An introduction to

Este Screen 2

In a blog post late last year I highlighted the recently launched, a collaboration tool for the architecture industry. At February’s Wellington Revit User Group, I presented a short demonstration of Flux, describing in greater detail what is was and how to use it. For those of you who are interested but couldn’t make it on the night, I’ll repeat the information here.

Flux is an online data repository that allows users to push geometry and other data from architectural software such as Revit and Rhino to the cloud, and vice versa. What this means is that a user or a group of users working with Flux can create parametric objects that transcend programs – for example, stretching the floor plate of a building in Revit and updating an excel spreadsheet in real time to identify the effect of the change on the total cost of the building.

a visualisation of Flux’s data flow interface

It doesn’t stop there though, as the team at Flux are also developing a large range of online tools designed to allow data from these various sources to be transformed before they are pushed back to their destinations. Going back to our spreadsheet example, this means that quantitative data from various 3d models developed by different teams could be combined and viewed as a single spreadsheet, continuously updating as the design evolves.

As another example, in the demonstration I presented, I set up a rudimentary parallel computation system by linking two Grasshopper instances over Flux, with one doing the heavy computational grunt work and the other simply showing the resultant geometry, allowing me to quickly create complex geometry without frying my laptop.

This kind of DIY tool creation by connecting different programs together is exactly the kind of thinking that will allow architects and designers to leap forwards technologically without having to rely on the big, lumbering software companies to catch up with what is happening in other industries, and I’m excited to see see where this movement leads!

I won’t go into the nitty gritty of how to install Flux except to say that to get the most out of it you will need either a copy of Revit (with Dynamo installed), Rhino (with Grasshopper installed). The website has a great series of relatively painless installers and tutorials, so anything I said here would only serve to obfuscate the process. Go have a look for yourself!

– Chris

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