Tag Archives: Flux

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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State of the Art


Chris here with a brief roundup of some interesting projects that have been making waves in the industry recently. First up, the mysterious Flux (a BIM startup funded in part by Google) have come out of hiding and revealed a suite of tools for architectural collaboration. From the looks of it, these tools are designed to allow communication between Revit, Excel, Grasshopper and Dynamo, along with an online workspace for handling data and 3D modelling. Definitely worth signing up the beta and checking it out!

If you want some further information on how people are using Flux, Nathan Miller of the Proving Ground (previously of CASE) has partnered with them to produce a series of tutorials on how to get started with the toolset.

Both Flux and Google have  also involved in funding the recently revealed Quartz project, an open source library of building materials. This library aims to put up full profiles of common building materials, covering everything from molecular makeup to health and environmental impact. It’s really positive to see information like this freely available and hopefully it will serve as the benchmark for data sharing in the construction industry.

Speaking of open source data, the educational Dynamo Primer for Revit has gone open source, so you can expect regular updates to the website as more people get their heads around complex modelling techniques in the program. It’s a fantastic resource and if you or anyone you know wants to learn Dynamo (or any node-based 3D modelling tool), the primer is a fantastic place to start.

As a perfect example of the possibilities allowed by complex 3D modelling tools, theverymany, previously known for their beautiful and complex sculptures and installations, have produced their second permanent outdoor structure. It’s exciting to see the studio working with more permanent materials and challenging conditions, and I’m eager to see what they do next.

On the other end of the spectrum, a team of researchers from MIT have unveiled a towering stone aggregate sculpture held together entirely by string laid out by a CNC machine. I’d love to see this research pushed further, as carbon-free concrete seems like the natural end-point of this technology.

It’s an exciting time for architecture, and new projects seem to be coming online at an increasingly rapid pace. If you want to keep your finger on the pulse of the industry, follow us on twitter at @Productspec!


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