The American Institute of Architects (AIA) launched two new AIA layers in Google Earth today: Blueprint for America and America’s Favorite Architecture. Marking AIA’s 150th anniversary, the AIA and Google Earth partnership demonstrates architecture’s impact on the world to more than 200 million Google Earth users.
America’s Favorite Architecture layer features the American public’s favorite structures, as selected by a Harris Interactive poll announced earlier this year. Google Earth users can now see many newly-created 3-D models of the ballparks, bridges, buildings and memorials that characterize architecture for Americans and comment on the poll results.By clicking on the America’s Favorite Architecture layer, users can view texturized 3-D images of the nation’s most popular landmarks created with Google SketchUp, right down to the trees lining the sidewalks and flags flanking the entrances.
The Blueprint for America layer documents community service efforts funded by the AIA, in which AIA members donated their time and expertise to collaborate with community leaders and local citizens to address issues such as homelessness, sustainable communities and downtown revitalization. Clicking on the Blueprint for America layer enables users to explore how AIA members and local citizens are working together to resolve real issues in their communities to create a vision for their future. The Blueprint projects are demonstrations of AIA civic engagement and foster an understanding of how citizens can find their voice to address specific issues related to the design and planning of their community.
“Architecture defines the communities where we live, work and play, and thanks to the technology of Google Earth, we hope to connect communities to one another by opening the door to virtual exploration of design and the design process without the constraints of distance,” said AIA CEO and Executive Vice President Christine McEntee.
“The AIA partnership with Google Earth reinforces the message that architects and local citizens are part of a growing global effort to create a better quality of life in their community,” said AIA President RK Stewart, FAIA. “By following the Blueprint for America projects as they are completed over the course of the next year, local citizens everywhere can find inspiration and insight into how they might become active or more effective in their community.”
The process of designing buildings and communities is changing due to new technology, such as Google Earth’s SketchUp - a powerful yet easy-to-learn 3-D modeling software that combines a robust tool-set with an intelligent drawing system. Google SketchUp users can build and modify 3-D models quickly and easily, making architectural drawings more streamlined and efficient so that more alternative visions of the future can be explored.
“We’re delighted that the AIA community is sharing their important work with new audiences in Google Earth,” said Michael Jones, chief technologist for Google Earth and Google Maps. “The AIA layers in Google Earth enable users to better visualize, understand and appreciate the world around them.”
For more information on AIA and Google Earth, visit www. AIA 150.org, or watch the AIA /Google Earth YouTube video.