Software boost for architecture students

Architecture students at Plymouth University have become the first in the UK to have access to cutting edge design software which could transform the future of urban planning.

LightUp Analytics is a powerful modelling tool which allows users to assess the effects of sunlight and daylight when developing designs for new housing and renovations.

Created by specialists and practitioners across a range of industries, it aims to provide rapid and accurate information which can be fed into both the design and planning processes.

Plymouth University has a developing partnership with the creators of LightUp Analytics, and has now been granted 255 licences for the software – worth around £90,000 – to enable its students, staff and commercial partners to remain at the forefront of urban design practices.

Simon Bradbury, Lecturer in Architecture at Plymouth University, said:

“There has recently been a major overhaul of planning and building regulations in the UK, and part of this process is an emerging issue of how to take advantage of sunlight and daylight.  Having access to such cutting edge software enables our students – as well as our academics and partners – to actively contribute to design, research and policy that is developing in the field. It is also the next phase of our exciting partnership with LightUp Analytics and by working together, we hope to inform innovative design but also, due to the accessibility of the software, enhance interest in an issue architects would previously have been unable to engage with in such a rigorous way.”

LightUp Analytics won the Premier Award in the Digital Innovation Category of the International and Research awards

Created by Julian Brooks and Plymouth University graduate Gary Jackson, LightUp Analytics is a software plugin that gives architects crucial information about day and sunlight enabling them to optimise these for enhanced energy efficiencies.

Julian Brooks talks about the benefits of LightUp Analytics:

LightUp Analytics has been designed by specialists and practitioners from industry sectors including environmental design, architecture, masterplanning, realtime lighting rendering and 3D graphics. It was awarded the Chartered Institute of Building's International Innovation and Research Award for Digital Innovation in 2013.

This combination of specialisms has created a tool designed to analyse and optimise complex and multiple building development proposals and concepts, enabling them to be very energy efficient.

It also ensures they can be compliant with existing and developing industry standards – in particular BR209 (Site layout Planning for Daylight & Sunlight) and GIR27 (Passive Solar Estate Layout) – with public consultations currently taking place over how prominent a role daylight and sunlight effects should play in the planning process.

Gary Jackson, a Plymouth University graduate who is now Architect and Managing Director of the Space Strategy, is part of the development team behind LightUp Analytics. He said:

“For many years, the planning process has used some quite basic tools to assess the impact of light in new developments and renovation projects. It stands to reason that evidence-based design is more persuasive than visually-based design and this requires more accurate methods of assessment – methods that can be trusted by developers and the public. This software democratises access to sunlight and daylight impact and allows architects to accurately reflect those at every stage of the design process.”