My Favorite Models

Previously I have done a couple homes that are inspired by ethnic cultures, but intended for American sites. Continuing that, here is a home inspired by Arab culture… Beit Al-salam:

This home is envisioned for a southwestern location, such as north Texas. The vegetation in the landscaping was chosen to reflect what would be found in Arabian environments and be able to grow in a hot, dry climate.

The front window treatments reflect rich mashrabiya traditions.

View from the North West:

The ground level is wrapped in locally-sourced stone. That and the upper levels have a light, sandy tone that fits in well with the environment.

View from the South:

This side has little glazing, with the exception of a balcony door off the master bedroom and clerestory windows under the eaves, in order to reduce solar gain.

On both the south and west balconies, hardy succulents provide a view of greenery out the window without requiring lots of moisture.

View from the North East:

Above the 2-car garage, a deck is overshadowed by a pergola with an arched shape that is echoed in other parts of the home. This is a place to catch an evening breeze while being shielded from the afternoon sun by the upper floors.

The front walk has stone pavers that match the siding of the home.

Front Entry:

The rustic front door sits under a simple, yet colorful, muqarnas (inspired by Lavrentios17’s Modern Middle-eastern Villa Concept).

Interior Ground Level:

An internal courtyard provides a light well, brightening the interior, as well as allowing heat to rise out of the lower floors. The mashrabiya screen design is continued from the outside. Arches are another nod to traditional styling.

Just inside the entry, to the right is a dining area, with ornate ceiling, followed by the kitchen. The beauty of the natural world is symbolized by the green countertops, along with the green pillars, and the blue ornate ceiling in the front sitting room and hall. The golden details add a touch of luxury.

Another view of the as-yet-unfurnished front rooms, looking forward.

Interior Second Level:

Hand-crafted wooden screens decorate the railings along the stairway and balconies.

Interior Third Level:

Each successive floor has yet higher ceilings, allowing the heat to rise away from the occupants. Clerestory windows allow more light in on the east and south sides, moderated by the eaves outside.

Looking down from above, we can see how the mid-summer noontime sun lights the interior.

Looking up from below, we see that there is traditional calligraphic lettering on the skylight.

Unfortunately, the lettering left no shadow in the native SketchUp rendering. As it is, I believe producing this lettering was the most time-consuming part of this modeling experience… see

I finally produced it by importing an image of the text and hand-drawing the outline, before using the Push/Pull tool to make it 3D.

My process for this model (as with many of my models) began with a rough layout of the rooms, using blocks which represent typical sizes of each room type:

Five bedrooms, along with three and a half bathrooms, provide ample space for a large family. The attached garage as well as the den/home office are further amenities of this modestly stylish home.

Further credits:
All vegetation was obtained from the 3D Warehouse (and usually modified a bit), including:

  • Desert Rose and Vase - Star
  • Yucca Tree - International Treescapes, LLC
  • Hanging Succulent - Vickey J
  • Succulent Euphorbia in Vase - Herbert Figueira
  • Low Growing Juniper - CherryBlossom
  • Generic Acacia - Maverick F
  • Jasmine Vine - Matthew V
  • White Sage - Daniel M
  • Desert Willow-Chilopsis Linearis - Rich E

Also, a Chinese Style Door was downloaded from 3D Warehouse and used here, as it has a more general eastern style and subtly recognizes the rich history of trade between the Arab world and China.