for example.

So last night I did a lot of erasing and fixing and correcting, and I’m reasonably happy with the results:


(I gotta say, I’m also quite impressed with Sketchup’s ability to cast shadows fairly reasonably, too.)

Obviously, there’s some problems. The dormer’s kinda funky. The buttresses that hold up the roof– which are a pretty defining part of the house’s character, I left off, because I was having so much trouble with the roof’s overhang… has anyone else gotten the "follow me" approach to roofs to work? ‘Cause it worked in the video, but it ain’t workin’ for me. And that leads to another problem– there’s funky unnecessary lines everywhere, especially on the roof. And as my mother pointed out, the chimney’s too short, and a bit too far to the front, which would be a fire hazard.  So I guess it’s good that I’m just doing this virtually…

Let’s walk around to the back of the house, now…


I actually enjoyed this view– it may not look like much, but if you wanted to have this view of the house when I was growing up, you’d have had to have stood in my neighbor’s garage, and had the ability to see through walls. And he was an old man, a compulsive hoarder with about a million cats… So even if I could have seen through walls, I wouldn’t have gone into his garage to get that view, ’cause he scared me.

Notice how the roof line gets strange in the back? When I was a small child, my parents built  an addition on the back of the house. My mom had a serious illness in the middle of that, so there was about a year when I was small where the kitchen sink was a garden hose and a bucket. The wooden stairs out the back were there when I was small, but were later replaced when my father built a small porch.

There’s some problems from this side, too. The addition is actually not clapboard like the rest of the house, but board-and-batten. I got lazy on that one, and decided to use the clapboard, because I didn’t want to make a board-and-batten pattern.

Another problem is with the stovepipe for the wood stove that heats the addition– it’s crooked. I just noticed that a few minutes ago. I lined it up with the roof instead of making it parallel to the ground.

Again, the thing’s awash with unnecessary lines.

Overall, I learned a lot about Sketchup, and it was kind of fascinating to first attempt to replicate the building by memory, and then try to make it look like a photograph. I mean, I know that building pretty intimately– I scrubbed it every summer, and painted it more than once. But it’s kind of amazing how hard it is to remember the fine details. This morning, my family and I have sat around critiquing my Sketchup work, each of us remembering different little details about the way the house was built.

Oh– and finally, because technically the Sanborne Map thing, while it was by far the easiest part of the assignment, was integral to the assignment– here’s how my house, circa 1982, looks superimposed onto the map of the neighborhood from 1928.

Shockingly, there’s only one other building on my block that’s changed significantly other than the one I grew up in.


Incidentally, did anyone else find a way to get the Google Earth data to not come through to Sketchup in black and white? (Not the Sanborn stuff, the actually satellite images from GE…)

3 replies on “Architectural Reconstruction Project– Preliminary”

Your home model looks great. You may have more luck with modeling one of the supports-saving as a component-and then simply copying it to the various locations. I agree the follow-me tool is mystifying. I usually warp the surface into 5-space.

Nice job, Tad! I can practically hear you playing kick-the-can in the neighborhood! Adding the model to the old Sanborn map gives some good perspective. I’m curious if the ol’ neighborhood changed any from 1928?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *