Free download usually means some sort of malware or identity theft scam, but in this case, it is actually something really wonderful.
Getting started in 3D modeling, learning how to manipulate viewing angles, scale, etc., has intimidated many veterans of the design and construction industry. My friends and colleagues who are truly experts in this space almost universally recommend the same point of entry, however, when it comes to getting started in 3D: SketchUp.
Initially released back in 2000, SketchUp has evolved to become an incredible tool for 3D modeling. However, while SketchUp is a great tool for creating and viewing 3D models, the credit for widespread use of the tool really belongs with the amazing 3D Warehouse.
The editorial staff at Architizer shared the following:
It is now more than 10 years since SketchUp’s 3D Warehouse was first created, and support for the “Wikipedia of 3D modeling” shows no signs of dwindling. This vast open-source library is not just a repository of SketchUp models of every kind — architecture and otherwise — it is also home to a thriving online community, with modelers leaving feedback on each other’s work, sharing tips and tricks for modeling in SketchUp and even collaborating on vast, shared models of whole towns and cities with an incredible level of detail.
The statistics for the 3D Warehouse are as extraordinary as the creations to be found within it. As of 2015, more than 2.2 million models had been created and made freely available for download on the platform, with the site garnering an average of 7.7 monthly visits. The proliferation of uploads is all the more remarkable when you consider the work that goes into many 3D models, with many people taking hours or even days perfecting the details of their work before sharing the file for anyone across the globe to enjoy.
In recognition of this modeling altruism, we highlight some of the most well-known architectural icons available within the Warehouse, complete with download links for those wishing to adapt, build upon, design alongside or simply explore this diverse range of landmark structures.
As an example, below I’ve linked to the 3D model for a well-known Frank Gehry project (one that I may or may not have been involved in the investigation of, as part of a legal dispute):
Be sure to read Architizer’s post which provides links to 17 of the world’s most iconic architectural designs, all available for free download, to use with the free SketchUp software available for most computer platforms.