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Why New Daedalus?

Daedalus was the mythical great architect and artificer of the classical world. Today, embedded intelligence is enabling the most profound changes in the way we create and use buildings since his day.

Building Intelligence meets the Intelligent Building. The Intelligent Building negotiates with the Intelligent Grid. How will this transform how we interact with the physical world?

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Thursday
Apr032008

Development & Planning with Google Earth

I honestly had not thought much about Google Sketch Up until Wednesday morning. It’s a nice enough 3D drawing application, easy to use, as far as it goes. It even has a snappy photo draw feature. Import a photo, identify the sight lines and horizon, and start tracing. Sketch-up knows enough to create a model from your tracing.

You cannot, however, do anything too sophisticated with it. You cannot interact with masses. You cannot get any BIM out of it. I felt it was an interesting sketching tool, and nothing more. I was not very interested.

Of course, I had neglected the benefit of network effects, failed to take into account how easy connections between systems create new value, value beyond that of the system itself.

One of the network elements is Google 3D Warehouse. 3D warehouse is, at first glance, a YouTube of models drawn in Sketch Up and submitted to the warehouse. One’s chance of finding something useful is limited by the accuracy with which the submitter tagged the sketch. There are many 3D cats, an eerily life-like disembodied head of Barak Obama, and so on. Manufacturers have uploaded a large library of 3D objects that you can include into your models. There is also a growing library of actual buildings in the 3D warehouse.

Sketch-Up also uses its shared heritage with Google Earth to eliminate the positioning or “origin” issue of most low end building drawing programs. Most drawings are at the center of their universe. This makes combining multiple drawings is hard. Sketch Up drawings are all located in space. You can select a town, or you can place your drawing at a latitude and longitude. Initial daylight analysis is almost effortless.

One final network effect was the interaction with Google Earth. You can pull up, say, an intersection in using Earth. From Sketch Up you can then grab the site and place it your building sketch directly on it. When you are done, you can post your building directly back onto Google Earth and share it with others.

Well now, this is different. Zoning and public planning processes can now be performed in shared real time using only free tools. Public access, including public submissions, can be straightforward in this environment. Community groups and planners can work from the same models, visualized the same way, with computers they have already.

Complex interactions between buildings can be explored. A new building might cast a shadow, or a wind shadow on an adjacent building. Does this increase heating requirements? Does it reduce on-site generation capabilities? Does it instead reflect more light on the existing building, causing increased heat load?

Zero Net Energy buildings will be concerned with energy interactions at this level. Early easy visualization might let us notice these interactions early in our processes, so we can plan for them.

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