Google SketchUP and Google Earth are harmful or useful for Architecture Students?

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“Google SketchUP and Google Earth are very good tools for architecture and design student, but before you use it, you need to come up with your own idea or your own design, and do not forget to visit the real site.”

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Although Google make 99% of their profit from the advertisement in their search engine, they also need to have side products to support their search engine. Google Maps is counted as a part of Google Search Engine which Google also gains a lot of profit from the advertisement of restaurants, hotels and shopping malls. Google Earth is the software which is similar to Google Maps, but it is more powerful in term of navigation. Google does need software to support their Google Earth, which is Google SketchUp. The users can create the electronic model of famous building by using this software and upload it into the Google Earth. These three products of Google, Google Maps, Google Earth and Google SketchUP do effect the development of design and idea of architecture students, which many elder architects really worry about.

I spend my five years of bachelor degree students in two architecture schools, and all my friends have used these products. Google Maps have become a very useful tool for us. It has clean-look maps that architecture students can draw on top, terrain maps that architecture students can draw the section of the land, and satellite maps and street view that architecture students does not have to visit the actual site. I totally agree that this is a perfect tool for today education, but many students misuse it. They do not want to go to visit the site anymore, and after they feel familiar with this lazy behavior, they will grow up to be lazy architects who would never visit the site. When an architect does not visit the site, they will never learn anything about the neighborhood. Then, their design will be followed up by many problems.

Google Earth is similar to Google Maps, but it provides more information which are detailing 3Ds models of famous architectures, and rough 3Ds model of every building in the big cities. Since I had been an architecture student, I learned that every semester, we needed to study at least one famous architecture. We had to do analysis and drawing of sections, elevations, plans and perspectives. Most of my friends did not know how to draw perspective properly, and they also did not attempt to be good drawers. They always did a screen shot (screen grasp) from Google Earth and drew on top of that screen shot, and the professors would never know, if they did not make that drawing by themselves. These caused lack of practice for the students who should have been done a lot of practice.

Google SketchUP is a very user-friendly freeware. It does not require a huge RAM, and it does not require a skillful users. While architecture students can design a new thing easier on Google SketchUP, this ready software teaches them to think from back to the beginning, which is not the way a good architect does. Google SketchUP is actually not my favorite software to make a 3Ds object, because it is not flexible and this means it cannot build an organic shape. With this limited ability, students who use Google SketchUP for their first design will think in box. Their design will be whatever shape that Google SketchUP allows them to make. After they get the shape of their buildings, they will list the choice of possible concepts to present to the class. This way to design is totally opposite from what professors try to teach them, that is to think about a concept as the first thing.

Paul Clark, “Google SketchUP,” ProQuest Central, June 11, 2010, accessed June 11, 2011,

Please click the link below to read other posts
Part 1: Google Let Us Step Accross the Steps
Part 2: Users become Clickative by Google
Part 3: Lack of Practice
Part 4: “I will use Google before asking dumb questions.”
Part 5: View of Artists: How to get highest ranking on Google

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One response to “Google SketchUP and Google Earth are harmful or useful for Architecture Students?

  1. Pingback: Can Students Cheat in Online Class during Coronavirus Crisis?: A situation in Thailand | Sw-Eden.NET

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