Whether you're a practicing architect, or just a design enthusiast, you'll want to check out the new KML layer developed by the Royal Australia Institute of Architects for Google Earth. The layer has been officially announced to a crowd of the country's finest architects and designers at their annual conference currently being held in Sydney.

Similar to the America's Favorite Architecture layer introduced to Google Earth in May of 2007, the RAIA layer contains fantastic photos and detailed project information for approximately 600 State and National award winning design projects in and around Australia.

Especially exciting are the 60 3D models of the National award winners over the last five years. The photo-textured models really bring the design to life and allow you to see how the building is incorporated into the surrounding environment.

The KML bubbles for the National award winners have preset "lookat" angles. Double-clicking on the placemark will fly you down to a great view of the building site. To view the 3D buildings you have to turn the "3D Buildings" layer on in Google Earth's layer panel first.

The RAIA KML can be downloaded from the RAIA web site. The entire collection of 3D models for the National award winners can also be viewed in the "RAIA" collection in the Google 3D Warehouse.