10 Stunning 3D Buildings Made with Google SketchUp
Among all the free tools that Google produces, Google's 3D modeling software, SketchUp, has to be one of the best and most addicting. These 10 models were selected from Google's 3D Warehouse, its online library of thousands of models created by SketchUp users. Some of these were made with Google's newest 3D modeling tool, Building Maker, launched on Oct. 13. With Building Maker, a user selects a building from one of about 50 cities and creates a 3D model of it using aerial photos in Google Maps and the 3D shapes in Building Maker. (Google promises it will be adding more cities soon.) The user can fine-tune the model with SketchUp and then submit it to Google to be included in the 3D Buildings Layer of Google Earth. If Google likes the model, so it shall be. Each of the following 10 super cool models of structures worldwide can be viewed in Google Earth. With each, you can rotate your view of the building as if you were walking, or flying, around it. The whole effect is like going on a personalized sightseeing tour of exotic destinations from the comfort of your home.
Palace of Peace and Reconciliation (Pyramid of Peace), Astana
This building, located in Astana, the capital of Kazakhstan, was designed by architect Sir Norman Foster and inaugurated in September 2006. It is also known as the Pyramid of Peace and Accord because it is intended as a global center for religious understanding, the renunciation of violence and the promotion of faith and human equality. It accommodates multiple religions including Judaism, Islam, Christianity, Buddhism, Hinduism, Taoism and others. It also houses a 1,500- seat opera house, a national museum of culture, a new "university of civilization", a library and a research center for Kazakhstan's ethnic and geographical groups. Cool fact: The colors were taken from the Kazakhstan flag. The 3D model was created by Néstor Suárez for www.Geo3D.com.ar. Also part of the 2000's Collection in Google's 3D Warehouse.
7 World Trade Center, New York
The 7 World Trade Center is located in New York across the street from the World Trade Center site. The original building, built in 1987, was destroyed on 9/11 and the building depicted here replaced it in 2006. The second building had a smaller footprint than the original and a small park is now included on the site. The current 7 World Trade Center's design placed emphasis on safety and was considered to be, at the time of its opening, the safest skyscraper in the U.S. This model was created by Sebastian S. Also part of the World Skyscraper collection.
Tower Bridge, London,
Built in 1894, the Tower Bridge is one of London's landmarks. It is the tallest bridge across the Thames. Tower Bridge is sometimes mistakenly referred to as London Bridge, which is actually the next bridge upstream. (According to Wikipedia, an urban legend is when Robert McCulloch purchased the old London Bridge in 1968, which now stands Lake Havasu City, Ariz., he believed that he was buying Tower Bridge.) When first built, the 1000-ton bascules were operated by steam engines, which would raise them to full height in less than a minute. Today they are powered electrically. This model was created by Jake Martin. Also part of the Bridges collection.
Dynamic Tower, Dubai
Dynamic Tower, Dubai Dubai is home to some of the world's most innovative new architecture. The Dynamic Tower (also known as Dynamic Architecture Building or the Da Vinci Tower) is a proposed skyscraper that measures about 1,400 feet, with 80 floors, when completed sometime in 2010. Each floor will be able to rotate independently, so residents get an ever changing view and city dwellers get an ever shape-changing tower. Each floor is intended to complete a rotation every 90 minutes. This is also said to be the worlds' first prefabricated skyscrapers. This model was created by Arrigo Silva. Also part of the Dubai collection.
Denver Art Museum addition
The Frederic C. Hamilton Building of the Denver Art Museum opened in October 2006 and was inspired in shape by the nearby peaks of the Rocky Mountains. The building, made with generous amounts of titanium and glass houses, (what else?) Denver's modern art collection. The building isn't just visually stunning; it was created with new construction software tools known as Building Information Modeling (BIM). BIM relies on realtime 3D modeling software to improve design and construction, but also ongoing maintenance, of a building. This SketchUp model was created by Camelot. Also part of the Strange Buildings of World collection.
Palacio de Cristal (Crystal Palace) in Madrid
The gorgeous Palicio de Cristal was modeled on London's Crystal Palace of the 1850s. Built in 1887, it is one Madrid's greatest examples of a wrought-iron and glass-domed Industrial Revolution structure. It was built to stage an exhibition of Philippine tropical plants. The site once housed a royal palace built in 1632 under the reign King Philip IV, most of which was destroyed during the Napoleonic Wars. This SketchUp model was created by Alex. Also part of the Iglesias, Churches & Cathedrals collection.
Guggenheim Museum, New York
The Guggenheim is considered one of Frank Loyd Wright's crowning achievements and was his last major work. It took Wright 15 years, 700 sketches, and six sets of working drawings to create the museum, according to Wikipedia. It recently celebrated its 50th anniversary, opening its doors on Oct. 21, 1959. Although it earned mixed reactions at that time, today it considered a cultural icon featured in numerous movies such as Bye Bye Birdie, Men in Black and most recently The International. The museum's ramp, which looks like a white ribbon, makes five loops and is the structure around which the galleries are organized. The glass dome allows in plenty of natural light for optimal ogling of the modern art housed there. Credit for this model goes to Google 3D Warehouse. Also part of the Frank Lloyd Wright collection.
Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Cleveland
Not only is this a cool building that houses artifacts on a great topic, it's also an amazing example of how realistic these SketchUp models can be. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum opened in 1995. It cost $92 million to build this complex of about 150,000 square feet. The shape of the building is intended to expresses rock's raw power and showcases a162-foot tower that rises from the waters of Lake Erie. Not everyone loves it. The unfortunate nickname of "Mistake on the Lake" (which refers to Cleveland and its freezing cold municipal sports complex) has sometimes been slung at this museum, too. Credit for the model goes to Google 3D Warehouse. Also part of the Cool Places and Cool Stuff collection.
Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood, St. Petersburg
This building's gruesome name refers to the assassination of Alexander II of Russia, which occurred on this site on March 13, 1881. (That was, by the way, a Sunday, not a Friday.) Construction began in 1883 by Alexander III as a memorial to his father. The building has other names: Church on Spilt Blood, Cathedral of the Resurrection of Christ (or "Собор Воскресения Христова" if you prefer). With its colorful medieval architecture, it is one of the most iconic buildings in St. Petersburg. Inside, the church contains more than 7,500 square meters of mosaics, more than any other church in the world save one (the Cathedral Basilica in Saint Louis). Model by Arrigo Silva. Also part of the Iglesias, Churches & Cathedrals collection.
SAS Canada Headquarters, Toronto
The SAS Canadian headquarters building was constructed in 2006 and was Toronto's first LEED-certified commercial building. It incorporates a bunch of trendy green features such as a rainwater collection system, under-floor ventilation, and a three-story atrium topped with a skylight to provide indoor lighting. It is furnished with recycled materials, too, from the carpet tiles to the office chairs. Also part of the
Today's Best Tech Deals
Picked by PCWorld's Editors