Alexander SchreyerAMHERST, Mass. – Alexander C. Schreyer, assistant director and lecturer of the building and construction technology (BCT) program at the University of Massachusetts Amherst and faculty member in the architecture + design program, has released a book on SketchUp, a popular three dimensional computer-aided design (CAD) software, titled “Architectural Design with SketchUp.”

Published and released as paperback and e-book editions, the book is now available through online and local bookstores. SketchUp is a popular three dimensional computer-aided design (CAD) software owned by Trimble Navigation Ltd of Sunnyvale, Calif.

Schreyer has taught courses focusing on SketchUp and other 3D CAD and Building Information Modeling (BIM) software to students in the BCT and other programs since 2003. His courses include construction materials and methods, wood properties, advanced topics in “CAD and Tectonics 3,” the capstone structural course for the master’s of architecture program at UMass Amherst. He also has authored various plugins for SketchUp and is a regular beta-tester for this software.

“I realized that while many students and professionals were very comfortable learning SketchUp’s basics, more advanced topics such as rendering, plugins or geometry scripting were unknown to many of them,” said Schreyer.

This book, he adds, remedies this shortcoming by providing instruction and tutorials for such varied topics as:
  • Component-based modeling for assembly, scheduling and collaborative design
  • Modeling with a BIM approach
  • Using plugins for 3D modeling, fabrication, data integration and analysis (e.g. for building energy efficiency analysis)
  • Photorealistic rendering in SketchUp using a variety of currently available software
  • Enhancing renderings with Photoshop, and combining with hand-drawn content
  • Creating complex geometry using Ruby coding
Schreyer describes that these are complemented by an introductory chapter, which serves as a SketchUp refresher. Features of the book, he adds, include:
  • Easy-to-follow tutorials that describe common or advanced processes and can either be used as presented or adapted easily to match the reader’s needs
  • Basic concepts and background information located in sidebars for easy reference
  • End-of-chapter exercises for self-led practice work or class assignments
  • Full-color illustrations throughout, demonstrating photo-realistic renderings and tutorials
  • A robust companion website that includes helpful videos, sample files and plug-ins


Originally created by @Last, a Boulder, Colo. company owned for several years by Google, SketchUp recently has been acquired by Trimble Navigation Ltd., a company known for Architecture, Engineering and Construction (AEC) hardware and software, according to Schreyer.

“SketchUp’s popularity has been fuelled by its availability as a free version in addition to a more complete, commercial Pro version,” said Schreyer. “It is used in small and large AEC firms during many different stages of building planning and also by hobbyists for anything from renovation planning and woodworking to robot building.

Read more about Schreyer on the UMass Amherst Environmental Conservation website at More about his book, “Architectural Design with SketchUp,” is available at the John Wiley & Sons website at,descCd-buy.html. Schreyer also blogs at, a popular resource for information on AEC/CAD and wood design topics.