Thursday, March 31, 2016

UNL Architecture Courses - Towerpalooza!

A series of spring technology courses at UNL have concluded this past month.  I taught two parallel courses in parametric modeling and computation for BIM for undergraduate and graduate architecture students. Both courses positioned Revit as the primary design platform:

  • Conceptual Design with Revit:  The first course was focused on conceptual family creation and parametric modeling workflows.  
  • Computational Design with Dynamo: The second course introduced Dynamo as a computational design tool that can be used to facilitate design exploration with BIM.

The mini-courses were taught over the span of three Saturday sessions with between 10 and 15 students. Both course assignments used a "tower" as the design prompt and it was interesting to compare and contrast the student results. The student products from the parametric family course tended to be more "free" in terms of geometric control with a higher level of development for different design components. The Dynamo course had a much higher barrier to entry for learning a 'new language' and the products were more formula-driven in terms of overall geometry.

Parametric Modeling with Revit
Student: Dexter Hansen

Student: Anna O'Neill

Student: Abdulrahman Nahas

Computational Design with Dynamo

Student: Michelle Lindgren

Student: Kristen Schulte

Student: Caitlin Tangeman

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Updates You May Have Missed

With my new business keeping me busy, I haven't had as much time as I would like to keep as up to date as I would like. Make no mistake, I am still very much committed to keeping this blog going and sharing some of my more recent computational design explorations.  If you have been following any of my social media accounts, you may have noticed that there have been several updates to LunchBox, Rhynamo, and other tools making their way out into the wild.

Here is a summary of what you may have missed in recent months...

Playing Nice with JSON

In both LunchBox for Dynamo AND Grasshopper, the LunchBox toolkit now has several new nodes converting between JSON, XML, datasets, and more.  I like being able to convert my data between various formats with ease and these new tools hopefully make this easier

Serialize Dynamo data as JSON
Grasshopper Tree to XML and converted to JSON

Extended Excel Tools in Dynamo

Grasshopper and Dynamo both have some great solutions for working with Excel.  Within Dynamo, I created a few helpful nodes for serializing Excel data to .NET DataTables.  These nodes make it easy to serialize your tables so they can be queried like a database or converted to other formats like XML and JSON.
New LunchBox Excel nodes for Dynamo
Dynamo 0.9 Support

Rhynamo and LunchBox have been upgraded to the latest version of Dynamo (0.9) and have been given some general facelift for use with new versions.

Thursday, July 9, 2015

LunchBox for Grasshopper Returns!

I am pleased to announced that a new version of LunchBox for Grasshopper has been released as a free download in the new website. It has been over a year since the last update and there are many new components and improvements in this new release. Features of interest include….

  • Data components allow users to translate their data to XML, JSON, and CSV. 
  • Sort Duplicate components allow users to better organize their data. 
  • User Strings are now supported with “Object Bake” and “Layer Geometry” 
  • Unroll Surface has been introduced as a new component.
Unroll Breps!
XML Serialization of DataSets
Referencing geometry by layer with User Strings
Sort Duplicate components let you find unique values with a sorted index map.

Monday, July 6, 2015

A New Proving Ground

Greetings friends,

It has been over 8 years since I started, in 2007.  It began as a journal for exploring the intersection of design and technology.  From there it grew into a venue to showcase new processes and tools to help in the design workflow.  I feel very fortunate to have earned a social following through these efforts in the design and building communities.  Along the way, I have learned more than a few things about how buildings are designed, built, and operated.

Today, we have increasingly more sophisticated modeling tools, more accurate analysis, and a lot more data at our disposal. However, buildings remain risky, expensive, and time-consuming endeavors.  Nearly 70% of buildings run over schedule and 72% are over budget.  26% of non-industrial waste can be attributed to building-related construction.  39% of all carbon emissions and 72% of electricity consumption comes from buildings.

Can data help us to move the needle on these statistics?  Perhaps.  However, it is no secret just how risk averse the building industry is when adopting change.  Creating a building carries a high price tag and high liability. The stiff competition in design and rising cost of construction materials will often deter introducing any anxiety of change and potentially 'looking bad'.  Instead of the disruptive change offered by data-driven technology, building teams are far more likely to look for faster, more powerful versions of the same paradigm already in place.

We need buildings.  We need well designed buildings.  More than ever, we need buildings to perform.  To achieve solutions to the challenges facing our built environment, I believe we need to strive to position data as a disruptive medium that can change how we make design decisions, transform how we build, and create new opportunities to manage and interact with space.

I am pleased to announce the formation of PROVING GROUND LLC.

As a consulting company, PROVING GROUND's mission is to shape a data-driven building industry through new services for strategy, education, and consulting.  I am interested in seeing the building industry realize the promise of data with new processes and behaviors... with some new tools sprinkled in along the way, of course.

I am very excited to start this journey and I am looking forward to sharing what comes next... 


Nathan Miller, Founder

Contact Proving Ground

Friday, April 24, 2015

Integrating XML with Dynamo via LunchBox

New LunchBox nodes for XML creation and importing
In the latest released of LunchBox for Dynamo, I have included new XML nodes that allow exporting and parsing.  Dynamo data can be serialized and saved to XML with the help of the new DataSet nodes included in Dynamo.  XML data can also be imported and parsed.

New nodes include...
  • SerializeXML - Create new XML from a DataSet and save it.
  • DeserializeXML - Converts XML nodes and values to a Dynamo nested list.
  • GetXMLNode - Get the contents of an XML node by tag name.
GetXMLNode allows for quick parsing of XML data using tag names
Deserialize XML into Dynamo lists for tags and values
Serialize XML data with the help fo LunchBox DataSet nodes