Avison Young’s digital Dublin

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Nicola Byrne

The global real estate advisory firm has added another tool to its belt with the launch of an interactive 3D model of Dublin.

The bespoke digital twin, made by modelling tech company AccuCities, allows Avison Young to view and manipulate the city’s current and proposed skyline on the go.

The model is aimed at enabling clients of Avison Young to make faster, more cost-effective, and informed decisions at the early design stage of projects.

The firm also intends to use the model to support clients in relation to planning and site viability analysis, enabling rapid evaluation of planning, townscape and daylight and sunlight matters. It will also be used to assist Avison Young to rapidly assess how to make effective use of development sites, to ensure the most efficient use of land, in consideration of the Dublin City Development Plan.

Avison Young BankOfIreland Trinity Aerial Trees

The Bank of Ireland in Avison Young’s digital map

Mark Feighery, managing director of rights of light at Avison Young, said the 3D model is an “immensely capable tool which will be of tremendous benefit to our Irish client base, particularly at the feasibility and viability stage.

“It facilitates early-stage, cost-effective decision-making processes, particularly with regards to site evaluation, adding to the wide-ranging consultation services Avison Young provides to its clients. Over the next few months will be adding a host of bespoke interactive datasets that are specific to Dublin.”

Avison Young Digital Model Of Dublin In Action

Avison Young’s interactive map in action showing zone of visual influence with ray tracing

Avison Young has also announced that it is expanding its specialised and market leading daylight and sunlight consultancy in Ireland, of which Feighery will be leading.

The firm believes this new investment reflects the growing demand for these services in the Irish market, at a time when there are calls for ever greater height and density, and how that may impact upon the wellbeing of occupants.

Robert McLoughlin, principal of planning, development & regeneration at Avison Young, said: “We believe the digital model, our specialist daylight and sunlight offering, coupled with our planning consultancy will assist both the private and public sector in unlocking sites quickly and efficiently to streamline design proposals.”

Avison Young has previously launched a digital twin of London, which it has used in conjunction with its daylight and sunlight consultancy to support high profile developments such as Olympia London, the Wembley masterplan, Lord’s Cricket Ground, Selfridges, in addition to some of the highest density masterplans in London to date, which according to the firm have achieved excellent daylight standards.

The Lowdown

Mark Feighery Avison YoungPlaceTech spoke to Mark Feighery of Avison Young about what the modelling map enables the firm to do, what tools were used before it was available and how accessible it is for employees.

What was the process before these interactive models were available?

As a former architect I have an appreciation of the feasibility design process. This can be a time consuming and often expensive process for the client, and is a time during which the designers need to interpret the architects brief, whilst also rapidly get an understanding of the constraints and opportunities presented by the site. 3D models such as ours can be used to help the client, architects and their specialist team (heritage, townscape, planning, rights of light), to get a rapid understanding of the possibilities at the very start of the project, using one initial data set, in a collaborative way – usually in the form of a series of workshops.

It makes far more sense to us than having a multi-disciplined project team using a combination of datasets or models, engaging later on in the feasibility stage. Often key issues such as heritage, townscape or rights of light are identified later in the process resulting in costly and time consuming redesigns. Tools such as this can therefore enable more effective decision making.

How are clients benefitting from the digitisation of models?

The service we offer now is like a collaborative workshop, where we invite a client in, usually with their architects, planning consultants, and any other specialist consultants which are relevant to the specific site/project. Prior to the meetings, we usually will have undertaken a period of due diligence on the key constraints/opportunities presented by a site, in order to programme any specific datasets to get the most out of the model.

If the architects have developed a specific design or a range of options at this point, we also integrate it into the model. We can then virtually view the scheme from sensitive points and examine its physical impact upon the existing built environment. This includes the ability to view rapid daylight and sunlight analysis, zone of visual influence analysis (townscape), and interact with the model in three dimensions, including virtual reality.

One thing we’re passionate about during this process, and what our new model enables us to do effectively, is to better understand how a building will look and feel for people that live and work in the vicinity of the new development, instead of adopting a ‘helicopter mind-set’ and focussing primarily on its impact on the skyline.

On a recent project where with applied the technology in London, we programmed in all the local protected views. We quickly identified that the proposed scheme would breach the profile of a listed church steeple. During the course of the meeting, we were able to work with the heritage consultants and architects to adapt the design to a point whereby it sat within the profile of the church, and thus satisfied the heritage consultants concerns. The architect was then able to leave that meeting with a clear understanding of the profile within which they could design an appropriate architectural solution. Without this, it may have been many months until that issue was identified.

This agility enables better, faster and more-informed decision making, saving time and money.

How accessible is it for the Avison Young team to use the tool? Do staff need extra training?

It’s extremely easy to use, if you can play a computer game even half decently, you can use the app. Some tools are a bit more complicated and require more expertise such as running zone of visual influence assessments, but it’s quite intuitive once you’ve gotten used to it.


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