Facade Design in the Digital Age: Knowing the Tools is Half the Battle

East, Technology
Friday, April 11, 2014
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facades+PERFORMANCE tech workshops offer hands-on instruction in digital design. (Courtesy Mode Lab)

As most AEC professionals know, technology can be either a help or a hindrance when it comes to the design of high-performance building envelopes. Software programs like Grasshopper and Autodesk Vasari offer powerful tools for generating, modeling, and analyzing facades. But there’s a catch. Without a firm grasp of the programs’ capabilities, users can lose data, overlook important features, or otherwise negate the advantages inherent to digital design.

Participants will learn how to use software including Grasshopper and Autodesk Vasari at every stage of the design process.

Participants will learn how to use software including Grasshopper and Autodesk Vasari at every stage of the design process.

Attendees at this month’s facades+PERFORMANCE New York conference will have access to hands-on instruction in a variety of digital design environments through a series of all-day tech workshops. In “Enhanced Parametric Design with Dynamo,” led by Gil Akos of Mode Lab, participants will learn the basics of parametric design within Vasari using Dynamo. Dynamo extends Vasari with additional generative and performance-driven design capabilities, and automates many design tasks. Workshop attendees will see how to use Dynamo throughout the design process, and will also get a sneak peak of work-in-progress versions of the software.

Environmental Analysis and Facade Optimization Strategies,” with Matt Jezyk, Ian Keough, and David Scheer of Autodesk, will also explore the application of Dynamo to facade design. Participants will practice using Dynamo to evaluate solar radiation on the exterior of a building and set up a recursive optimization strategy. Keough, who created Dynamo while working as a consulting engineer, will discuss the program’s unique parametric feature set. Workshop attendees will have a chance to use a soon-to-be-released milestone update to the software.

Daniel Davis and Tim Dumatrait of CASE will lead “Parametric Dashboards.” This workshop will tackle the problem of data loss between design iterations, and outline strategies for capturing analysis data and using it to create visualizations and evaluate outcomes. Participants will use Grasshopper to analyze facade design options, then will export their data into external software and develop dashboards to graph and chart the outcomes.

The fourth tech workshop, “Advanced Facade Panelization and Optimization Techniques” with Thornton Thomasetti’s Matthew Naugle, is already sold out. Participants will learn the basics of facade panelization and optimization using Grasshopper. The workshop will also explore three Grasshopper plugins: Galapagos, for facade optimization, Kangaroo, for advanced panelization techniques, and TT Toolbox, which allows users to track design iterations in Excel.

To register for a tech workshop, see the event page. There you can also view pre-requisites and recommended software downloads.

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