The creation of an    application file   at    huge scale    with    a single iteration     using Revit .



Project-Equation Discussion

20 Responses to 01.02

  1. peteredwardatwood says:

    I think it is time to begin discussion for project equation 01.02. Anyone should feel free to begin any discussion or submit any post at any time, however I am always willing to get going on something.

    What I found most interesting about project equation 01.01 was that it seemed, from my point of view, to be concerned with the familiar.

    My questions in response to this follow…

    Are parametrics familiar?
    Should the project equation suggest an outcome or challenge an outcome?
    How important is knowing what the parameters are to either the designer or the user?
    Is parametric design technology different then other design technology?

  2. Zhe Liu says:

    Should the project equation suggest an outcome or challenge an outcome?
    I think it suggest outcome. Equation gives me direction and lead the project step by step. since parametric is very big, having something to guide is very important.

    How important is knowing what the parameters are to either the designer or the user?
    The designer use parameters to make design decisions. The parametric apply a general rules to the design and make design have more options. For user, parameter help user evolved into design process and get better information.

    Is parametric design technology different then other design technology
    It is different. The other design technology is from more to less, which means before design, there are lot of research of the background, the site, the concept and so on. Then come up with one idea that is the best. Parametric design suggest lot of options at the beginning.
    so my question is : does parametric design need context?

  3. Nick Buck Nick Buck says:

    Are parametrics familiar?
    For me, I find parametrics at a small scale to be familiar because of my previous work with creating Revit families. From there I think the only difference is the size. Since smaller scales are what I am familiar with, I would say that the more variety we have with scale the more familiar we will become with the unfamiliar (didn’t plan on wording it this way just happened).

    Should the project equation suggest an outcome or challenge an outcome?
    I enjoy solving challenges with a set of constraints. I think in this case our equation is our limiting boundary and it is our challenge to take this given knowledge and see what comes out with it.

    How important is knowing what the parameters are to either the designer or the user?
    Knowing your parameters is crucial for designer. The designer must understand what the user needs and might need out of the final product. The real challenge is figuring out how to set the proper parameters so that the product reacts the way you want it to. The more complex the product the more information the designer needs to pass on to the user.

    Is parametric design technology different then other design technology?
    In my view design technology is a broad category for practically every kind of technology that people use in order to design. So, this would include computers to pencils. Parametric design is one of the options within design technology. To summarize, yes it is different.

  4. Zhe Liu says:

    For this project, my sentence would be: The creation of working application file at huge scale with single iteration using revit.
    revit is a very practical tool for parametric design. Not like autocad, revit mainly focus only on architecture design and its related field like furniture. The parametric feature helps revit expolore different ideas. Therefore this time I would like to use revit to create some kind building at huge scale. I would like to use multiple iteration but it is already used at first project. My question is “can we use the same thing twice or we have to choose from the un-used option. If not, I want to try single iteration.
    I think working application file shows better of the process, and we can learn from each other. So I want to try working application.

  5. Nick Buck Nick Buck says:


    I am curious on how you define huge. From your post it seems that huge would be a single structure. In my way of thinking I would label a single structure as a large scale and multiple structures as a huge scale. Aside from that I agree with you sentence and I think we should establish some sort of definition on what consists of a large or huge scale.

  6. Ari Anderson says:

    I would be in favor of doing something huge, like a site study. How well does Revit deal with site parametrics? I would be really interested in how large scale site parameters can be created. Then how would the super large scale come together with the very small scale into some type of building desing. From what I know of Revit, the third stage would be ideal for the way Revit can program small instances into large areas.

  7. Peter Edward Atwood says:


    You asked “does parametric design need context?” and my reaction is that the parameters in parametric design could be seen as the context. Perhaps I would rephrase your question to “does parametric design demand context? or “can parametric design exist only without context?” My answer to these two questions is yes. If we define context as simple the circumstances within which an event or object occurs then wouldn’t the set of potential values defined as a parameter constitute as a context. Another question which arises is, if someone practices parametric design are then designing and object or the context of one?


    You said “The real challenge is figuring out how to set the proper parameters so that the product reacts the way you want it to”. I agree that this is a worthy challenge, I have spent countless hours attempting to create a parametric system which, when activated, would result in a “desired” outcome. I can also envision the act of say designing a parametric chair with say a parameter defined for seat height. Now making sure the product’s parameters react correctly would probably involve a typical table seat height, hightop seat height and perhaps a child seat height. Now do you only define these three values as possible values for the parameter or do you allow for any value between these values. Also if you allow for a whole spectrum of values, are the products with “undesired” outcomes still worth while designs? How do you know.

    Nick and Zhe,

    Based on both your comments I see a really interesting topic developing. If we use the working application file value for our 01.02 project equation, as Zhe suggested, how do we as the project creator address Nick’s comment concerning proper parameters. If you know someone else will be operating your parametric application file will this change how you design it. How much freedom will you have a new operator, how broad will you make the parameters and how many parameters will you make? I very much support using the application file for project equation 01.02.


    It sounds like you have moved forward into understanding what is meant by Huge scale, specifically that it has something to do with “site parameters”. I think revit deals with parameters in a similar way to autoCAD and I am not sure that it would understand site parameters differently the regular parameter, yet it is worth looking into I think. I would also support doing a huge scale value for 01.02.


    Before the Project-equation is determined I would be interested in us defining huge scale more specifically as well as discussion more about how parameter definitions relate to a submitted application file as opposed to a submitted image representation.

  8. Zhe Liu says:

    I was thinking that huge scale means some building like a high rise and large means something that is bigger than human scale but smaller than a high rise. However, I think your defition would be more reasonable. I agree with you that huge scale is about mutiple biilding, maybe sonething for urban design. And large building means a single large building.
    For this project, I would like to try large scale.

  9. Peter Edward Atwood says:


    Is your desire to try a large scale because you feel Revit is a good tool for that scale, or is there a different reason?

  10. Peter Edward Atwood says:

    The Project-equation has been decided.

    There was definite interest in producing and application file using Revit. I hope we can continue the discussion concerned with how defining parameters in an application file which will eventually be turned over to a different operator effects design thinking or what parameters are defined.

    There was also support for a huge scale creation. In the discussion this seemed to be defined as more then one building or a large site. What was most interesting to me was considering whether or not parametric design needs a defined site or context. Perhaps the projects which result from this project-equation will address this topic.

  11. Nick Buck Nick Buck says:

    I apologize about my tardiness the last couple of days; I had some pressing matters come up.

    I find it funny that you have brought up a parameter seat for you example because that was my last project from the previous summer of my work. I would like to share the application file with everyone because I feel it is one of my greatest works with parameters and families. I find it more suitable to ask for permission because I believe this may have the possibility of side tracking 01.02. However to support my reasoning for sharing is that I feel the way I have used my parameters will answer your questions on designing for another person. As for the company I created this for, I have already received permission on my leave to use this work for educational purposes.
    A little about the family:
    The chair is created for a theater setting, such as plays and musical performances. The family was required to have rotating arms for ADA accessibility and Side lights for ails seats. Along with this is that the back of the seat must be able to rotate to various angles along with the seat cushion. So, there is not much change in the actual size of the seat but there are a lot of round surfaces that have to rotate. Within the parameters there are some formulas that keep the user from extending the rotation angle past the desired point and this is the kind of checking method I used so that the user cannot ‘easily’ push the family beyond that actual products abilities.
    The irony of the last paragraph may have answered the Peter’s question with me uploading the file at all. To simplify the answer in terms of an answer and not a description of the family, I would limit the user in the application file but using parametric formulas to constrain the design.

    In regards to the formula, I think we should use large scale because this will play better into the strengths of Revit. When attempting to create a site model is easy to in with Revit, your options for parameters become limited. Typically the larger the scale the less detail and the smaller scale contains more detail. With that being said I think Revit works best with Small to Large scale , since small has been used I think Large is best. I realize this may be too late, but I wanted to add more to the discussion.

  12. Peter Edward Atwood says:


    I think it would be great to upload your file. What I would recommend is uploading it as a familiarization or defamiliarization to something which already exist on the site. I think the comparison between two things will help people understand your project and its importance or relevance to this investigation.

    From your description the chair sounds like a very effective parametric model, however I would question whether it needs to be? If it was an issue to try and confine the model so a user wouldn’t “push the family beyond the actual product abilities” why give them the ability the change anything. Why not just create say 3 specific models with out parameters which you know work. Also what was the companies desire for making this parametric model, how did it help them and their business?

    I agree with your comments concerning Revit and large scale however I am very interested in pushing revit outside of its familiar boundaries. This is just my opinion and interest, perhaps other investigators have more to say about Revit and scale.

  13. Nick Buck Nick Buck says:

    Sounds good, I will keep an eye out for where it may fit.

    As for the chair, there we just too many models to create a family for each. For example there are the variations of the back angles in response to different widths of the chair and also if it is ADA or not. I am sure you can imagine that the number of different families for some of the variations was an issue. We wanted to keep the number of families down so that the user will not have to load all of them into the project when doing the theater seating. Also, all the information within the family needed to be reported into a BOM so the clients can place orders.

    The company I worked for was looking into having a Revit solution when Architects needed families of the companies product in the their files. It was my job to create most of their popular items for sale as Revit families so that they can be used in project files. They already had all of the AutoCAD blocks set-up and I would take their drawings and make them in Revit. It helped them because Architects use different software’s and while AutoCAD is still the most popular, the Revit demand had increased. My position allowed them to effectively fill these orders in a timely manner.

    Revit with a large scale should be fun in terms of exploration. I have not fully explored the program in this area and it will be interesting.

  14. Ari Anderson says:

    Everyone should look at this download for Revit. It’s a Grasshopper type interface for Revit. I havn’t tried it yet, but it seems interesting.

    Here’s the link:

    I’ll let you know how it goes.

  15. Nick Buck Nick Buck says:

    I am curious as to why you did not use reference planes with you family? In my experience I thought it was best to build the bones of your family with reference planes/lines and then align you geometry to them. Once aligned I would then dimension the reference planes and not the geometry. Are both considered right or is one of us doing it wrong?

    I also wanted to comment that the I never even thought of using the origin point and Dist Parameters to place families and I really enjoyed how you did that. The idea of a distance from the origin effecting the proportions of your geometry is really intriguing. You can almost create a 3D graph of mathematical formulas. Do you think it will be possible to get a series of blocks to act as a wave using the Sin Cos and Tan in you formulas.

    Somthing like this ->

  16. Peter Edward Atwood says:


    The simple answer to your question is to limit the scope of the video-session. As I’m sure you know there are an infinite way of doing things and I decided to not introduce reference planes as parametric guides because I feel sometimes people have a hard time making the connection between assigning parameters to planes associated with geometry rather then to the geometry itself.

    Yet, I would agree with you that it is best practice to use reference planes to build the bones of families, as you say. I also think it would be very interesting to create a parametric family that only host reference plans and then use that within a project to define the location of typical architectural elements. Walls, windows, doors, ect.

    As for you idea about a series of blocks acting as a Sin Cos and Tan wave. YES it is possible I believe and you should go for it. I would be very excited to see what you end up with.

  17. Nick Buck Nick Buck says:

    So, this idea has seemed to flop a bit. At this point I have been unsuccessful in finding a formula that cooperates with Revit. I have asked an engineering friend of mine to come up with a formula that would work with the concept but Revit keeps giving me a “Inconsistent Units” error. I looked the error up online and the “/1” solution does not apply for this.

    With my constant struggling on trying to figure this out, I decided to see what other ways I can get the desired look with other formulas, but this too still needs work.

    I wanted to ask how to upload project files on the website. I going to keep attempting to upload the file and the name should be “01.02.02 Project Attempt”, if I succeed.

  18. Peter Edward Atwood says:


    I dont think any creation can be defined as a flop. I am sure your work has revealed new and interesting things.

    Please watch the support_02 video-session located on the support page. It describes how to upload application-files.

  19. Zhe Liu says:

    sorry for not joining the descussion for last couple days. I have some internet problem..

    one thing I fell interesting about the video is how revit deal with the large site. From the previous experience, revit usually work better for the single unit, like building or funiture. In the video, using reference plan to define the site is very new to me. I like how the “distance parameter” work in order to show the relation between the building and site boundry.

    I am curious that how revit and paramertic design could help to do site and urban development.