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The 2017 SketchUp Prize for the Playhouse Competition

It’s winter in Colorado, but there is a lot I’m looking forward to in the SketchUp universe this spring. Coming up: the AIA Convention in Orlando (new socks!), 3D Basecamp Poland (Poland!), and most definitely the SketchUp Prize for the Life of an Architect Playhouse Competition.

This is our second year sponsoring a special prize for Bob Borson’s most excellent Playhouse Competition. If you’re not familiar, yes, this is a competition to design playhouses: fun, kid-sized structures that bring out your inner child and force your adult brain to make smart design choices.

Ready to get going? Register here and follow Bob’s instructions! Entries are due April 9th!

I invite you to read on for more competition info, and also to learn about last year’s SketchUp winner, the “Basecamp” playhouse, by Riann Kotze.

Riann Kotze won the 2016 SketchUp Prize with his entry “Basecamp.” We loved the idea, modeling, illustration, and presentation of his work.Riann Kotze won the 2016 SketchUp Prize with his entry “Basecamp.” We loved the idea, modeling, illustration, and presentation of his work.

You can read more about our judging criteria below, but one of the things we loved about Riann’s design was his use of simple, interesting forms in service of a fun idea. Also, Riann paid attention to both the size restrictions of Bob’s competition and also usability of the scaled structure. (Hint: use scale figures at true scale!)

Because of its simplicity, Riann’s design was also reasonable to build. This is another element of our judging criteria: you don’t have to create full construction documents, but you should consider what it will take to fabricate and assemble your design.

Riann did create them in LayOut after winningFull construction documents aren’t necessary (though Riann did create them in LayOut after winning!), but we think it’s smart to consider the basics of how your playhouse would be built.

How to Enter

First, register: use the form on the Playhouse Competition announcement. From there, read Bob’s instructions, and pay close attention to the competition guidelines! If you follow his blog, you know Bob is detail-oriented!

The Prize

You know it’s a great prize when the people who work for SketchUp are jealous of the winner!

  • A free trip to our next 3D Basecamp (Really!)
  • A free SketchUp Pro license
  • A credit to get the SketchUp Viewer (on iOS or Android) for free
  • 3Dconnexion Space Navigator
  • A SketchUp swag bag
  • And… your playhouse will get built!

We’ll also have five honorable mention finalists who will each receive a SketchUp prize pack, including a Space Navigator, SketchUp Viewer mobile app, and our most excellent, limited edition (of course) SketchUp socks. It’s almost like you don’t even have to win to win.

The Criteria

So how do we pick a winner? The first phase of winner selection will be in Bob’s capable hands. Out of the finalists for his broader competition, we’ll sort out which entries were designed in SketchUp. (If we’re not sure, we’ll ask!).

The winning SketchUp Playhouse will exhibit the following criteria:

  • Excellent use of fundamental SketchUp skills: component-based modeling, scene composition, texturing, high-quality vector linework. Of course you can learn all about those here on the SketchUp blog.
  • The use of simple, interesting forms in service of a terrifically fun idea.
  • Post-processing: We want to see smart illustration techniques that allow your idea to be clearly communicated. And look great too.
  • Graphic Design: Your proposal has beautiful graphic layout. Your idea is great; your proposal is even better.
  • Efficient construction: We’ve got the bill, but you’ve certainly considered the time and cost of construction for the project in your design thinking.

There are more details on Bob’s blog (shocker, right?), so give it a read, then roll up your sleeves and get modeling!

About the Author

A product manager on the SketchUp team, Mark is also an avid Colorado outdoorsman. You’re likely to find him roaming Boulder's mountain bike trails, scaring up marmots, pikas, and black bears.

Profile Photo of Mark Harrison