How to optimize the design of large buildings

Do you want to create a residence, a hotel or an office building with Sweet Home 3D? This article, based on the three following examples, presents several tips to help you design large buildings (click on the images to view them in 3D and/or click on links to download their Sweet Home 3D file).

If you know the basics, it’s not especially difficult to design large buildings with Sweet Home 3D. It can even be quite fast if all the levels are similar, like in the Sweet Home Company example.
The main issue may come from your own computer: managing several walls, with many doors and windows on different levels, might slow down the handling of your design, especially in the 3D view when you change level, even if Sweet Home 3D was optimized to handle large buildings faster in versions 6.0 and 6.1.

Controlling the file size

Adding many pieces of furniture of different kinds in your home will make it more complex to handle and will end up with a larger SH3D file. Depending on the circumstances, here are some tips that will help you to better control the performances of your design:

Prefer to use File > Save and compress menu item each time you quit. It zips your file with no quality loss. Smaller files saves disk space and are faster to transfer and backup. For a large building, avoid too many heavy 3D models and high resolution textures. The size of a 3D model is indicated in the information tip displayed when you place the mouse pointer over an item of the furniture catalog.
You may also display the Model size column in the furniture list with the Furniture > Display column > Model size menu item, to check the heaviest 3D models you use in your design (click on the Model size column header to sort the objects by size).

Largest 3D models in Sweet Home Hotel example

Furnish the rooms with the same 3D models as often as possible. Using many times the same 3D model will enlarge a SH3D file just a little. Like in real life where series are less expensive than unique pieces, avoid also changing the sizes of doors, windows, radiators, washbasins… from a room to another.

Meeting room in the Sweet Home Company example

The Sweet Home Residence example counts more than 1700 pieces of furniture spread in 22 apartments, but as it’s based on 83 different simple 3D models (the largest ones are 365 kB), its file size is only 6.4 MB (2.2 MB when compressed).

Large rooms with small furniture 3D models in the Sweet Home Residence example.
Now, It’s up to you to decorate the apartments!

Minding the foundation

The secret when designing large buildings is to spend more time on the first level(s):

Set the thickness and height of the load-bearing walls in Sweet Home 3D Preferences, before drawing them. Keep place for elevators, stairs, chimneys and for water and CMV (Controlled Mechanical Ventilation) columns… i.e. all the elements that, in principle, stay at the same place from a level to another.

Car park at level -2 of the Sweet Home Residence example

Distribute the doors along their wall and above all, the windows before placing any furniture. Don’t forget to have a look to the results

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