An integral part
of the architectural process


5 Benefits of Aerial & Panoramic Photography

Aerial and panoramic view photography has become an integral part of the architectural process in modern real estate development. Super high-definition images are an invaluable tool to show true, real-life perspectives, helping architects with the site planning, design, positioning, orientation, and interior layout of modern development projects. Why do best-in-class architects depend on aerial and panoramic views through each stage of their project?

1. Enhanced Site Planning & Architectural Design

Panoramic photography gives architects and designers precise view information as they plan and design building layouts and interior configurations. Obtaining view imagery has become a standard practice not just for signature luxury developments, but for most urban developments, and especially for projects where providing optimized view corridors is a main concern. Aerial photography allows architects to precisely visualize actual views from any floor, in any direction, and design with these in mind. This detailed imagery not only informs design considerations, but can also speed up zoning, plan approval, air rights, and architectural/engineering processes by allowing stakeholders to see real views from any height elevation and site location.

2. Precise Structure Positioning

Aerial and panoramic images also prove extremely useful in determining the positioning of structures within a project site. Aerial photography can capture multiple stacks of bird’s eye views to determine optimal building placement, whether that be relative to other structures within the project or relative to existing buildings surrounding a site. In conjunction with panoramic view photography, architects can fully optimize the placement of structures to take advantage of each site’s unique configuration and surrounding environment. For example, the master planning architect of Petco Field in San Diego relied on eight stacks of aerial views over large parking lots adjacent to the proposed field to determine the best building placements. In Los Angeles’ Century City, architects had four stacks shot over a 10-acre site to determine the best positioning for a luxury condominium tower. In New York City, a consortium of developers had their design teams use six different stacks of aerial shots over the 8-acre Riverside site at 10th Ave. and 60th St. for precise orientation and positioning of four planned buildings.

3. Optimal Daylight Orientation

In addition to view considerations, aerial and panoramic images enable architects to consider daylight and shadowing effects when orienting buildings and deciding on building footprints. Actual view photography can highlight the differences between dawn and dusk views or show how different views may change throughout the various seasons. Utilizing actual views is essential to studying building angles, exterior wall and window choices and optimizing these view corridors. Aerial photography can provide architects with these views through different seasons and at specific times of day, allowing them to better understand how the sunlight or night time views will be perceived by future occupants.

4. Informed Interior Layout

Good design teams are also using aerial view photography to optimize interior design decisions. Precise view photography allows designers to fully understand what effect the placement of building elements such as the ceiling, walls, furniture, utilities, elevators, and corridors will have on potential views. Whether designing the layout of condo units or an amenity floor/rooftop for a residential development or conference rooms and offices for a commercial project, aerial view photography enables architects to take full advantage and consideration of the unique view characteristics specific to each site and to highlight or minimize these characteristics through informed interior design.

5. Advantageous Shape

Aerial photography can be used to effectively inform building’s shapes and contours. The sizing of windows, exterior wall angles, structural support and negative space design – all things that play a role in architectural shaping - can be optimized through information gained via high-definition photography. With accurate view imagery on hand, building elements can be modeled floor by floor to maximize view options.

As the possibilities in architectural design and construction technology continue to expand, architects and planners are relying more and more on aerial and panoramic view photography to create the best possible building designs and site plans for their clients. Especially in dense urban environments, architects are engaging aerial photography early on in order to fully capture the benefits.

Panoramic and aerial photography can be used in all phases of the design process, including architectural composites, concept proposals, entitlement presentations, shadow determinations, tower positioning, view corridor studies and zoning issues. Whether planning a large-scale development or a single mid-rise building, architects and development teams are realizing that aerial panoramic photography is an essential tool that not only benefits the entire design process, but also provides value throughout the whole development process. From initial project conception through sales and leasing, aerial view photography has become an integral part of today’s best-designed and most successful projects.