Tag Archives: Autodesk

Combining Human Intuition & Artificial Intelligence – The Bionic Partition

Airbus Bionic Partition

Next week, Productspec presents the fifth free Paradigm Shift, and is very proud to host international keynote speaker, Danil Nagy – Lead Designer & Senior Research Scientist at The Living Group within Autodesk Research. Danil will be discussing a new paradigm for sustainable architecture, and sharing inspiring projects, including The Bionic Partiton.

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A New Paradigm For Sustainable Architecture – Hy-Fi

Hyfi Project by The Living group

This year, for the fifth free Paradigm Shift, Productspec is proud to host international keynote speaker, Danil Nagy – Lead Designer & Senior Research Scientist at The Living Group within Autodesk Research. Danil will be discussing a new paradigm for sustainable architecture, and sharing inspiring projects, including Hy-Fi.

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An introduction to flux.io

Este Screen 2

In a blog post late last year I highlighted the recently launched Flux.io, 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 flux.io 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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The Tangible Benefits of the BIM Revolution


The digital revolution in architecture encompasses a number of different topics – advances in what can be digitally modelled, in what can be physically constructed, in how we think about documentation.  The term ‘Building Information Modelling’ (BIM) encompasses a number of these concepts, but it is often confusing as to what BIM specifically refers to, or how an company can successfully tailor their content to integrate into a BIM model.

A key component of the BIM philosophy is that a 3D model should not be simply static representation of an object in space. That object could have any number of additional fields associated with it, from cost, installation instructions, maintenance and material information, electrical requirements, or anything else deemed useful. All of this additional information allows those who are relying on the BIM model to make informed decisions about what is best for a specific project, and for the cost of changes to the plan to be easily quantified.

Additionally, BIM Objects may be parametric, allowing architects to intuitively work with products that may have a large number of different customisation options. Correctly constructed parametric objects, imbued with the right information, allow architects to quickly identify the possibilities and limitations of systems and products, facilitating high quality design.

The digital revolution is not just about creating robust BIM models. Engineers and Architects beginning to understand the benefit of computer programming in the workplace, and as a result an explosion of intuitive, specialised software tools are being produced, aimed squarely at the building industry.

Visual programming languages, notably Grasshopper (for Rhino 3D) and Dynamo (for Revit) are at the forefront of this movement. These plug-ins allow users to access and automate processes in an intuitive visual way, doing everything from complex 3D modelling to interfacing with Google Docs, CNC Routers, or Arduino microcontrollers.

Using these same tools, Architects and designers can automate documentation, or use a BIM itself as the basis of a digital fabrication process. The Wellington startup ‘Makers of Architecture’ are using Dynamo and Grasshopper to produce CNC router paths directly out of the Revit model that they are designing their buildings in. Using this process, the team can accurately and quickly scope the cost of the digital fabrication process, from the number of sheets that they are using all the way down to the total amount of tooling time required. These numbers can be dynamically updated at any time, allowing for a process of iteration and testing over the course of the design process.

These tools are being used to solve complex problems and optimise tasks that simplify the documentation and construction process, allowing Architects to design, document and build things that wouldn’t be possible otherwise. Huge swaths of the work we currently busy ourselves with can be automated, transforming a laborious, bordering on impossible, task into a short checklist of programs to run on each model.

The creation of usable BIM content and the development of custom design tools  require specialised knowledge and a different approach to architecture, focused on information management and smart geometry, and we’re excited to see companies that are pushing the boundaries of the industry, and to be involved in that process ourselves.

Read: Beginner’s Guide to Python in Autodesk Revit

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