Virtual models are an effective way to visualize the spatial impacts of architecture that no longer exist, or in some cases never have existed.
While there are dozens of modeling programs available, one of the best with which to get started is Sketchup (formerly by Google but now a Trimble offering). As a fairly robust, free program, Sketchup allows one quickly to evoke from a plan an entire space, which is helpful if your real aim is something else: say the digital curation of an exhibition or working out the location of works of art in a comprehensive spatial program. The models below all were created with Sketchup. If available for download, please feel free to use them as you see fit. Click here to download the free version of Trimble's Sketchup (Sketchup Make).
Stamp Art Gallery
The most recent addition to the Collaboratory's offering of on-campus gallery spaces, the Stamp Art Gallery was created by Sarah Evans in Sketchup Make (2017), and is available for download for your creative use!
Created in Sketchup, this measured model of the main exhibition spaces in the Art Gallery in the Art-Sociology Building at the University of Maryland allows one to test out exhibition concepts or explore one's curiosity about curating an exhibition. artwork and killer exhibition ideas not included!
James Barry and the Program for the Great Room, Royal Society of Arts, London
In 1777, the Royal Society of Arts in London commissioned Irish artist James Barry to paint a series of large-scale oil paintings for their Great Room. Titled “The Progress of Human Culture,” Barry’s six paintings were the artist’s masterpieces, and, in their Greek and Roman subjects, were hailed upon their completion in 1784 as the perfect expression of the Society’s aims to make Britain an heir to the classical tradition. The paintings, and their placement within the meeting hall of the Royal Society, beautifully show the triumph of the human spirit and the importance of culture in bringing civilization. While digital images of the Great Hall and of the paintings themselves help us to see Barry’s masterpiece, they are, by their nature, one-dimensional, and do not allow us to see all the paintings in the large room at once. As such, it is almost impossible to fully understand the monumentality and impact of Barry’s paintings without being in the Royal Society itself. But with this instance from the Collaboratory’s virtual models project, one can experience the paintings as they were meant to be experienced, and in addition, one can experience them within their original setting.
Quint Gregory worked with Professor William Pressly on this particular model as an example of, a proof-of-concept for, how Sketch-Up itself can really be a great presentation tool. Unlike Powerpoint, where one can only show images, with the Collaboratory’s model one is able to move about the entire space. Not restricted to one viewpoint, one can, for instance, veer off of a pre-set path depending on questions from a student, even zooming in on specific details. The Collaboratory’s model allows both the viewer and the user to fully engage with the space and paintings themselves in their proper historical context.
Note: Unfortunately the file for this model is too large for download. However, a video is being prepared in the future that will give a good example of its use.
Herman Maril Gallery
The Art-Sociology Building's other art gallery, the Herman Maril Gallery is a space that features frequently changing exhibitions and offers students greater opportunity for exhibition than the Art Gallery, which must operate under a much more regular schedule.
This Sketchup model may serve as a useful tool for budding curators and artists who want to size their work up for display.