Monday, August 19, 2013

Parametric BIM: Facade Design Using Dynamo for Autodesk Revit

The Summer is quickly closing out and the Fall season will soon be upon us!  (...and then winter is coming...)

Join me in Chicago on October 24+25 for another Facades+.  You might remember that Michael McCune and I ran a Facades+ workshop this past Spring on the subject of interoperability.  This time out, I will cover Facade Design using Dynamo for Autodesk Revit and Vasari!

About the Workshop...

Dynamo is an open source graphical programming language for Autodesk Revit and Vasari. Dynamo can be used to customize a wide variety of computational design processes within Revit’s Building Information Modeling environment. This workshop will explore how Dynamo can be used as a took for studying parametric facades. Participants will learn how to use Dynamo for generating facade geometry, deploying Revit families, utlizing analysis information, and managing complex parameters.


  • Basic knowledge of modeling in Revit and/or Vasari 

Required Software

  • Revit 2014 and/or Vasari Beta 3 
  • Dynamo

Thursday, August 8, 2013

CASE Learning: Rhino + Grasshopper + DIVA Workshops

We have been delivering exciting training and workshop opportunities since CASE first opened its doors.  We are pleased to announce that Sept. 16-20 will mark the first of many new CASE Design Technology Workshops aimed to provide individuals in the AEC industry with the knowledge and tools for a better BIM workflow. This inaugural collection of professional Rhino-based courses is focused on popular design technologies used for conceptual exploration, idea development, and early analysis.

This week-long event will kick off series of courses that can be taken all together (for the hardcore learner) or individually (based on your interest). The workshops will take place at the CASE HQ in NYC where computers and software will be provided. Space is limited, so don’t waste any time to inquire about availability!

Additionally, if you are interested in an exclusive professional workshop for your practice, don't hesitate to reach out and we can work with you to put something on your calendar!

If you’re interested in signing up for one or all of the courses, contact and provide the following info:
  • Contact info (Name, Phone, E-Mail) 
  • Discipline (designer, architect, engineer, etc...) 
  • Organization (company or university) 
  • Course(s) of interest (see list below)
September Courses

RHINO 101: Rhino is a popular NURBS-based 3D modeling tool. This is a 2-day introduction to 3D modeling Rhino 5.0. The course will cover basic modeling capabilities used for conceptual design and schematic development. CASE will cover how to use Rhino to develop architectural geometry in the context of an iconic architectural precedent.  Learn more here....
Duration: 2 days; Sept. 16-17
Cost: $1200 per person

GRASSHOPPER 101: Grasshopper is a computational design plug-in for Rhino. This is a 2-day introduction to computational design with Grasshopper 3D. The course will familiarize designers in how to use Grasshopper as a design development tool. Participants will define geometry, develop architectural systems, and implement data mining techniques. Learn more here....
Duration: 2 days; Sept. 18-19
Cost: $1200 per person

DIVA 101: DIVA is an environmental analysis tool for Rhino. This 1-day introduction will guide designers through the different solar, daylight, and energy analysis capabilities of DIVA. Participants will set up analysis models, create visualizations, and extract environmental metrics on design models.  Learn more here....
Duration: 1 day; Sept. 20
Cost: $800 per person

Tell your friends :)

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

CASE Learning: DIVA 101

Environmental analysis has quickly become a mainstream capability for design practices.  As issues of environmental performance grow in importance (and popularity), designers have been in need of tools that allow them to develop concepts with the aid of analysis data.

Analysis tools have typically existed as separate applications requiring the designer to develop cumbersome workflows for converting and rebuilding geometry.  DIVA for Rhino does away with many of these pain points and provides an interface for connecting Rhino models directly into powerful analysis engines.  This workshop focuses on the many uses of DIVA within a Rhino-based design workflow.

DIVA for Rhino

DIVA is a popular environmental analysis plug-in for Rhino.  The tool provide direct connections from Rhino to Radiance, DaySim, and EnergyPlus simulation engines.  As users design, they are able to run a wide variety of visualizations and metrics on their design such as Solar, Daylight, and Thermal.  All of this occurs through the Rhino interface.  Additional DIVA tools are also available through Grasshopper for more advanced applications.

This workshop provides an overview of all the different simulations a designer can perform with DIVA.  Designers will modify analysis models, test different metric settings, create visualizations, and learn how to interpret results.  Thematically, the workshop will leverage design models of the Swiss Re tower that are used in the Rhino 101 and Grasshopper 101 workshops.

The workshop begins with model set-up and basic solar study visualizations of the building mass and site context.  Following the initial model analysis, designers will then proceed to perform visualizations of interior spaces to study metrics such as glare.
Shadow study visualization using a time lapse image capture.
Interior glare study using Radiance visualization.
The workshop then proceeds to perform node-based analysis of the model and import the results within Rhino.  The workshop explores the uses of solar and climate-based metrics.
Node-based solar analysis on selected zone of the exterior facade.
Node-based interior daylight factor analysis on a single floor plate.
Finally, the workshop will explore the uses of DIVA's Thermal analysis with EnergyPlus for single-zone simulation.  A brief overview of using Grasshopper for more advanced analysis will also be introduced.

Thermal analysis results for a single-zone model. (graphed in Excel)

Monday, August 5, 2013

CASE Learning: Grasshopper 101

Computational Design is the new black in the architectural design world. From powerful automation scripts to iterative design algorithms, computation has given designers the ability to create novel processes to support innovative architecture.

The program that has dominated the computational design conversation in recent years is none other than... Grasshopper!


While Rhino enables designers to freely explore design concepts through a conventional 3D modeling interface, Grasshopper allows the user to create customized tools using a graphical algorithm editor.  Uses of Grasshopper range from production automation, geometric rationalization, or iterative design exploration.  In the past, these processes typically required the user to have a knowledge of programming or scripting.  In Grasshopper, these processes are achieved by wiring together nodes into a visual graph representing the framework of an algorithm.

Like with CASE's Rhino 101 training, our approach to teaching Grasshopper focuses on useful implementations to support design exploration and development  in architectural practice.  As with our Rhino training, we have chosen to focus Grasshopper training around developing a parametric version of the Swiss Re Tower by Foster & Partners.  The tower is well suited for exercises involving rapid iteration and algorithmic frameworks.  For designers who also take our Rhino 101, the Grasshopper course allows us to contrast different methods of working to achieve similar geometric results.

The Grasshopper workshop begins with an exploration of the graphical user interface, component library, and basic examples of data management and workflow.  We then immediately apply these concepts to how to derive the geometric form of the tower.

Grasshopper-based geometric definition.
Exploring formal iterations with the Grasshopper geometry
After defining the tower form, we then proceed to develop some of the architectural elements and extract some data.  For example, we will create a parametric system for slicing floors from the tower mass and report area calculations.

Tower Floors Definition.
Tower floor variations.
After the massing and the floors have been defined, we then explore the exterior facade.  Designers will set up definitions for defining the structural diagrid system and the exterior curtain wall.  Different generative concepts will be explored for developing patterns and modules using popular plug-ins.
Structure diagrid with gradient color.
Attractor-based paneling system with LunchBox.
Finally, workshop participants explore workflows for data extraction.  For example, designers will output data to Excel including floor and facade information.
Excel data output from the diagrid definition

Next up...  DIVA for Rhino!

Thursday, August 1, 2013

CASE Learning: Rhinoceros 101

At CASE, a central part of what we do is educating our clients in new design technologies and processes.  This summer we have created brand new curricula for some of our favorite software with a focus on architectural idea generation and design development.  Our new learning content is anchored in rigorous exercises while also providing opportunities for the participant to explore variations on design concepts.

We are rolling out 3 new CASE-ified workshops geared towards professional designers who are looking for some new weapons to add to their arsenal. In the next three posts, I will be showcasing what these new workshops are all about... as they say in Jurassic Park, "hold on to your butts."

Rhinoceros 3D

Rhino has become the Swiss army knife of design tools.  At an early stage of the design process, Rhino can be used as an iterative tool for exploring concepts.  In later stages, Rhino can serve as a powerful tool for developing geometry and rationalizing complex systems.  The program supports a wide variety of file formats making it an ideal "go between" program with a high level of compatibility for more advanced fabrication and building information software.

Our approach to teaching Rhino focuses on how it can be used as an architectural design tool in support of conceptual and schematic development.   We have chosen to anchor the exercises in the context of the Swiss Re Tower in London.  As an iconic piece of contemporary architecture by Foster & Partners, the tower is well suited for Rhino-based exercises for beginning users.  The tower concept also allows participants to study variations of the concept while they learn the program.

In our workshop we first introduce new users how to create and manipulate surface geometry.  Some common surface creation techniques such as Loft, Revolve, and Sweep make an appearance in these early exercises.  Additionally we cover how to manipulate these surfaces using control points and implicit history.
Utilizing surface controls to develop the geometry.
Following these initial explorations in form, we then proceed to 'dissect' the building by developing systems such as floor plates and the core.  We show new users how to utilize trims and booleans while introducing popular commands such as "contour" to quickly develop derivative objects.
Utilizing booleans and trims to develop floor profiles and create the iconic atrium spaces.
During the workshops, we also cover a few popular Rhino plug-ins such as Paneling Tools.  We use these plug-ins and add-ons to study variations of the exterior facade and structure systems.
As the workshop progresses, participants are introduced to techniques for modeling complex systems and patterns.
Popular plug-ins, such as Paneling Tools, are introduced for quickly developing the architecture.
We recognize that having efficient techniques for communicating the design to clients is an essential skill when working in a 3D modeler.  While the model is being developed, the workshop also covers presentation-related topics such as basic Rhino visualization, viewport customization, and creating layouts.  
Customizing the Rhino viewport is an effective means for producing quick diagrammatic images.

Next up.... Grasshopper 101!