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Design Competition Brasil: Tiny Houses

Our friends over at SketchUp Brasil each year host a national design competition. This time around, the challenge was set to develop an affordable ‘Tiny House’ concept constructed from recycled shipping containers that would meet Brazilian housing regulations. Projects had to be modeled exclusively in SketchUp and natively rendered, check out the complete brief (in Brazilian Portuguese) here. Thanks to all who took the time to submit an entry, we were very impressed by the skills on show. Below, we speak to the winners of the amateur and professional categories.

Roberto Henrique M de Souza, winner of the Amateur Category

 SketchUp Brasil winner Roberto Henrique M de Souza

Swapping out steel walls for glass allows Roberto to open up the constrained space. 

Roberto: Until very recently I was a woodworker, building furniture for residential homes but now, since entering this contest, I have become a full-time 3D renderer. I was first introduced to 3D software back in around 2002, by an architect friend. He showed me the basics and I have used it on and off ever since.

I heard about the SketchUp Brasil design competition though Instagram, it was a great challenge for me personally, having not done a project of this scale before. Working with only two 20ft containers, it is very difficult to fit all the amenities you might expect to find in a normal house. I produced most of what you see by hand, but of course, I did import a number of objects directly from 3D Warehouse to help me to quickly populate the project. As part of the competition, we were not able to use a renderer, which meant I had to think quite a lot about what textures to include and how shadows could help emphasise certain elements. In total, I would say I spent around 40 hours modelling.

Outside of this project, I have been experimenting with photorealistic rendering and as it is a little more complex, I have signed up for a V-Ray training course to enable me to create more detailed visualisations. I’m also just starting out with Transmutr to simplify complex geometry and Skatter to generate vegetation for more realistic renders. 

 SketchUp Brasil winner Roberto Henrique M de Souza
Roberto expertly nestles a full kitchen-diner into the small space.
Roberto reveals details Roberto monochrome and full texture

Reveal the detail: Roberto’s final output in monochrome and full texture.

The contest was a great way for me to practice my modelling skills and gave me the inspiration to change my career. For anyone who is just starting out with SketchUp, my advice is to not give up! In the beginning, it is difficult to learn something new but there is a great sense of satisfaction in gaining the skills to be able to design anything you want to.

Discover more of Roberto’s work;
Instagram: @artmade3d
Behance: artmade3d


Luis Felipe Maia, winner of the Professional Category

SketchUp Brasil winner Luis Felipe Maia

Luis cleverly stacks the containers to maximise on covered outdoor space. 

Luis: From Rio de Janeiro to the world, I am an experienced Architect and Designer, with a background in the end-to-end renovation projects of homes, offices and other commercial properties, as well as in 3D modeling and rendering. My services are offered through my own company and partnerships with fellow architects in Brasil and Europe. 

For the SketchUp Brasil design competition, I set out to design a home that my girlfriend and I could actually live in, which is the reason I named the project; A house for two. By starting with this idea, the challenge was clear; it had to be as spacious as possible, comfortable and have both a full kitchen and outdoor space to host our friends and family. Even though it was a small space, the concept had to avoid any compromises on lifestyle. I went through a number of design iterations to achieve this, which is exactly what SketchUp is good for.

Typically, I would use a renderer to show off a final design, but in this case, we were permitted only to use LayOut. I began working with LayOut this year and was a little apprehensive to move away from a dedicated 2D tool. It has proven to be the right decision and today, SketchUp and LayOut are the only design apps that I use. 

SketchUp Brasil winner Luis Felipe Maia
Luis demonstrates the awesome power of LayOut, a requirement for the professional competition entries.
SketchUp Brasil winner Luis Felipe Maia

Behold, the completed project in all its glory, great work Luis!

I spent maybe 100 hours on this design in total but it was during a period that I was stuck in the house with a broken foot... so I had a little extra time to dedicate to the cause.

My advice for new designers would be to just dive in and treat models like a sketch, it’s much more fun to run through design iterations than to worry too much about getting it right the first time. 

Discover more of Luis’ work;
Instagram: @lfmaia.arq
Behance: lfmaia


Thanks once again to all those who entered the SketchUp Brasil competition! If you’re located in Brasil, be sure to follow them on Facebook or Instagram and enter their next competition to be in with a chance of winning great prizes. 


About the Author

As a member of Trimble’s channel marketing team, you’ll find Richard making the world great again - one country at a time. His downtime is spent pedaling, striding and photographing the wilderness and urban jungle.

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