One of the biggest impacts a new larger building will have is how it interacts with the sun – and as a result, blocks, reflects, or allows light to neighboring buildings. Especially in tight urban conditions, like this one in Somerville, MA, it’s important to map this information in a realistic way.
Using Rhino and DIVA, we tested a series of building massings for a large mixed use building – we wanted to know which building shape allowed the most sun for the neighboring houses. The results informed the aesthetic and massing decisions we made, and helped solidify a design feedback loop based on data, not just speculation.
Just as important, this kind of analysis also allowed us to communicate clearly with neighbors about various options and be transparent about impacts. When developers are asking for neighborhood buy in, it behooves them to give neighbors *real* data!
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