Green design leader relies on SketchUp to enhance the client experience.
In the San Francisco Bay housing market, options are limited. That led architect Michelle Kaufmann to develop an ambitious plan for a brand-new home for herself and her husband: energy efficient, health supporting, low maintenance, connected with the surrounding landscape, and small with an expansive feel. The eventual result was stunning, and soon friends were asking Kauffman to design and build clean, simple homes for them as well.
The answer to the question "Can sustainable, green homes be built in mass production?" led Michelle to form Michelle Kaufmann Designs (MKD), a rapidly growing full-service architectural design firm that uses off-site modular technology to create contemporary eco-friendly homes. "What we build and how we build it should improve the environment rather than harm it," says Kaufmann. "I realized I could make a difference through my architecture, founded Michelle Kaufmann Designs and began the mission to make sustainable design accessible to all.
A leader in the green design community, Kaufmann's commitment to sustainable living and design remains constant throughout all of her work including her home designs for the Glidehouse, Sunset Breezehouse, mkSolaire, and mkLotus, as well as her custom home designs and green community developments. Kaufmann's work is widely published, and her homes have been showcased in a number of museums including the National Building Museum in Washington D.C., the Walker Art Center, and the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles.
Behind every green design MKD creates is powerful, easy-to-use 3D design software: SketchUp. Kaufmann and the firm's other architects use SketchUp to generate concepts by building and modifying 3D models. They also use SketchUp to help clients more easily visualize the design of their future homes. With Google Earth and SketchUp, Kaufmann can place models into the actual building site using real-world coordinates and share them with clients using the Trimble 3D Warehouse - an online repository of 3D models. "We can bring a SketchUp model into Google Earth and our clients can actually test-drive the home," explains Kaufmann. "They can move the model around, see how it fits into the landscape or where the sun hits it, and get a feel for how to really take advantage of the site."
Kaufmann's team has advanced the concept of sharing 3D designs by enabling clients to try out different building materials and appliances in virtual 3D space. For instance, if a client wants to consider swapping the placement of a dishwasher with a refrigerator, it can quickly and easily be done using Google SketchUp with the appliances available in the Trimble 3D Warehouse. Or, Kaufmann or architects on her team can use SketchUp to apply different finishes and materials to the home from a set of pre-selected green and low-maintenance options.
With SketchUp, Google Earth and the Trimble 3D Warehouse, Kaufmann can make sustainable design more accessible to everyone. SketchUp gives the MKD team an easy-to-use 3D option that accelerates their design and architecture tasks. Google solutions also enable clients to take a hands-on role in designing their own homes using sustainable materials. "With SketchUp, the Google 3D Warehouse and Google Earth, clients can make a home their own and become even more inspired and educated about reducing their ecological footprint," says Kaufmann.
MKD's approach, helped along by Google solutions, is making sustainable design more feasible, visible and accessible. Starting in May 2008, the mkSolaire will be the featured attraction at Chicago's Museum of Science and Industry as part of the Smart Home: Green and Wired exhibition. Kaufmann and her business partners are installing an increasing number of single-family homes, as well as building sustainable communities in areas such as Oakland, California, and Denver, Colorado. Says Kaufmann, "We continue to completely rethink what we build and how we build it, and Google solutions are at the heart of our efforts."
SketchUp is software that you can use to create, share and present 3D models. Whether you want to design a new deck for your house, build models for Google Earth, or teach geometry to your fifth-graders, you can use SketchUp to see your ideas in 3D. From simple to complex, conceptual to realistic, Google SketchUp enables you to build and modify 3D models quickly and easily. For more information, visit sketchup.google.com.
About Google Earth
Google Earth combines the power of Google Search with satellite imagery, maps, terrain and 3D buildings to put the world's geographic information at your fingertips. Beyond mapping software, Google Earth is a powerful tool for viewing, creating and sharing interactive and highly visual location-specific information. For more information, visit earth.google.com.