Creating a 3D Model of the Town of Zagora with Sketchup

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Sorry it took me so long to write a new post, I’ve been swamped with work the last few days. I am however back and will be resuming my daily posting. Today I want to show you a few models I created earlier on this year for one of my essays, regarding the town of Zagora, in Greece.

The essay itself was about the evolution of housing in Greece during the Archaic Period, and the town of Zagora was particularly important due to the distribution of space and especially open areas within the houses, which become a prominent feature of Classical Greece houses. The town was made of original smaller houses that were later expanded, creating agglomerated areas, with many houses sharing common walls with other houses. The exact details of the process, and the conclusions we could deduce from this have currently been placed in a location within my mind that I cannot reach, and the original essay is similarly lost within my laptop, but the main idea that got me to create a model of the entire town was that of space visualization.

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3D modelling of structures is entirely about bringing spaces to life, in order to learn from them in a much more efficient way than in 2D. A plan of a town is great to find patterns of activity, but to get an actual idea of how the space was arranged, a model is much more efficient. So in order to really show what on paper was simply a theory I decided to recreate the town from the plan, and also to concentrate on a few of the houses for better examples. These houses were made first without the later additions, and then with them, to show how the creation of open courtyards would have made it easier to carry out activities, as well as giving a more private feel to the environment.

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The models themselves were easy to make using Google Sketchup, and given that this was more interpretive than for presentation, I was able to create it in around 4 hours, showing that good results are obtainable with little effort. Had I had more time I could have used the Rounded Corners tools, and added more detail within the structures, as well as making the outsides more realistic with better textures.

In addition to the large scale reconstruction, which was a first, I also learnt a lot in these models about component placing within Sketchup. If a certain feature of a model is something you believe you may use in the future, it is worth saving it as a component. This can then be uploaded in another model to save time, and very complex objects can be avoided. In this case I used a roof I had already created to cut on the creation time, as well as small figurines I found online to show the scale of the buildings in the essay.

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Overall these models also show how Sketchup can be a real help to display visual elements to enhance the understanding of certain concepts.

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