In mid-July of this year, intrepid world travelers John, Shara and Steve headed east to join Sophie Feng (one of our newest SketchUp team members) on a mission to learn more about folks in China are using our software. Here’s a travelogue that Sophie put together to describe the trip.
When a journey begins, you generally have no idea how it’s going to end. The small talk that seems insignificant turns into a great inspiration. The strangers from another country you only knew by name become your friends, while the colleagues you just met become your family.
In June, we talked by Skype about a trip to visit SketchUp users in China, planned it, then worked toward making it happen. Despite that, I doubt my dear colleagues knew how long it was going to be until we were sitting in a prestigious architectural firm the first day they arrived in Shanghai.
July 9th: Shanghai EC Architectural Design & Planning Co. Ltd.
Users presented to us how they use SketchUp in their workflow. They showed off their design skills by making a beautiful SketchUp animation for us. A local government official also was invited to join the “SketchUp Dialogue”.
John really enjoys drawing on the wall.
July 10th: Better SketchUp, Better Design at the Shanghai Salon
Many designers, mostly young, came to the event filled with hope. They were enthusiastic, intelligent, idealistic, and joined us from all over China (Beijing, Shanghai, Suzhou, etc.) One interior designer even came all the way from Taiwan to share his SketchUp ideas with us.
Our users tell their stories one by one.
We were curious as to how these young designers use SketchUp for such large projects, which are actually fairly common in China. One thing that was very important to all those at the salon: They really want to make sure that SketchUp would not change too much after the transition from Google to Trimble. One of the most impressive presentations of the day was a local developer’s “BIM for SU”. One of our users developed a series of plugins for SketchUp that completed a specific BIM workflow.
On a yacht in Huangpu River, Shanghai. From left: 王韶宁 wang shaoning, developer (Beijing); Steve Dapkus; 潘毅 Panyi, Landscape Architect; 钟凡 Zhongfan, SketchUp-BIM user (Guangzhou); John Bacus; 陈建良 Chen jianliang, interior designer; 刘新雨 Liu xingyu, Urban Planner (Beijing).
July 10th & 11th: Wuhan
This was our first visit to a famous Chinese university: HUST (Huazhong University of Science & Technology) is the only institution to offer a Masters degree for BIM qualification in China. Professor Luo (the College President) told us that there were 8,000 construction sites in Wuhan last year. There’s no doubt that BIM has a great opportunity in China, as does SketchUp’s role in a BIM workflow. My colleagues John, Steve and Shara found themselves feeling hopeful at this leg of the trip, against all odds due to jet lag, 43 degree Celcius heat and 90% humidity.
As the first national research Lab in China, HUST is glad to get new ideas from SketchUp as a BIM tool. In the afternoon, another interesting salon was waiting for us.
Our new friends shared lots of interesting thoughts with us. Shara looks better after she’s had some coffee.
July 13th: Guangzhou
On our way to Guangzhou University, The U-BIM Company prepared a BIM and SketchUp conference for end users in Guangzhou. John added that “Maybe SketchUp is BIM for everyone” in his slides, and added that “SketchUp can do more than just visual representations.” digitalarch, a SketchUp user in Taiwan, had explained this notion for us at the Shanghai salon.
We look fresh today. We are standing at the entrance of Guangzhou University.
SketchUp users always have a way of expressing their thoughts; a designer who is also a professional rapper told us he would write a Chinese rap for SketchUp. What a brilliant idea! I know it’s been a long trip—10 days, 3 different cities, and my American colleagues were all anxious to get back to their sweet families. Let’s end our long trip with a poem written by Chen ling 陈玲, a young Shanghai landscape designer. When he told us that he believes that SketchUp changed his life and career, I saw his eyes light up.
Chen ling is a very talented designer. Look at the scale of these models!
Poem: Gratitude for SketchUp by Chen ling 陈玲
Have been working in designing after leaving school
So lucky I met you—SketchUp in October 2004
You change my career
Because of you, I seize more opportunities.
Because of you, I am one of the youngest writers who can publish the book about you.
You give me so much, so much wonderfulness
You bring me so much, so much glory
Thanks a lot
Posted by Sophie Feng, SketchUp China Team