An Interesting Project Using SketchUp

Today in class we were sharing updates on our second assignments for the course. There were some really interesting projects using a wide range of platforms and tools. We were also giving everyone feedback to hopefully help with the projects.

I was reviewing Nicole’s SketchUp project on the Pinhey’s Point Historic Site. The site has an interesting architectural history, in that parts of the building (such as the original kitchen) have been destroyed but the ruins have been kept intact. I liked that Nicole has a specific audience in mind for her project; she hopes that it can be used to help provide access to the parts of the museum that are not accessible to those with disabilities. This not only gives a purpose for the project, but also gives it a clear application outside of the course assignment.

A picture of the ruins of the old kitchen. The stove and chimney are still standing, but the rest of the kitchen has been destroyed.
Some of the ruins from Pinhey’s Point Historic Site.

Nicole also made good use of primary sources such as architectural drawings to help create her model. The specific measurements help to give it a more realistic look. By using the drawings to help draw the model, she was able to create an accurate representation of the site. Users could potentially see this as improving their digital experience because the model tries to maintain the historical accuracy of the museum. Nicole balanced these architectural drawings with best estimates on the design of the wooden structure that was in-between the museum and the ruins of the kitchen, but that no longer exists. This demonstrated creativity and a willingness to step outside exact measurements in order to still have a replica that is as accurate as possible with the available resources. Nicole mentioned that while she had specific dimensions to work from, SketchUp doesn’t create certain structures, like curved walls, very easily. This meant that she had to take a bit of artistic license to build the model, but it looks like everything fits together quite nicely. By geo-locating the model on SketchUp, she also increased the level of authenticity.

Being able to explore the model on the internet is a great idea to encourage people to explore the digital site and potentially get them excited about visiting the physical site itself. Nicole mentioned that she was looking at using the LightUp plugin for SketchUp to create a tour through the interior of the model. This would be really neat because it would allow users to explore the model without a guide. If that didn’t work, however, she could always create a video tour instead. While it wouldn’t be as interactive for users, there may be a greater opportunity for adding interpretive information and highlighting key features that users may skip over if they were exploring it on their own. A video would make a user’s learning more directed, but might be more useful for sharing the main message of the site.

Overall, it looks like Nicole has a great start on her final project. She has used a variety of digital tools including SketchUp and geo-locating to create an accurate and visually appealing model. She is aware of her intended audience and has thought through how she can make the project accessible as well as use it as a tool to help people interact with the museum itself. I can’t wait to see what the finished product looks like!


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