Top 3 Computational BIM Workflows for Architects

For a long time, interoperability between Conceptual modelling tools and BIM software has essentially been nonexistent. Hence, instead of using the best tool for the job, a large section of designers chose to use one BIM software that they are most familiar with for both design exploration and interrogation, possibly losing out on creative freedom.

In a previous blog post, it was discussed why it is often better for designers to create a federated BIM model using Computational BIM workflows rather than struggle with the limitations of any one BIM system. Although integration of geometry from tools like Rhino/GH with BIM has always been a bit of a black box, many interoperability plugins have been developed to significantly improve the robustness of Computational BIM workflows.

Let’s take a look at the various Computational BIM workflows that are currently in use in the AEC Industry.

Top 3 Computational BIM Workflows for Architects

Powerpoint Presentation – 3.5 MB – 30 Slides

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Computational BIM Workflows

Computational BIM Workflows

Loosely Coupled Workflows

Patrick Janssen, in his research paper, had categorized Computational BIM workflows as either Tightly Coupled (fully compatible) or Loosely Coupled (fully interoperable). With the Loosely Coupled approach, systems are coupled through model exchange. The graph-based system typically generates data in a standard file format like IFC that can be directly imported into the BIM system. The Industry Foundation Classes (IFC) is a neutral, object-based, open file format specification with a data model developed by BuildingSMART.

Geometry Gym

A complicated workflow, but allows for greater parametric control over IFC properties.

Geometry Gym Nodes

Geometry Gym for Rhino/GH

Geometry Gym takes the loosely coupled approach and generates data in OpenBIM formats (primarily IFC) that can be directly imported into any BIM software. This plugin uses the dataflow modelling capabilities of Grasshopper to directly generate the IFC exchange model, thereby avoiding the need for a separate exporter altogether. The advantage is that it doesn’t have to deal with the explicit geometry generated by the baking process. And it does a very good job of generating the IFC.

However, the disadvantage is that the dataflow model becomes riddled with data exchange nodes that have only marginal relevance to the parametric modelling task. These additional nodes significantly increase the complexity of the dataflow graph.

VisualARQ

An easy-to-use Rhino to IFC plugin.

VisualARQ for Rhino/GH

VisualARQ for Rhino/GH

VisualARQ supports import and export from and to IFC file format to exchange Rhino models with other BIM applications. It allows the user to create parametric architectural objects like walls, beams, stairs, doors, windows, roofs etc. and control them parametrically within the Rhino environment. Block items such as windows and doors can be moved or modified within walls without the time consuming process of rebuilding or patching wall surfaces as would normally be the case in Rhino.

However, not all Rhino commands are compatible with VisualARQ. One needs to get used to VisualARQ’s modelling toolset, which is a little different to Rhino, especially Boolean operations.

The best part of VisualARQ is it’s impressive ability to create, edit and modify NURBS based BIM objects and add IFC tags to those objects, all from a familiar Rhino environment. The Grasshopper Components add-on allows you to work with VisualARQ objects directly from Grasshopper as well.

Möbius

A promising web-based Parametric BIM Modeler.

Mobius

Mobius

Möbius is a web-based visual dataflow modelling environment for creating parametric models. It combines graph-based programming consisting of nodes and wires (like Houdini) and blocks-based programming consisting of sequences of code blocks (like Scratch) to support encapsulation, iterative looping and higher order functions. A big advantage is that Möbius runs entirely on the browser, on the client side. It is developed as an Open Source project written in Javascript that allows users to save their parametric model as pure Javascript code. These scripts can then be executed in other environments, independently from Möbius.

Additional viewers and function modules are being developed for BIM and GIS. It’s capacity to handle ‘nimble BIM’ models on the browser will determine its usability for Computational BIM workflows. Mobius is being developed by Dr.Patrick Janssen & Team at Design Automation Lab in NUS, Singapore.

PlusSpec

Probably the easiest SketchUp to BIM workflow, but expensive.

PlusSpec

PlusSpec for SketchUp

Sketchup is the most popular 3D modelling tool for concept design with a base of 30+ million users. PlusSpec works inside Sketchup, taking advantage of such a large user base, to introduce new parametric power to draw, edit and inspect BIM elements and produce building specification. There has not been any serious BIM plugin that helps speed up modelling, drawing creation, materials takeoff, and all the admin tasks and coordination that are usually less optimal to do in SketchUp. PlusSpec fills that gap quite well with a light-weight BIM approach and is ideal for small-mid scale projects.

But what might probably put many people off is the high cost of this plugin. This BIM plugin costs as much as Sketchup itself, and whether that cost is worth it or not is for you to decide.

Tightly Coupled Workflows

With the Tightly Coupled approach, systems are coupled through the Application Programming Interface (API) provided by the BIM system. In this case, graph-based systems communicate via the API of the BIM system, directly instantiating geometry in the BIM model each time the graph-based model is executed.

One of the earliest plugins that was developed for Rhino-Revit interoperability was Chameleon, which was released way back in 2012. It uses Chameleon Adaptive Component Systems (CACS) to translate geometry from Grasshopper to Revit. It has a bi-directional workflow where BIM elements created in Revit could also be translated to Grasshopper for manipulating parameters and re-imported back to Revit. Unfortunately, the plugin has not been updated in over 3 years and is not active anymore. But if you are still keen to use this plugin with Revit 2016, there maybe a workaround.

  1. Install Chameleon for Revit 2012 following the install instructions.
  2. Copy the files in this folder:
    C:/Users/yourusername/AppData/Roaming/Autodesk/Revit/Addins/2012
  3. To this folder:
    C:/Users/yourusername/AppData/Roaming/Autodesk/Revit/Addins/2016
  4. Open Revit 2016.

Lyrebird is another plugin similar to Chameleon that also uses Revit Adaptive Components but is uni-directional only. Even this plugin hasn’t seen an update in over 2 years and is not active.

Let’s take a look at those plugins that are under active development.

Hummingbird

Works well for simple projects with repetitive elements.

Humming Bird

Hummingbird for Rhino/GH & Revit

Hummingbird was developed as a set of Grasshopper components that enables the creation of native BIM elements in Revit. The process involves exporting geometry and its associated parameters as a CSV text file. This file is imported into Revit using a plugin called WhiteFeet ModelBuilder which then recreates that geometry in Revit through a series of input parameters. This workflow is rather slow and tedious especially where the model is quite large. Also since it cannot accurately transfer complex geometry such as tapering walls and doubly curved surfaces, it is quite limiting in it’s use case.

Grevit

A promising plugin for Rhino/GH & SketchUP to Revit interoperability.

Grevit

Grevit for Rhino/GH, SketchUp & Revit

Grevit allows to assemble a BIM model in either Sketchup or Grasshopper and send the geometry to Revit or Autocad Architecture as native BIM elements. It can work concurrently such that a user working in GH and another user working in SketchUp can both send their models to the same Revit instance using Grevit. Every Grevit component instance gets a unique GUID when it is being created. In Revit, this GUID is stored in a parameter and is used to identify the element in Revit whenever an update is being pushed from GH or SketchUp. In SketchUp, the user has to simply name the SketchUp Components in his model as wall, floor or column and import the SKP file into Revit using the Grevit SketchUp Importer.

Grevit is Open Source and still under active development. So the user may encounter a few bugs in the process.

Top 3 Computational BIM Workflows

All the plugins discussed till now link Rhino to Revit by calling the Revit API directly. So a lot of their shortcomings are mainly due to the limitations of Revit API. But when Autodesk, in 2014, introduced an open-source Visual Programming tool called Dynamo, it seemed to open up a lot of possibilities for better interoperability between Conceptual Modelling tools and Revit. Since then, a few plugins have been developed that translates Rhino/GH geometry to Revit via Dynamo.

3. Rhynamo & Mantis Shrimp

One of the better Rhino-Revit interoperability plugins.

Rhynamo

Rhynamo for Rhino & Dynamo; Mantis Shrimp for Rhino/GH & Dynamo

Rhynamo is an open source plugin authored by Nathan Miller that enables reading and writing of Rhino .3dm files inside of Dynamo. This plugin also allows users to create bi-directional workflows where one can author Rhino files from Dynamo. However, Rhynamo operates only with baked Rhino geometry and not directly with Grasshopper. So data management is an issue. As a workaround, one may have to use another GH plugin called Elefront to add attributes to Rhino objects. Elefront stores this data in a ‘Geometrybase’, thereby giving Rhino objects a layer of embedded intelligence. Once baked, this ‘nimble-BIM’ model can be transferred to Dynamo using Rhynamo.

Mantis Shrimp, similar to Rhynamo, is a Dynamo and Grasshopper interoperability plugin that allows you to read Rhino’s native *.3dm file type as well as export geometry from Grasshopper. It is an open source project written in Python in the form of a user objects (on Grasshopper side for exporting) and custom Python nodes (on Dynamo side for importing).

With both these plugins, the user has to create and manage two separate dataflow graphs; one in grasshopper to communicate with dynamo and another in dynamo to communicate with Revit. This split may cause a lot of stress for users, especially when working in large projects, to create these dataflow graphs, collaborate on them with other users and keep version control under check.

2. Flux

The future of software interoperability and collaboration.

Flux

Flux for Rhino/GH, SketchUp, Revit/Dynamo

Most of the workflow discussed until now requires the user to merge data, convert it and manually transfer the data to the tool of his choice. This workflow is not only tedious, but also error-prone. In this aspect, Flux is probably the most promising because it provides cloud based data exchange and collaboration without having to worry about interoperability. It is unequivocally focused on data rather than on files. The user can send and receive geometry and data from most of the common AEC tools (like SketchUp, Rhino/GH, Revit etc.) currently in use.

The most useful aspect of Flux is its ability to exchange disparate pieces of data from multiple software and later combine it into a consolidated whole. It can therefore support any kind of computational task related to building design such as what-if analysis, evaluation of various criteria, simulation, and even generative design. A hint of the building cognition capability of Flux, is showcased in the experimental tools and solutions of Flux Labs.

However, Flux may have a steeper learning curve compared to other plugins, mainly because of its focus on data. Like Rhynamo and Mantis Shrimp, the user has to create and manage multiple dataflow graphs (GH, Dynamo, Flux web interface), but the ease of collaboration and version control is much better comparatively.

1. GH-ARCHICAD Live Connection & Rhino-GDL Converter.

The best-in-class Computational BIM workflow ever.

Rhino/GH-ARCHICAD Live Connection

Rhino/GH-ARCHICAD Live Connection

Rather than re-invent the wheel and develop an algorithmic design tool from scratch, Graphisoft decided to integrate with the most popular application for that purpose, Rhino/Grasshopper. The Live Connection tool leverages the strengths of three design environments: Rhino for advanced 3D modeling, Grasshopper for algorithmic design, and finally ARCHICAD for BIM.

Unlike the many plugins that exists to enable Rhino-Revit interoperability, ARCHICAD’s integration with Rhino/GH goes a lot deeper, with a ‘live connection’ that enables real-time, bi-directional geometry transfer between the two applications. The connection is actually ‘live’ and operating in real-time, allowing users to conceptualize building forms and create native ARCHICAD components directly from Rhino/GH interface. In addition to creating the geometry of the components, users can also control other input parameters such as surface material, layers, dimensions, colors etc.

The Live Connection, in comparison to all other plugins, is extremely simple to use, fairly quick and works like a charm everytime. A big advantage of this workflow over Rhynamo, Mantis Shrimp or Flux is that the user has to manage only one dataflow graph in Grasshopper that allows for both Parametric exploration and BIM interrogation. Here is a wonderful case study of the process.

Another nifty tool is the Rhino-GDL converter that allows users to save a selected part of a Rhino model as a native ARCHICAD object file (.gsm or .lcf) format. Though this is not a ‘Live’ Connection, it is still a very useful means to bring organic forms that can be modeled directly in Rhino into ARCHICAD, without any scripting.

Conclusion

In a previous blog post, it was discussed why it is often better for designers to create a federated BIM model using Computational BIM workflows rather than struggle with the limitations of any one BIM system.

This blog post aims to showcase, in detail, the many Computational BIM workflows currently in use in the AEC industry. The idea was to adopt a tool-agnostic approach in dissecting the advantages and limitations to each of these workflows. While the top 3 workflows have been picked for the benefit of the uninitiated, there are other factors like cost, that needs to be taken into account when making a decision. So, it is strongly advised to adopt a ‘horses for courses’ strategy when it comes to choosing the right tool for your job.

Why do Architects need Computational BIM Workflows?

toolbox

BIM is a Workflow

Let’s face it. BIM is not one software. BIM is a workflow involving an entire ecosystem of tools, scripts, plugins and software. There are different BIM workflows for different purposes depending on the phase of the project we are in; Survey, Design, Construction or Facilities Management. For eg. A FM BIM model is a static virtual model of what is unlike Design BIM or Construction BIM which are virtual models of what is to be. Antony McPhee elaborates on these different BIM workflows in his blog post on ‘Different BIMs for different purposes’. So there is a growing acknowledgement within the AEC community, that BIM can mean different things to different people depending on what they set out to achieve from their BIM workflow.

BIM can mean different things to different people depending on what they set out to achieve from their BIM workflow

For a long time, interoperability between Conceptual modelling tools and BIM software has essentially been nonexistent. Hence, instead of using the best tool for the job, a large section of designers chose to use one BIM software that they are most familiar with for both design exploration and interrogation, possibly losing out on creative freedom. This, of course, made economic sense to many small to mid scale offices that do not have the resources to purchase and maintain multiple software licences. They couldn’t derive much value from investing a lot of money in Design Exploration tools, when all one could bring into BIM was ‘dumb’ geometry.

Tool vs Toolbox

Tool vs Toolbox

Instead of using the best tool for the job, a large section of designers choose to use one BIM software that they are most familiar with for both design exploration and interrogation, possibly losing out on creative freedom

However, things are changing faster than ever. In the last 2-3 years, many interoperability plugins have been developed to significantly improve the robustness of BIM workflows.

What is the need for Computational BIM Workflows?

Although Revit, ArchiCAD or Vectorworks is often chosen as the primary documentation tool in most Architectural offices, it is widely known that they are not the preferred tools for conceptual modelling. Autodesk’s efforts at pushing FormIt, a browser-based conceptual modelling environment, hasn’t seen much uptake from the AEC industry. Most firms still use either Rhino and/or Sketchup as their primary conceptual modelling environment and use BIM systems only much later during design development and documentation phases. The barrier to integration with BIM early on is primarily because of two reasons.

SHOP Architects Workflow

SHOP Architects Workflow

Firstly, most architectural contracts in Asia are split between Concept design and Detailed design with the latter awarded only when the former is fully approved by the Client. Since the timeline for Concept design phase is generally short, designers tend to use tools that are better suited to design exploration than design interrogation. It also makes sense, in Concept design phase, to keep the model ‘nimble’ since designers may not yet have the ‘information’ part of BIM.

Once the Firm is awarded the subsequent contract for the project, another team takes over and the model is re-built from scratch in Revit or ArchiCAD. In the process, a lot of parametric and associative intelligence built into the Conceptual model is either lost or dumbed down to comply with the BIM tool’s limitation.

Top 3 Computational BIM Workflows for Architects

Powerpoint Presentation – 3.5 MB – 30 Slides

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Some could argue that the solution is simply to create everything natively within the BIM software from the beginning. Which brings me to the second reason, that, most BIM tools are extremely limiting in creating complex geometry natively. If one doesn’t have a firm grip over scripting, it is quite tedious to develop certain building forms natively in BIM. It is comparatively simpler and quicker to model in Rhino or Sketchup.

Also, it is quite common to generate complex, non-standard structural or facade elements using Parametric modelling tools like Grasshopper (GH), Blender or SideFX Houdini. Unlike BIM tools, such Dataflow and Procedural modelling tools support multi-operation iteration that helps create complex building forms quickly and is therefore ideal for design exploration.

Most BIM tools are extremely limiting in creating complex geometry natively. If one doesn’t have a firm grip over scripting, it is quite tedious to develop certain building forms natively in BIM which is comparatively simpler and quicker to model in Rhino or Sketchup

Another option is to use an embedded BIM system that supports both design exploration and interrogation like Autodesk Dynamo, Vectorworks Marionette or Bentley Generative Components. They are largely targeted at users who prefer to remain in the BIM software that they are most familiar with. But, even for them, it may not be a practically viable option for two reasons.

First, BIM models are by their very nature large complex datasets. As a result, allowing users to parametrically explore such models may severely reduce the latency and robustness of the system. This is already evident within Revit, where making parametric constraint-based changes to large models can become slow and may often result in errors that are unclear even to expert users.

Second, BIM systems already have very complex user interfaces and adding advanced dataflow and procedural modelling capabilities may result in a user-interface that is overly complex for either use case. Again taking Revit as the example, the user interface can already be seen to be very complex, with multiple different but interrelated modelling modes, resulting in a steep learning curve for most users.

BIM Ecosystem

BIM Ecosystem

Therefore, it is better for designers to create a federated BIM model using Computational BIM workflows rather than struggle with the limitations of any one BIM system. Although integration of geometry from tools like Rhino/GH with BIM has always been a bit of a black box, many interoperability plugins have been developed to significantly improve the robustness of Computational BIM workflows.

Why Not Direct Import-Export?

For a long time, the only way to get Rhino geometry in Revit was to export a *.sat file and then import it into Revit via a Conceptual Mass Family. But this was ‘dumb’ geometry which cannot be edited in Revit unlike native Revit elements. It acted more like a placeholder geometry to extract drawings from Revit rather than become a complete BIM environment. Later, Autodesk introduced the option of creating native Revit elements from Conceptual Mass Family using the wall-by-face, roof-by-face, mass floors and curtain wall system commands. These elements are hosted to the imported Rhino geometry and can be updated if the base geometry changes.

But, from experience it is known that Revit doesn’t always recognize or re-discover the host element and new elements will have to be created. And when it fails, the user will have no clue why it failed, adding to the frustration.

There are, of course, best practices for creating Rhino geometry that would allow for easier integration with Revit. But what if we want to create elements that are not walls, floors or roofs? Also, what if we want a more precise control of the BIM elements and all of its properties? This is where the third-party interoperability plugins for BIM becomes extremely useful.

How To Classify Computational BIM Workflows?

Patrick Janssen, in his research paper, had categorized Computational BIM workflows as either Tightly Coupled (Fully compatible) or Loosely Coupled (Fully interoperable). Areo in their blog post had described the same in a diagram below representing ‘degrees of interoperability’.

Degrees of Interoperability

Degrees of Interoperability

With the Tightly Coupled approach, systems are coupled through the Application Programming Interface (API) provided by the BIM system. In this case, graph-based systems communicate via the API of the BIM system, directly instantiating geometry in the BIM model each time the graph-based model is executed. Examples of this approach are GenerativeComponents which uses the AecoSIM API, and Dynamo, which uses the Revit API.

With the Loosely Coupled approach, systems are coupled through model exchange. The graph-based system typically generates data in a standard file format that can be directly imported into the BIM system. An example of this approach is GeometryGym, a plugin for Rhino/GH that uses IFC as the exchange format. The Industry Foundation Classes (IFC) is a neutral, object-based, open file format specification with a data model developed by BuildingSMART.

Computational BIM Workflows

Computational BIM Workflows

Both these approaches have their inherent advantages and limitations depending on the level of BIM maturity one is seeking. The advantage with the Tightly Coupled workflow is obvious; it is fully compatible with the BIM system of one’s choice. It is of no surprise that it is the most popular workflow in Architecture firms because the user knows in advance which BIM system should the model end up in. However, sharing of models with consultants will be file-based collaboration and not on any open standard.

The fundamental advantage of the Loosely Coupled approach is that it is workflow agnostic, allowing users to link together tools and systems to support various forms of collaboration and exchange. For example, since GeometryGym outputs a standard IFC file, users have the choice to link to any BIM application that can import an IFC file.

Though, in practice, there are still many issues with IFC implementation among major software vendors. It requires the vendors, buildingSMART and the extended community to work through some limitations and constantly improve both the standard and its implementations.

The fundamental advantage of the Loosely Coupled approach is that it is workflow agnostic, allowing users to link together tools and systems to support various forms of collaboration and exchange.

Conclusion

The diagram above shows all the plugins developed for enabling Computational BIM Workflows. A few of them have been discontinued or stopped being updated on a regular basis. Nonetheless, it is important to understand the capabilities and limitations of each of these workflows. Let us take a deep dive into these plugins, comparing, contrasting and evaluating each of them in the next blog post.

Computational Design Thinking Workshop (Concluded)

Workshop Outcome

We had an awesome 2 days of parametric exploration using Houdini & Sketchup. Thanks to all the participants who rocked the workshop with their energy & rigour.



Mario Bros Fire Flower

Why?

Architects are increasingly experimenting with computation to incorporate building performance as a fundamental parameter informing the creation of architecture forms. This is achieved through Iterative Virtual Prototyping (IVP), a cyclical design process in which design variants are developed and evaluated for environmental performance (daylight, solar exposure, wind flow etc.) using automated computational workflows.

What?

A two-day intensive workshop geared towards architects and designers like you who wish to augment their design workflow with advanced techniques leveraging parametric modelling and design simulation tools. It aims to impart foundation knowledge on computational design thinking and is therefore not a mere software training camp. The tools & techniques taught in this workshop are used by professionals in some of the most innovative architecture firms in the world.

We believe that this workshop will not only radically influence your design thought process but will also enable you to fully explore your design ideas parametrically.

How?

Through a series of short-burst lectures, case-studies, demo and hands-on training, we will teach you how to explore ideas using a performance-driven design approach. By the end of the workshop, you would have learnt to develop and evaluate multiple variants of a building design using parametric modelling techniques. More importantly, you would learn all this without writing any computer code!

we are using sidefx houdini and sketchup pro at WOWAD workshops

 

SideFX Houdini: A Visual Dataflow Modelling software capable of producing complex parametric procedures. You can imagine it to be Rhino/Grasshopper on Steroids! You can download Houdini Apprentice for free here.

SketchUp Pro: A popular 3D modelling software for architects & designers. You can download a trial version for free here.

When?

21-22 March 2016, 9AM to 6PM at Rajalakshmi School of Architecture

 

 

Workshop Schedule

Day 1 / Monday / 21st March 2016
09:00 – 10:00 Registration, Setup & Introduction
10:00 – 11:00 What is Computational Design Thinking?
11:00 – 12:00 Session 1
  • Visual Dataflow Modelling
  • Houdini GUI
  • Nodes, primitives, components & attributes
12:00 – 13:00 Session 2
  • SOP Nodes
  • Network & parameters
  • Creating geometry
13:00 – 14:00 Lunch Break
14:00 – 16:00 Session 3
  • Modifying geometry
  • Working with attributes
  • Parameter referencing
  • Functions & expressions
16:00 – 18:00 Session 4
  • Loops & data flow management
  • Evaluating performance
  • Import, export & interoperability
  • Using the Houdini Forum
Day 2 / Tuesday / 22nd March 2016
09:00 – 10:00 Introduction to Advanced Parametrics
10:00 – 13:00 On Your Own – Design Exploration
  • Group formation & introduction of design brief
  • Supervised studio learning
13:00 – 14:00 Lunch Break
14:00 – 16:00 On Your Own – Design Exploration (Contd.)
  • Supervised studio learning
16:00 – 17:00 Presentation by Participants
17:00 – 18:00 Review & Discussion

 

Frequently Asked Questions

1. How is this workshop useful to me?
In this workshop, you will learn fundamental concepts of computational design thinking that not many in India have expertise in. You can use these techniques directly in your design projects in practice, academia or research. This workshop will enable you to be ahead of the curve when it comes to making an informed design exploration.

2. Why choose WOWAD’s workshop?
This is a specialized workshop conducted by a tutor with significant local and international experience in computational design. The learning and its application is directly applicable to project in an Indian context and is not simply meant to be a superfluous academic exercise. Also a workshop size of 30 allows us to provide individual attention to each participant.

3. Why is it a 2-day workshop?
This is the shortest duration workshop dedicated to computational design learning for a beginner. Through radically rethinking teaching methods and by employing an intensive workshop schedule, we enable you to go from being a newbie to designing a building parametrically in 2 days.

4. Is transportation provided for Chennai residents?
Yes, you can hop on to any RSA college bus that plies your route for FREE.

5. I am not a resident of Chennai. Will my accommodation be taken care of?
Yes, we can provide you on-campus accommodation for both days of the workshop FREE of cost.

6. What are the other benefits of attending this workshop?
You will receive a discounted ticket price for every subsequent WOWAD workshop. You can enjoy unlimited free access to WOWAD online lessons, articles, and video tutorials for 1 year. You will also receive a hard copy of Certificate of Merit mailed to you after the workshop.

7. What are the software tools used in this workshop?
We will be using SideFX Houdini, a procedural, Visual Dataflow Modelling software developed for the animation industry. This software enables us to develop complex parametric procedures relatively quickly and is therefore being adopted into the building industry. The other tool we will use is SketchUp Pro, which is a popular 3D modelling software for architects. We will also look into interoperability of geometry between Houdini and Sketchup.

8. Are these tools free of cost?
Yes, these tools are free of cost for the capacities of this workshop. Houdini Apprentice is a free version of Houdini FX which can be used by students, artists and hobbyists to create personal non-commercial projects. You can download Sketchup Pro (educational) for a trial period here.

9. Can I learn these tools for free from online sources like Youtube or Vimeo?
We believe learning a concept is very different from learning a tool. Most of online videos focus on teaching the tool and not the concept. Moreover, online tutorials for SideFX Houdini is focused for use in the animation industry and not for buildings & architecture. This workshop is the first of its kind in India, teaching computational design using Houdini.

10. I am already proficient with Rhino/Grasshopper. Is this workshop still useful for me?
It is wonderful that you have already started learning on you own. However, SideFX Houdini is a much more advanced software compared to Grasshopper. From a tutoring perspective, we decided to introduce concepts straight away in an advanced tool so that participants do not have to learn multiple tools as they gain expertise.

11. Do I have to bring my own laptop?
You can choose to use your own laptop and we can help you install the software. But if you choose not to, we also have arranged for a dedicated PC for each participant with all the necessary software pre-installed. So the choice is yours.

12. I am a recent graduate from a university and have not started working yet. Do I still qualify for a student ticket?
Congratulations on your graduation and welcome to the Profession. You should consider yourself as a professional now. We are proud of you!

 

Disclaimers

1. Tickets are available on first-come, first-served basis only.

2. You can buy multiple tickets at once but must register each participant individually.

3. Students must email a valid proof of academic status to hello@wowad.in after online registration. Failure to do so will lead to a non-refundable cancellation.

4. In an unlikely scenario where the minimum number of participation is not reached, WOWAD reserves the right to cancel the workshop and complete refunds will be made to all attendees.

5. Failure to attend the workshop on any day after registration will be considered ‘no-show’ and no refunds will be made.

6. Participants have to attend on both days of the workshop to receive a Certificate of Merit.

Livable Habitat and Sustainable Urban Agenda

Livable Habitat and Sustainable Urban Agenda' organized by the Department of Architecture and Regional Planning, Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur

Ar.Vignesh Kaushik was invited to make a presentation at the International Symposium 'Livable Habitat and Sustainable Urban Agenda' organized by the Department of Architecture and Regional Planning, Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur in association with the Ministry of Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation (MoHUPA), Government of India on 27th and 28th of January 2016 at Kolkata.

This symposium brought together national and international experts from various interrelated fields of housing and habitat planning, from government, academia and industry. It provided a forum to discuss the New Urban Agenda as envisaged by the forthcoming Habitat III, highlighting especially the role of the Development Enablers and Operational Enablers. There were planners, economists and infrastructure planners from India speaking on Energy Efficiency and Sustainable Housing and Habitat. National level experts on Building Materials and Technology also shared their experience on environmental friendly, energy efficient, earthquake resistant and cost effective technologies with focus on locally available materials suitable for public housing.

Ar.Vignesh made a presentation on 'Computational Approach to Housing through Design for Manufacturing & Assembly (DfMA)'. The talk focused on how we can bring about affordable innovation in the housing industry through adopting technological advances in the construction sector. He stressed for the adoption of modular constitution techniques such as Pre-fabricated Pre-finished Volumetric Design (PPVC) for a speedier, superior quality and a much more sustainable output. He also discussed on using performance-driven parametric techniques to drive the design based on local site & climatic context.

Ar.Vignesh made a presentation on 'Computational Approach to Housing through Design for Manufacturing & Assembly (DfMA)'.

Computational Design Thinking

vignesh-kaushik-computational-design-thinking-chennai-2013

I had the opportunity to deliver a series of talks in July 2013 on ‘Computational Design Thinking’ in three leading Architecture schools in Chennai; SRM School of Architecture, Crescent School of Architecture and Rajalakshmi Engineering College. 

The talks focused on how capacities of computational design are fully unfolded by effectively exercising computational thinking in design practice. My approach to the talk was to keep it simple and appealing to a crowd of young architecture students. I had based this talk on some of the research work I was part of in NUS, Singapore and a few interesting projects I had designed in Chennai. The idea was to give an overview of how we can leverage computational design thinking effectively in both research and practice. Some of the topics I had covered in the 90 minute talk were:

  • Role of computational designers in AECO industry
  • How different are computational designers from architects?
  • Leveraging computational design for augmented design exploration
  • Design automation
  • ROI of technology for small, medium and big firms
  • The future of architecture research & practice
A daylight based parametric facade by WOW Architecture+Design
Leveraging computational design for augmented design exploration: A Design Optioneering exercise for an office facade project in Chennai