Join Dave Schultze for an in-depth discussion in this video Reviewing the project scope and site, part of Rhino Project: Architectural Site & Envelope.
- Before we do any 3D work, let's jump ahead and take a quick look at the finished model and outline our project strategy. It's usually a good idea to first organize your file before making any geometry. But we'll cover that right after our quick tour. So let's zoom around here. This is known as the Zoomerang Pavilion. It's the International Center for Penguin Studies, and if you look carefully, you may spot one or two penguins loitering around. We also have outdoor terraces, as you can see here, around the entire structure.
We also have stairs and a very nice, lovely pool out in the back. For the sites, we have some nice rolling topography here, you can see in green. Now let's talk about some property considerations. These will typically be already done in your sketch phase. We do have some property lines; let's go ahead and turn those on. So those are actually the property line and setback right inside of it. You'll want to consider the height limits, if any. Also the entry and access and any views.
Those are all the property considerations. For the site topography, you'll have a wide variety of environments, from perfectly flat urban sites to this site right here, which is kind of fairly rolling hills. And then you want to consider the location of your building on the site and within the setbacks. So that's it for the tour. Let's talk about starting a file and keeping organized. First up, we want to consider the units before we make anything. So let's go over to the Tools, Options, and we'll see Units here right close to the top.
I-N in feet with some fairly high accuracy. That's going to be important for details later. Now what's going to be really handy and related to the units is the grid we have set up. So it doesn't really matter what the overall size is. I've got mine at 130. If we zoom out, you can see the extents of that. But it's actually fairly critical that the minor gridlines should be equal to your units. So right now I've got every small square here. We can zoom in a little bit. That's every foot. That just makes it easier to kind of estimate size and scale and even do some snapping when you draw curves.
Also, if you're going to snap to the grid, make sure that the minor gridline, whatever you finally decide, I've got mine to one, you have the snap spacing to the exact same amount. Otherwise, you might be snapping to someplace in between the grid, and that can get a little bit confusing. Let's close that for now. I'm going to zoom out here. Also notice I've got some red axis lines. Those are on a separate layer and typically locked unless I'm going to move them. And finally, I've put a little north arrow here up at the top.
That can be kind of handy, especially as you zoom around on the site before you have a lot of stuff on there for reference. Now, the final tip I'd like to share is something I call vertical guides. I'm going to turn this layer on here. And we're going to zoom in here. So I'm using the original access line we just talked about, and that's where my first floor will be located elevation-wise, and you can see that go right across the terrace, across the entire property. Next up, we have this number two. That's the second floor. Anytime we have a critical vertical height, I just go ahead and put one of these reference lines in here.
And you can see this is probably the ceiling below. This is the floor. This looks like it's the top of the wall right there. Also, we have the R. That's for the roof. And then the ceiling right underneath. Now, these can be especially helpful in the early stages. Not necessary, but as I build things and extrude them, these are great for snapping things and keeping the project moving pretty fast. You might have noticed these little green planes. We're going to use those to snap for construction planes. We'll talk about that later.
So as we get going, keep in mind that we are engaged in an iterative process. This is not a linear production. If we're going to use the amazing power of 3D, that means we need to be open to changes and improvement. Therefore, the key to a successful design requires design skills plus 3D skills. You want to be able to work and change at a comfortable speed and get it right.