Monday, December 28, 2009

NBBJ: Parametric Strategies in the Design of Hangzhou Stadium (Part 1)

Copyright NBBJ + CCDI

This is the first of a series of posts which will give an overview of the parametric design processes that are being used to design and develop the Hangzhou Stadium by NBBJ and CCDI.

Grasshopper was used to create the parametric model. Click the images below to get a description of the techniques used.

Location: Hangzhou, The People's Republic of China
Client: Hangzhou Olympic & International Expo Centre Construction and Investment Co. Ltd.
International Architect: NBBJ
Local Architect: CCDI
Program: 80,000 seat stadium, tennis tournament + practice facility (23 courts), cultural center, retail + commercial center
Copyright NBBJCopyright NBBJCopyright NBBJ
Copyright NBBJ
Copyright NBBJ + CCDI

NBBJ + CCDI: Ground Broken on Hangzhou Sports Center!

On December 26th, ground was broken on the Hangzhou Sports Center. I am happy to have been a part of this amazing project since the competition that took place over a year and a half ago. Check back soon for some additional information regarding the use of advanced digital modeling (Grasshopper) on the stadium...

Location: Hangzhou, The People's Republic of China
Client: Hangzhou Olympic & International Expo Centre Construction and Investment Co. Ltd.
International Architect: NBBJ
Local Architect: CCDI
Program: 80,000 seat stadium, tennis tournament + practice facility (23 courts), cultural center, retail + commercial center

Photo Copyright NBBJ
Photo Copyright NBBJPhoto Copyright NBBJPhoto Copyright NBBJPhoto Copyright NBBJ

Monday, December 14, 2009

Grasshopper Course @ USC

I am happy to announce that I will be teaching a 5 week Grasshopper course at the University of Southern California.

The class will begin in April 2010. Stay tuned for details!

Friday, November 27, 2009

Image Fabrication: Thanksgiving Turkey

A fun definition for fabricating supergraphics on a modular set of panels....

The definition allows the user to...

1. Specify any image
2. Control number of panels
3. Control panel size
4. Control amount + size of perforation on each panel.

Download Here

Have fun!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Grasshopper 0.60043 Available

Be sure to read David Rutten's post for a more complete overview of the new features....

Click here to download the latest Work-In-Progress release of Grasshopper.

A few cool features that immediately come to mind...

1. You can now "Undo" and "Redo" (YES!)
2. You can now "Find" components being used within the definition. (Right-click to find the component... renamed components can also be found)
3. You can now enable/disable components.
4. There is a new color scheme for components making their 'state' more easily legible in larger definitions.
5. New user interface components: "Multidimensional Slider", Bar/Line graph visualization...
6. There are many new fun toys to play with in this release including Metaballs

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Quadrangular Flat Panels in Grasshopper

I made a quick and dirty VB.NET script component in Grasshopper for finding surfaces that work with quadrangular flat panels. this script makes it so the flat panel edges match their neighbors. No mathematical surfaces are used in this case...

Click here to download the Grasshopper Definition


1. This script uses lists UV points on a surface and generates an iterative set of planar panels.
2. It works from one corner of the surface and then assembles flat panels row-by-row
3. The resulting panels are always planar with edges that meet.

4. Very handy if you are looking for irregular doubly-curved surfaces that you can fabricate out of flat material.


1. The script just does what it wants... and what it wants is flat panels.
Don't expect a lot of flexibility in this regard (ie, Do not expect the output to match your input surface if you are working with double-curvatures. it does its best, but as Scotty would say "I can't break the laws of physics!")

Monday, October 26, 2009

ACADIA 2009 - 'Conclusion'...?

The 2009 ACADIA conference has officially come to an end. As a young professional, it was a fantastic experience to see research and projects at the cutting edge of digital technology and fabrication. I was flattered and humbled by the response I received for my work at NBBJ. The success of the presentation is a great motivator for pushing the work ahead. ACADIA is a great community and I am happy to be a part of it!

At the end of this week, I will be traveling again to Beijing to continue work on the Hangzhou stadium. We are entering into the construction documentation phase so it will be an opportunity for us to take the design and the parametric system to the next level.

Next year, ACADIA will be in New York.... see you in 2010? I hope so! To be continued....

Sunday, October 18, 2009


If you are attending the ACADIA 2009 conference, you can catch my lecture on Friday, October 23 @ 12:10.

Below is a preview....

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Update from Beijing

Hello, For anyone that may, on occasion, visit this blog...sorry for my lack of updating. I have been in Beijing working on Design Development for the Hangzhou Sports Park. NBBJ sent a team of three to work with our local collaborator, CCDI.

We will be completing DD at the end of the month. Here are some shots of the 1:100 scale rough working model for the 80,000 seat main stadium... (yes, that tall, balding fellow is me...)

Sunday, August 2, 2009

3D Supershape in Grasshopper

This is a Grasshopper definition I made earlier this year that allows the user to generate 3D Supershapes. I started playing with it again in the last few days to test out the "Save state" feature in the new 6.0018 release of Grasshopper.

The definition plots a set of UV points in 3D. The surface by points component is used to create the supershape.

Click Here to Download the 3D Supershape Definition by Nathan Miller

The definition works with the latest release of Grasshopper (6.0018)
(I've tested it with GH 6.0018 on two Windows XP computers with Rhino SR4 and SR4b)

If anyone does anything cool with it, let me know and I will post it on the blog.


***Updated with additional definition notes***

Saturday, August 1, 2009

ACADIA 09 Paper Abstract + Teaser

Parametric Strategies in Civic Architecture Design by Nathan Miller
Presented at the ACADIA 2009 reForm() Conference
Chicago, IL. October 22-25.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

ACADIA 2009 Paper Accepted!

My paper for the ACADIA 09 Conference was accepted today. The title is "Parametric Strategies for Civic Architecture Design". There were 106 paper submissions and only 21 papers were chosen. I am very happy to be a presenter! Visit the ACADIA 09 Website for more info!

Sunday, May 17, 2009

A new official Grasshopper community has been created to replace the Google Group site. The new site allows you to set up your own Facebook-esque profile and post pictures and videos. The site also features tutorials and links to other tutorials online.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Open Source Spotlight 02: TopMod 3D

TopMod 3D
Click here to visit the Top Mod website and Download.
TopMod3d is a free, open source, portable, platform independent topological mesh modeling system that allows users to create high genus 2-manifold meshes.

While a little buggy and (sometimes) sluggish, TopMod has some very unique tools for creating complex meshes. You begin with a primitive shape (a cube, for example) and then manipulate it to create more intricate, continuous meshes.

The program has many subdivision and remeshing options although I wish it featured a sub-d 'preview' toggle so I could get a better idea of what the smooth result looks like before committing to a permanent operation.

Regardless of its flaws... there is still much fun to be had with TopMod...

Monday, May 4, 2009

Open Source Spotlight 01: K3DSurf

As an ongoing feature, I will spotlight various Open Source design software that I find useful, fun, interesting... and most of all COOL.

Click here to Visit the K3DSurf Website and Download

From the Website:
K3DSurf is a program to visualize and manipulate Mathematical models in three, four, five and six dimensions. K3DSurf supports Parametric equations and Isosurfaces.

As a designer, if you are at all interested in mathematical form finding, definitely check this software out... the simple interface allows you to navigate through a huge library of mathematically derived forms and surfaces. You can manipulate/create equations, adjust mesh resolutions, and output the mesh (*.obj) for use in other programs. Below is the result of some fun I had playing around with a gyroid for 5 minutes....

Sunday, April 26, 2009

3D Voronoi "Porn" in Grasshopper

There has been an interesting discussion going on over at the Grasshopper Google Group for achieving 3D Voronoi within the Grasshopper environment.

Visose recently posted a method for using the VB.NET script component in conjunction with the Pointset Reconstruction plug-in in order produce a set of 3D Voronoi polysurfaces (BReps) within Grasshopper.
The method does not allow for auto-updating. You will have to hit F5 in GH to refresh the result. Still, this is pretty effective if you want slightly more automation than is currently offered by the PSet plug-in.

I have posted the *.ghx file of the method: GH_3D Voronoi_Pointset Macro Method.ghx

You will need to have the Pointset Reconstruction Plug-In installed for this to work. The image above is a result I got after modifying the voronoi BReps within Grasshopper (offset and fillet of 3D voronoi = trendy architecture!)

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Ribbing Revisited

I have received several requests to post the Grasshopper definition for rib system screen shot I posted here.

I did not post it before because the definition was extremely unorganized and very "touchy".

I have since rebuilt the definition to be compatible with GH v.0.6. Also, the definition no longer relies on solid booleans to create the rib notches (I have found solid booleans to be extremely unreliable in Grasshopper).

Anyway... now available by popular demand:
Click Here to Download Cylindrical+Vertical Ribbing 1.0

Note: I make no guarantees for how well the definition works. Sometimes it has problems when a vertical rib intersects a surface seam... Suggestions welcome!

Sunday, April 12, 2009

UNL Grasshopper Workshop Results!

On Saturday April 11, I instructed a 1-Day (9AM-5PM) Grasshopper workshop at UNL College of Architecture for undergraduate and graduate students. There were 25 students who participated. Most were familiar with Rhino but had never used Grasshopper before. I covered a lot of topics for one day and the students did an excellent job adapting to a new way of working and designing. Below is a summary of what we accomplished...

PS... a new version of the plug-in was released this past Friday: click here

I began the day discussing the interface and how Grasshopper manages data using lists... this included an overview of the new functionality offered by trees and paths...Next I did some step-by-step exercises showing how to set up some basic relationships between geometry.Following this, we moved into more complex design problems including a bridge system and a tower study. As students become more comfortable with grasshopper they began to move into creating their own design problems and studies.

Below are some examples of what the students produced...

GREAT JOB GUYS! I hope to be back in NE for another one in the future!

Sunday, April 5, 2009

UNL Presentation Schedule

APRIL 10th: Parametric Strategies Lecture
Architecture Hall Gallery
7:00 PM to 8:00 PM

APRIL 11th: Grasshopper Workshop
Architecture Hall Gallery
9:00 AM to 6:00 PM

Workshop Schedule:

9:00 AM - 10:00 AM
Grasshopper Interface and Examples

10:00 AM - 12:00 PM
Step-by-Step Exercises

12:00 PM - 1:00 PM
Lunch Break

1:00 PM - 5:00 PM
Design Problem: A Parametric Tower in LA

5:00 PM - 6:00 PM
Wrap-up and Discussion

Saturday, March 21, 2009

UNL Presentation + Grasshopper Workshop

University of Nebraska-Lincoln, College of Architecture
Lecture April 10th__Grasshopper Workshop April 11th

On April 10, I will be giving a lecture on parametric strategies in practice to the University of Nebraska-Lincoln College of Architecture. The lecture will focus on work I have done over the past year at NBBJ that has integrated parametric techniques into the design and delivery process. This will be coupled with a Grasshopper workshop on April 11 where I will introduce students to Rhino's generative modeling plug-in and take them through a series of design exercises using this tool.