SketchUp & LayOut for Architecture – Review

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SketchUp & Layout for Architecture, by Matt Donley and Nick Sonder has recently been released. This new book, looks at the workflow of Architect Nick Sonder – and how he uses SketchUp as his main tool when designing houses, from concept through to completion. Not only is this a fascinating example of the strengths of SketchUp, it also teaches you the skills and knowledge to use SketchUp and Layout to gain its maximum benefits.

SketchUp & Layout for Architecture

SketchUp and LayOut

In case you don’t know, SketchUp Pro comes with LayOut – a really useful tool to allow you to take your model into ‘viewports’ which reflect live alterations to the model. LayOut allows you to produce working drawings, plans, elevations with title blocks, annotation, and much more, right from within the SketchUp interface. The drawings produced can be to scale, accurate presentation, ready to present to your client. No more exporting models as jpegs. LayOut really takes the SketchUp user to the next level.

SketchUp & Layout for Architecture

Who’s behind the book?

If you are not aware of Nick Sonder, his YouTube videos showing his workflow have been used by SketchUp as something of a marketing tool due to the incredible detail he manages to input into and export out of SketchUp – it really is something to aspire to.


Matt Donley has been around for quite some time in the SketchUp world, with his excellent website Master SketchUp, which is packed full of SketchUp tutorials, and not so long ago he published his first book SketchUp to LayOut. So, I think you’ll agree, these two guys know what they are talking about when it comes to SketchUp and LayOut – so we should listen!

SketchUp & Layout for Architecture

What is it all about?

I guess you can view this book as a guide to Nick’s workflow – from site survey, to sections, reflected ceiling plans, output documents, to details and assemblies – this book covers it all step by step.


This book shows you that designing in 3D gives you the freedom to visualise how the project will look, and more importantly how it will actually be built. When working on 2D drawings it is easy to forget that the drawing needs to work in 3D, it is easy to become blinkered.


SketchUp & LayOut for Architecture gives you a step by step workflow, that essentially allows you to purely use SketchUp, no more CAD, and produce beautiful construction documents for every stage of your design.

SketchUp & Layout for Architecture

What is in the book?

As I have already mentioned, the book takes you through the workflow that Nick uses, both with SketchUp and LayOut. On top of this, you get his complete set of SketchUp and Layout templates so you can start using them straight away. This means, once you have learnt the process, you can instantly get started, without having to create your own templates – a tedious and time consuming task.


In the SketchUp templates, the layers and scenes are already created, ready for you to start using. In the LayOut templates, you just need to adjust the title blocks to suit your information and you are good to go.


On top of this, you also get a sample project so you can really get to grips with how everything works and goes together. This information is so valuable – there is nowhere else you can get such a solid guide to best practices when it comes to using SketchUp and LayOut in Architecture.


You can actually download a full table of contents from the SketchUp & Layout for Architecture.

SketchUp & Layout for Architecture

The book also teaches you loads more techniques:

  • Site Modelling
  • Schedules
  • Details
  • Reflected Ceiling Plans
  • Scrapbooks
  • Level of detail
 SketchUp & Layout for Architecture

To sum up

This book is created by someone who has extensive knowledge of using SketchUp and LayOut on real projects. This is key – first hand knowledge is so valuable. To learn from Nick who uses this process day to day is really great. With the addition of all the templates and sample files you really can’t go wrong. This will propel your SketchUp and LayOut knowledge well beyond your peers and colleagues and give you the confidence to focus on design, and not the software.

SketchUp & Layout for Architecture

I suggest you head over to SketchUp & Layout for Architecture and get your copy now!

My favourite Tools and Resources

I have curated a list of some of the tools and resources I would strongly recommend for anyone studying or working in Architecture.