Using a Sun Study Animation for Analysis and Redesign

Screenshot Boards Page 2a.jpg
After running a series of Base Case sun study animations, document it by creating a board layout. Then make adjustments to the design and create new animations, and a new board for comparison. Consider thermal comfort and spatial qualities.
Assessment objectives

Assessment objectives include:

  • synthesize data for analysis
  • set up an iterative workflow to intelligently change a design
Exercise Type
Evaluation Criteria
High Pass
High quality animation, board layout, design
Good quality animation, board layout, some design
Low Pass
Poor quality animation, board layout, no design
No submission
Uses Tool(s) Tool:Rhino v4.x , Tool:Photoshop CS5
Uses Workflow(s) Workflow:636608

This exercise is directly related to the 100B final project. Taking your current building design, run a solar animation on an interior view (as demonstrated in workflow). Is the sun going to be welcome at all times of year? When would it be better with sun and when is sun not needed/wanted? Change your design to either let more sun in or keep more sun out. Run a new animation to show how the changes are working. Repeat until you are happy with the results, then make a new animation. Lay this process out on two boards - one for before any design change and one for after your changes.

You can download the layout template file here:
Exercise Template

Study the two charts below. In San Francisco, a building like yours would have a certain amount of internal heat gain. This heat gain reduces the outside temperature below which heating would be needed. In this case, the sun's energy can be a helpful heating element when the outdoor temperature is below 55 deg F (see note). Studying the temperature range chart for SF, we can see when sun is needed, and when it is not needed. This is not to say natural light is not wanted. It is up to the architect to figure out how to light a building naturally but not allow solar gain when it is not wanted.

PsychrometricChart 03.jpg

SolarAnalysis TemperatureChart-01.jpg

Note: 55 deg F is the balance point temperature used for this exercise. In a commercial building (with computers, people, and lights) the balance point temperature is probably going to be lower, reducing the need for direct sun.

Based on the San Francisco climate the general goals are:

  • 12/21 Winter Solstice - shortest days of the year and cool. Direct sun is welcome, unless it interferes with program activities.
  • 3/21 (also 9/21) Equinox - in Spring the air is still cool, and direct sun would be mostly welcome; however in Autumn San Francisco is very warm - direct sun is not helpful. A compromise for some direct sun is likely the solution. Remember sun is a source of light, and the light can be manipulated by the architecture. Direct sun may need to be limited, but light is nearly always welcome.
  • 6/21 Summer Solstice - in San Francisco June is not the warmest, but it is still warm enough that direct sun is not desired.

Create a Sun Study animation movie (mp4) of Winter Solstice, Equinox, and Summer Solstice for your base case in section. Link key renders into the template provided, along with a section of your redesign. Write a paragraph summarizing your analysis. Change your design. Run three more animations for homework to reflect the design changes.


  • 4 animations: 12/21, 6/21 (Base Case); 12/21, 6/21 (Re-Design)
  • 2 boards (17x22 printed): 1 for Base Case and 1 for Re-design
  • One paragraph summary/analysis of your design changes success/failures

Please upload your files to your respective GSI box accounts by the end of the day Thursday April 17 , and bring printed boards to section on Friday April 18 .

Name your files: LastnameFirstname_BaseCase_W11 , etc.

Rudy's Section Upload
Shawn's Section Upload