Monday, December 15, 2008


My last post mentioned the parametric facet massing family component I have been working on. The little image I posted may have given you an idea of what it is supposed to do. But I have had a couple hours to push my little project further and test it out on a quick building design, providing a more descriptive image. Four of these faceted components are used for the base and four are used for the fractured top in the image below:

Fracture-Render-3e click for full size image

Essentially the component does two things:

1. Creates faceted facades based on several parametric values

i. height, width of the overall assembly and of each facet section, position of each facet section, depth of facet angle, etc. etc.

2. As a massing component, it gives the ability to selectively apply wall types to each facet face.

Below is the layout of the system:

Fracture setup

And below is the parameter set:

Fracture setup-params

One of the tricks to making this work is creating a method for two of these to join up at the edges without an apparent or disconnected condition. This is achieved be creating a consistent facet edge condition, even under facet angle change.

This component can be expanded to the nth degree with more facets and controls. Also, by adding cutting voids to the component family, we can begin to lose the right angle corners at the tops. I would like to rotate and slope this assembly as well but I haven't figured that part out yet. I think I'm going to have to rebuild it or nest it into another component and link the parameters through to do that. If you have ideas, send them to me.

The building sketch above uses two types of this component. The type used on the base facade is the typical one described above. The second type is a modified version of the above that has had it's workplane association removed, causing the fracturing of the system. Another feature of this component is that you don't have to use every face, but instead can selectively choose faces to use, leaving others empty.

Here's a little video walking you through the creation of a building shell using this massing component (narrated by Alvin the chipmunk):


Download the file here: Facet Component Families



Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Design Slam @ AU 2008

After walking away from a smoking mouse last Wednesday night, I find myself icing down my mousing arm and keyboard fingers, and still recovering, but that's right, I won the Design Slam! It was sure fun! Here's couple Renders of my design:

3D View 11

3D View 10



I have never been to Mies Van Der Rohe’s German Pavilion in Barcelona, but have a new appreciation for it after this awesome competition. The pavilion is very much about space, material and perception. It is a difficult challenge to respond to it with another pavilion while respecting its position in Architectural history. So instead of competing with it, I chose to deconstruct it in the neighboring landscape, providing opportunities to perceive its elements in a new way. This expression of the pavilion becomes more of a landscape than another pavilion, yet provides the same amenities of seating and shelter and vantage point, and also makes use of the existing reflecting pool at the opposite end. In looking at it now, the design almost reads as remnants of construction of the original pavilion, which is an unintentional bonus. The whole experience was a pleasure, albeit a little stressful, cranking out a design in the 20 minutes!

My presentations went well and the rest of the conference was fantastic. The Newport application was presented and should be showing up on Autodesk Labs soon. I can tell you that it is a cutting edge, real-time, visualization tool, that enables you to take your Revit models via FBX to new levels of experience. I'll talk more about this at the end of the month.

I've been toying with another thing, inspired by a project we are doing in Riyadh. A faceted design in Revit should be relatively easy correct? Well maybe not but what if you had a massing family that let you adjust the facets of your facade as you pleased?


These examples are a quick, proof of concept with the one on the left skinned with Generic wall and the one on the left partially skinned with a curtain system. The facets are adjustable in many ways but will always be cohesive. It is something that uses the void-hosting technique that Phil Read showed off a while back for curtain panels, but releasing it from the panel restrictions to be a more free-form or large scale building envelope that uses a portion of these facets to make up it's facade. This in combination with other masses could whip up a slew of design options for a faceted tower in Riyadh.