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Brief: Design a 'pod project' that can be prefabricated and helicoptered onto a site.

Marc's Helipod example project: This page shows how I spent one hour to develop my concept for a pod project to observe animals in the Grand Canyon, USA. You might spend more time to develop your project.

Develop your own pod project: Practice your design and digital technology skills to present a concept for a pod project based on a brief and location that you decide. 

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This is my example project brief. Decide on your own brief.

BriefDesign a small pod in the Grand Canyon to observe the 596 species of wild animals of the canyon.

Specifications:  Pre-fabricated pavilion, 36m2, helicoptered into place on the side of the canyon, base & exterior walls of pavilion geometrically shaped to suit the contour topography of the land, core drilled rock anchor structural support, 1 bedroom, 1 eco bathroom & kitchen, solar panel power, helicopter roof pad for access to pod.

Brief key words: Pre-fabricated pod, observational lounge, designer stairs, bedroom, bathroom, helicopter roof.

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Time to determine project concept: 5 minutes

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You have to access the site via helicopter, the architecture is small, like a pod. Hence the project name: Helipod. 

Rooftop helipad. Feature stairs to get into the observation lounge with couch, chair, kitchen & telescopes to observe the animals. Bedroom with glass exterior walls to observe the view. Open bathroom. Store room for bags etc.  


Time to determine site location: 5 minutes

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Locate the site on Google Earth, get the GPS co-ordinates, search the location in Sketchup to 3D model the terrain.

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Time to draw Helipod floor plan: 5 minutes

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Time to draw Helipod design plans, elevations, perspectives: 5 minutes


plan + elevation drawings - 1:58 minute video 

section + interior perspective drawings - 2:44 minute video 


Time to 3D Helipod design using Sketchup: 5 minutes

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I only 3D modelled the building shape, not the interior or any fine detail. These images are Sketchup screenshots.

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Time to create a design image of Helipod with Photoshop: 35 minutes

I sourced images of a helicopter, sky, people & landscape from the Internet. Edited the images with Photoshop & 

added rock/landscape image to the front of Helipod to look like it blends in with the environment.

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