Part 1 – Intro to Ladybug Environmental Plugin


Sun Path / Solar Envelope / Radiation / Shadow


Download Zip. File: CLASS_04_INTRO_LADYBUG

The assignment today will be with the Slow House, so we will download the relevant New York EPW weather file from the following site. Download TMY3 files where possible as it is more recent data.

We will go through basic Ladybug environmental analysis tools.

Solar Envelope Reference:



Part 2 – Importing Topography / GOOGLE EARTH / SKETCHUP / RHINO

Import Google Terrain Using SketchUp

  1. Open a new Sketchup document
  2. Check Model Units are scientific and in millimeters (Window> Model Units)
  3. Delete the person
  4. Click the ‘Add Location…’ button on the toolbar
  5. (or Hit the file tab and scroll down to Geo-location>Add Location… )
  6. Enter a location – the white box represents the area which will be brought into the Sketchup model.
  7. Click ‘Select Region’ in the upper right of the window
  8. Select ‘Grab’ in the upper right of the window. This will directly pull the Google Earth Image into the Sketchup File.
  9. Click ‘Window’ in the top menu bar then select ‘Layers’
  10. In the ‘Layers’ window that appears, turn off ‘Google Earth Snapshot’ and turn on ‘Google Earth Terrain’ by toggling the checkbox under ‘Visible’

Export SketchUp 3D Model to Rhino

  1. Save your topography as a SketchUp Version 7 .skp file.
  2. Open a new Rhinoceros model and Choose File>Import… and select “SketchUp (*.skp)” from the “Files of type” drop down menu.
  3. Your terrain will appear in Rhinoceros, you will likely need to zoom extents (Type “Zoom” followed by “e”). You may also wish to delete the rectangle that imports with the terrain model.
  4. The existing terrain object is a triangulated mesh (change the viewport to “shaded” to see this surface) rather than a smooth NURBS surface.

Convert Mesh to Nurb Surface

  1. Select Mesh
  2. Type “MeshtoNURB” and Enter.
  3. Change Mesh to a different layer and turn off this layer.

Using “Contour” Command to Generate Topography Lines

  1. You can create a series of contour lines on any NURBS surface in Rhino.
  2. Begin by selecting the surface on which you wish to draw contour lines.
  3. Select Curve>Curve From Objects>Contour
  4. (or type “contour” in the command line).
  5. Now select the contour plane base point. This is typically one of the bottom corners of the NURBS surface.
  6. Next, select the direction perpendicular to the contour points.
  7. (Hint: For contours running parallel to the x-axis, select a point on the y-axis. For contours running parallel to the y-axis, select a point on the z-axis. For contours running vertical, switch views to the right or front and select a point along the z-axis.)
  8. Now you will need to select the distance between contours. You can select this value on screen or you can type in the interval of the contour.
  9. Hit enter/return and Rhinoceros will generate new contours based on your surface.
  10. (Hint: While the contours are still selected, change them to a new layer by right clicking on the new layer and selecting “Change Object Layer”).



1.3 Take-home Assignment: Environmental analysis of Slow House with Ladybug

Using the Ladybug definitions we covered today, perform an environmental analysis of the Slow House using the Rhino model you built during the first class.

Roughly site the building on the New Haven, NY waterfront topography you have imported from Google Earth. Orient the building so the view out is towards the waterfront to the west.

Create 1-2m contours and 3m sections of the site topography with the Slow House. Construct to-scale layouts of the plan and serial sections of the Slow House and its site.

Use Ladybug to analyze the following to produce analytical diagrams. Select and use one optimal Isometric view for all diagrams;

  • Sun path analysis / (1) Isometric
  • Solar envelope / (1) Isometric
  • Radiation / (1) Isometric
  • Shadow / (1) Plan / Summer Solstice 6/22, Winter Solstice 12/22

Compose each diagram on an A3 sheet to scale, and notate your drawings.


  1. (1) Site Plan
  2. (1) Serial Site Sections
  3. Sun path analysis / (1) Isometric
  4. Solar envelope / (1) Isometric
  5. Radiation / (1) Isometric
  6. Shadow / (1) Plan
  • Print your to-scale drawing compositions on an A3 sheet(s) and hand them in at the start of the next class.