The LA Times published a story a few days ago called “Architects change their view of the lowly roof”. Partly due to the popularity of looking at buildings from directly above (thanks to Google Earth), architects are now viewing the tops of buildings as the “fifth facade”. A place to get creative and decorate for those millions of people world-wide who may view your buildings from above. The article mentions the new de Young museum roof in San Francisco for example (which is viewable under construction in Google Earth). Some architects are creating new “green roofs” and walls which have gardens or parks on the top. Architects report that clients are regularly appearing making requests based on views they have gathered from Google Earth. Architecture students are regularly using Google Earth, especially since the addition of the 3D modeling program SketchUp.
“My students use Google Earth obsessively, especially now that it includes SketchUp,” said Paul Preissner, a Chicago architect who is teaching this fall at the University of Nebraska.
The newspaper also refers to the huge hotel / real estate developments offshore in Dubai. Here’s a collection of placemarks and aerial photo overlays documenting the various projects in Dubai (which was posted at the GEC).