English Text

This medieval house has never existed yet its model has a long story...
partly thanks to Sketchup.

Conception J. Fredet - Modélisation O. Netter

Initially, this model was made to test Sketchup, but in fact it has radically and deeply changed my professional practice.

Before being one of my first 3D model, this building was developped by Pr. Jacques FREDET who taught me at the Ecole d'Architecture de Paris Belleville. A remarkable expert in Pre-industrial ordinary Parisian buildings, he gathered together his in situ observations and surveys on hundreds of similar constructions and made some examples. He also managed to produce an example of a typical house for each major period, he described all their elements and their make ups. These were initialy hand drawn and then done with Autocad. His plans, sections and elevations were published in the annexes of his texts1.

As an architect specialized in ancient buildings and urban design, I have principally worked as project manager in particular for the construction of the Parisian tramway. I have always had a particular interest in the tools and methods employed in the design production.
After the birth of my son, I decided to slow down and work part time. This situation (and the economy after 2008) gave me the “opportunity”, after all the years spent with CAD 2D (and before that, those on the “board”), to start thinking differently, and move to 3D.

My first 10 day training allowed me to discover the modeling proceedings enforced by Revit 2010 and the so called B.I.M. concept...

I must emphasise that, in my opinion, testing a software means evaluating the possible transgressive practices allowed. These transgressions are necessary in the creation and conception process...

Conception J. Fredet - Modélisation O. Netter

Generally in CAD softwares, tools are over-specific, with no space for “alternative” practices. The hand is "successful" in human evolution because it allows many practices... Paradoxically, Autocad, that was originally made for to mechanics has success in many different contexts because it is just dedicated to drawings.

A few weeks after that B.I.M. experience I was introduced to Sketchup PRO 7 during a 5 day training with the architect Christophe Hébert, one of the French beta testers with excellent teaching methods.
I found direct solutions for my non-typical concerns such as placing a window in a distorted wall or studying a tramway platform. I really enjoyed using the U.I. thanks to its ergonomy and I value the open spirit that seems to have led to its development. I was therefore convinced that I had found the tool I was looking for as a complement to hand drawing.
The enthusiasm shared by the trainees and Christophe Hébert himself transmitting his knowledge made me realise the joy of teaching and sharing knowledge...
So I took the decision myself to train people.

After my training with Christohe I had to test Sketchup in more depth according to my specific requirements. In order to do that properly I had to find something complete, something complex to model. Moreover I had to think about something far beyond the routine of tri-dimentional representation confined to image production.

It is here that we meet again our medieval Parisian house. Indeed the precision and the completeness of the examples J. FREDET described in his book (it could be considered as the first architctural treaty  of the 21st century) were essential criteria for a strong test.
So I modeled the house in Sketchup with the informations from Jacques FREDET 's studies, descriptions and original drawings elaborated for the “late Gothic type; 1520” of the Parisian house.

Types courants de l'architecture mineure parisienne
de la fin de l'époque médiévale à nos jours,
avec l'anatomie de leur construction,

éditions de l'encyclopédie des nuisances, Paris 2003.

I only had the free Sketchup 7 version, and its flexibility allowed me to model “as text goes by”. By this I mean, following the order of construction and according to the author's category of analysis without any conflicting process imposed by Sketchup developers and always with great pleasure.

Conception J.Fredet - Modélisation O.Netter

It was a convincing test far beyond from my hopes. I used groups, components and layers to classify the building elements in order to show them according to J. Fredet's purpose in his book.

Meanwhile I was contacted by the “Ecole Nationale Supérieure d'Architecture de Paris Belleville” to teach CAD and DTP, Sketchup was one of the programs in the curriculum.
My model was completed and structured in scenes and I thought about using it guide my courses about Sketchup. It could be used to explain how to produce scenes as a basis for the export animations.
Out of courtesy I decided to ask J. Fredet's permission to use in public one of his examples, seeing as it was a real labour of love.

Upon viewing my animation J. Fredet told me about his contribution to an upcoming exhibition about the medieval Parisian Home in the “Archives Nationales”. He told me about the request from the Scientific Commission for tridimensional representation of his work. I simply had to work on a better export format and add a voice over for the visitors in post production.

Poster of the exhibition at Archives Nationales
During the exhibition everybody recognized the didactic and educational potential of Sketchup. A tool that is perfectly adapted for use in education for to represent object and techniques from the past that are dying out or that in fact have totally disappeared. Objects and techniques that sometimes can be of interest for very current and real problems.

When I showed this animation to an archeologist I was in ask to make an another model for the “Institut de Recherche sur l'Architecture Antique”. It is a 3D analytic model of the existing ruins of the Apollo’s oracle Temple in Klaros Turkey.

Temple de l'oracle d'Apollon
Mission archéologique de Klaros
Synthèse documentaire sous la direction de J.C. Moretti.
Modélisation Olivier Netter

In addition an architect requested me to carry out a training on Sketchup 8 Pro for him and his team after the seeing of the animation of the medieval house. After the 3x4 hours of training they produced a model that convinced their client to go ahead on a project to construct residential buildings near Paris.

This is how this exceptional tool modified my professional practice allowing me to extend the scope of my job always with the pleasure of drawing, and a new one that is to share and teach this information with students, researchers and architects as well to the non specialized public.

Indeed it is the “3D for everyone”.

Types courants de l'architecture mineure parisienne
de la fin de l'époque médiévale à nos jours,
avec l'anatomie de leur construction,

éditions de l'encyclopédie des nuisances, Paris 2003.