4 Essential Elements of Site Analysis

4 Essential Elements of Site Analysis

Site analysis is a crucial first step in creating a viable building design. Considering site location, topography, zoning regulations, traffic conditions, and climate allows a designer to maximize opportunities and anticipate potential issues. The following four factors are crucial in getting the most value out of site analysis.

Factor One: Climate Trends

Pritzker-winning architect Glenn Murcutt has been known for camping out at a site before starting the design to understand its climate — a feat not all architects have the time to accomplish. Now we have 3D modeling technology that can provide insights into site conditions worldwide. Assessing your site through the lens of climatic factors gives you the best chance of harnessing opportunities and mitigating against less favorable factors.

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Courtesy of SketchUp

PreDesign helps you weave climate analysis into your design narrative, offering features that filter through different combinations of glazing ratios and shading options to present those most suitable for your project based on an analysis of historical climate data for your site.

Factor Two: Social Considerations

Good design should enhance users’ quality of life. Barton Malow Company used SketchUp to develop 3D and 4D models of Frostburg State University Education & Health Science Center.

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Courtesy of SketchUp

Using SketchUp, the team developed 3D models early in the process, exporting images to showcase the proposed build and 4D animations for additional impact. They phased the project in a way as to ensure that its neighbors were not negatively impacted. SketchUp Scenes illustrated the build process, effectively communicating and phasing the logistic plans, enabling the students to live and study during construction. They exported site plans from SketchUp, which mapped out key areas, ensuring access points and construction material storage did not interfere with pedestrian/ vehicular traffic. A great example of building with the human element in mind!

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Courtesy of SketchUp

Community buy-in is vital for creating integrated neighborhoods. Urban planning firm Houseal Lavigne Associates delivered a stunning urban redevelopment plan for the downtown area of the City of Oshkosh. The project was a success, garnering community support, catalyzing economic growth, promoting job creation, and instilling civic pride and community. 

The project team used SketchUp to iterate and showcase the value in response to community concerns. Technology is essential to their workflow — fast 3D modeling facilitates design development, and compelling renderings help planners and designers communicate effectively with clients and the community. They believe that with technology, urban planners can take the guesswork out of urban planning.

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Courtesy of SketchUp

Well-considered buildings celebrate the culture of the surrounding community. Lund and Slaatto Architects' award-winning project Ulstein Arena is a gathering place for the town of Ulsteinvik that integrates the surrounding landscape with urban life. 

Factor Three: Zoning and Regulation

The right of way, site history, conservation status, listed building status, tree preservation orders, and building performance regulations all fall under zoning and regulation. 3DTechnology helps incorporate building performance analysis early in the design process for the most impact.

Architectural Designer, Scott Miller at Remington Development Corporation, uses the SketchUp suite of tools to perfect the conceptual design process.

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Courtesy of SketchUp

He reviews the location and dimensions for doors, stairs, and windows to ensure the buildings he designs are up to building code standards.

Using Sefaira helps the team at Remington Corporation start meaningful conversations with their sustainability engineers. They can identify issues with energy loss through the building envelope, their equipment/lighting power requirement limits, and the minimum values for the construction assemblies and glazing systems.

Factor Four: Infrastructural

Costly errors can be avoided when using the right technology to understand your existing site conditions, particularly the location of existing utilities and infrastructure. Construction company FMT AB’s success hinges on using interoperable technology. FMT AB kicks off each project by sending a drone to collect point cloud data on-site. They use Scan Essentials, Trimble Business Centre, and RealWorks to import drone data and transfer it to SketchUp.

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Courtesy of SketchUp

This exclusive use of Trimble technologies makes the company an estimated 30% more efficient than its competitors. Start a free 30 day trail today.

Cite: "4 Essential Elements of Site Analysis " 29 Sep 2022. ArchDaily. Accessed . <https://www.archdaily.com/989059/4-essential-elements-of-site-analysis> ISSN 0719-8884

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