New SketchUp service offers insight into early stage design

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PreDesign helps assess how a site’s climate and environment might impact design

PreDesign is a new conceptual stage design service for SketchUp which enables architects and designers to test design strategies and understand how a site’s climate and environment might impact design proposals.

“PreDesign provides useful information that we need to position our projects for better design outcomes from the start,” says Adam Osterhoff, principal architect at Heartwood Studio. “Its compelling visual outputs and intelligent talking points also help us clearly communicate the value of our proposals to clients.”

According to Trimble, the developer of the software, PreDesign reduces the need to navigate multiple platforms to obtain local weather information, such as average temperatures and predominant winds, by gathering climate data about a site and delivering insights into a variety of design aspects.

For example, by connecting the dots between the climate and building type, the software might suggest an appropriate architectural response, such as larger openings to take advantage of outdoor conditions or shading to control solar gain.

To help designers effectively position a building, sun path diagrams can highlight areas that receive warming sun and those that might be exposed to overheating sun or overcast by cloudy skies.

The software also allows designers to adjust glazing type, framing insulation, solar control and external shading to better understand the impact of glazing specifications, while daylighting provides ‘inspiration and clear guidance’ on the suitability of a range of lighting options.

There’s also a focus on outdoor spaces, to help designers propose strategies such as windbreaks, fans, rain covers, fire pits and solar-powered lighting. PreDesign comes with a SketchUp Pro, Studio or Enterprise subscription.

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