The creation of a digital model that communicates an associative design 

system in an existing structure with a  contractor using  Revit.


    Hexagon to circular defintions of a boundary
    Matt Hoefler

    01 02 03 04 05 06 07 08 09

    For my project I started with what could be considered as an existing space or boundary that has specific points and arcs that create a space. Using the idea of existing boundaries and a contractor I decided to shape the definitions by using circular and hexagonal shapes. In some cases using existing shapes and definitions can be beneficial – it gives us somewhat of a starting point to begin our design process.  Instead of starting form the “ground up” we can gather information that currently exists and expand on the particular areas and spaces that need attention. If we can create a design that uses association of both new design and existing conditions the design will not only perform well it will also add to the character of the structure.

    Using Revit was very interesting for this project because there are many complex shapes and forms that you can create using the associations. I tried to create as many associations as possible and use this idea of existing structure to help create theses shapes.  In all stages of the project I used just the boundary defined in the original lines, this allowed me to work within a contained environment that could be considered the contractors scope of work.

    A basic form study of the freedom we have with in association to an existing structure/grid layout

    2.02.1 2.02.2 2.02.3 2.02.4 2.02.5 2.02.6When thinking about the four parts “contractor, associative, existing structure and Revit” that make up this project.

    I started looking back at how the contractor is defined furnishing supplies. The basis of this design started with and already furnish structural model which we could say was supplied by a contractor, from this I started working with Revit by making a family. From this family it allow me to make associations to the existing structure/grid layout… Within these images you will see red lines these lines are dependent on the structure and grid layout. Whereas the blue line show the independent lines that make the forms that are not dependent on the grid or structure. While still being able to apply the structure to these independent forms… The elevation is dependent on a side in the family that was created in Revit. While the height of the new forms are not dependent on the structure/grid, they are associated with the structure do to the dependence of the family within the structure/grid… As I have worked with this program it helps me to see how much room there is within a design while still working on grid or already existing structure.  It would seem as though there’s not much room to work or created some new or different because of the existing structure. But that is just not the case at all. I believe this example can show the freedom we can have even with in an existing structure.

    Exploration for Practice: Matthew Dunham
    Matthew Dunham

    Dunham 1 Dunham 4topDunham 2 Dunham 3 Dunham 5top

    Dunham 3d 6 Dunham Grid 1  Dunham 3d 7Dunham Grid 2Dunham 3d 8Dunham Grid 3  Dunham 3d 5Dunham Grid 4


    I wanted to just explore the idea that Peter presented in the video: while it is basic I wanted to try various other forms. I realized more complex geometries such as 7 sided shapes are nearly impossible and create a lot of errors. I chose to play around with circles and triangles. Attaching the three points of the triangle to the circle allows each diameter to be modified: dictating the height and size.


Project-Equation Discussion

12 Responses to 02.02

  1. Peter Edward Atwood says:

    As we work on our 02.01 projects, which can be submitted at any time, we will simultaneously start discussion on project 02.02. Although there are many topics that we have brought up which I think are worth continuing I would like to start off project 02.02 by looking backwards in time. Hoefler’s most recent post in project 02.01 gave us a great blog to investigate and I think, as Hoefler says, it is very relevant. On one hand “parametrics” in computer programs has emerged recently, at least parametrics as we might see it today. Yet on another hand it is actually a very old method which dates back further into the past then you might expect. Sketchpad invented by Ivan Sutherland in 1963 is an incredible example of past parametric computer methods and thinking. Check out the two videos I have posted to learn more.

  2. matthewmoeckel says:

    I had already put this list together before the videos. But after watching the videos I really like how they came together… Generative, I think this was one of the big deals for these guys back in the video being able make many of the same thing but also being able to change it and create something new. Location, rural location, These show through the video in the way the he demonstrates the zoom. The rural location is apply by claiming a location and also at the two points that are furthest from each other. Unless we were to bend these two points to the same locations. Could be fun way to look at the mathematics. Client, in the word definition, it make good point that the client is seeking data… We also see this in the videos and I believe that Rhino, also uses the data that is computed to change the design while sticking to the data that has been computed. In the same way the client will be given information. The Client will make choice and changes along the way with the information that has been collected…

    Generative – Rural location – Client – Rhino

    Word study
    1. Having the ability to originate, produce, or procreate.
    2. Of or relating to the production of offspring
    Rural location
    1. a site or position; situation
    2. the act or process of locating or the state of being located
    1. of, relating to, or characteristic of the country or country life
    2. living in or accustomed to the country
    1. a person, company, etc, that seeks the advice of a professional man or woman
    2. computing a program or work station that requests data or information from a server

  3. Matt Hoefler says:

    Wow! really amazing video I had no idea that the idea of CAD had started that long ago! I wish I had a touchscreen computer like that, that I could draw on!

    In regards to this new set of ideas for this project – I tend to agree with Matt M on most of the list values. Generative can be used to generate a plan and then using parametric distort or modify the existing plan. create an initial design with parameters and then modify those parameters to create something different.
    Rural Locations offer a larger more abundant space to deal with and can lead to interesting design ideas. I think that using a larger area to create something will allow for the parameters to be more easily modified using the first list value of generative.
    Clients will always have opinions and ideas of their own (sometimes they can match your ideas, but other times they can completely clash with your ideas). So using this as the guideline to create something can be difficult. however if we can create something using parameters, then edit those parameters while still maintaining the original idea, I think we can take the architect client relationship to a different level!

    As for the list value for conce3renig the software – I feel that Revit might be a better option than Rhino, However I have sort of a biased opinion on this because I’m really not to familiar with Rhino. I think both programs can definitely work and I know you will be utilizing both of them in this course so maybe it is time to jump into the rhino world.

  4. Peter Edward Atwood says:

    After first watching these videos I had the same reaction as Hoefler. It is amazing that the idea of CAD began so long ago, yet since then what has changed and which direction has it moved in? There is one important distinction I would like to call attention to. At the beginning of the interview the host introduces the project as the “computer aided design project” and states that its goal was “improving the relationship between man and this important machine [the computer]”. Here I wonder what the impression of this endeavor was to the larger public? Although commonly referred to as computer aided design, CAD can also refer to computer aided drafting, which I believe was the primary concern of AutoCAD over man of its years. Remember that parametrics in AutoCAD were not introduced until 2010. Perhaps people were more comfortable with an automated drafting program rather then a designing one? Are people comfortable with Steven Coons saying you will see “a man actually talking to a computer” or did this perhaps scare some people?

    Moeckel says in his post “Generative, I think this was one of the big deals for these guys back in the video being able make many of the same thing but also being able to change it and create something new” and I completely agree with this. Coons goes into a lot of specifics regarding how this computer is different then older computers because before this investigation they were basically complex calculators. They ran a set of equations and if anything was wrong in the equation the whole system would fail. This research project appears to want to move away from a computational system to a generative one in order to improve our relationship with the computer. Is a generative system therefore better then a computational one? In his description of this new generative system Coons states in the video “…and you will see a designer, effectively, solving a problem step by step and he will not at the outset know precise what his problem is, nor will he know exactly how to solve it, but little by little he will begin to investigate ideas and the computer and he will be in cooperation in the fullest cooperation in this work”.

    Interestingly Moeckel’s definition of generative includes the ability to originate and the ability to produce offspring. My question here is who is the originator the computer or the person operating it? Is it still considered a generation if there was no human interaction and it was just a computer program running. I think here we run into a problem finding the difference between a computational system and a generative one. Hoefler’s says “Generative can be used to generate a plan and then using parametric distort or modify the existing plan. create an initial design with parameters and then modify those parameters to create something different.” and I believe he has suggested an important distinction. If a generative system is used to generate a plan is the second action of modifying or distorting the original generation still another generation and how can we tell who is preforming this generation, the person or the computer?

    We can look at two specific examples in both Revit and Rhino/GH (here Rhino/GH refers to using Rhino with the grasshopper plug in rather then just Rhino by its self). In Revit we can define families which can be reused through out projects, I would consider these families to be originally generated by the person using the program but the families can also be given parameters which, when the family is placed into a project, effect the original generation altering it based on further information. Is this an example of further generation? In Rhino/GH the Grasshopper plugin can act on certain elements within the program and perform scripted operations. The alterations of these operations can be adjusted and the effects are instantly viewable. At some point the person operating it decided to terminate this limbo state and “bake” the modifications which breaks an further adjustments. This could be seen as a form of generation. Here my question is does generation have more to do with embedding parameters into an initial creation which alter it or does it involve the act of deciding when to “generate” a final unalterable version of an object? Also does Revit’s family mechanism have a stronger tie to an associative system?

  5. Matthew Dunham says:

    Watching those videos captures the exponential developments of technology over the last five decades. I wonder what those men would think if they were to see the computer aided design capabilities of Rhino or Revit; the ability to see each facade/face of the created object and the ability for complex geometries. While I look at their computers and basic capabilities compared to ours today, I have to remember that for the day [1963] the complex data entry, computations, editing ability, and their discussion of speech recognition is very advanced. The computer “sketch pad” is a step up from 100 draftsmen working by hand.
    Jumping right into one of Peters previous questions, “Although commonly referred to as computer aided design, CAD can also refer to computer aided drafting… Perhaps people were more comfortable with an automated drafting program rather than a designing one?” I think that is a very weighted question. Could the same be said that we like the idea of evolution vs. one Creator? Do we trust computers to design or only as tools for humans to design with…? Is having a computer design crossing the boundaries from a science into an art? Less of the philosophical thoughts. Peter also in relation to this larger idea “It is amazing that the idea of CAD began so long ago, yet since then what has changed and which direction has it moved in?” I think the idea of CAD, Computer Aided Design vs Computer Aided Drafting, stems from the fact that drafting is what they called it at the time. Whereas now we throw around the word “design” for more today and associate it with hundreds of professions. Today everybody is a designer, so we want design programs, not just layout and formatting options. Before and through the 19the and early 20th century Architects were much more drafters: detailing buildings. Now we hardly draft and only design [more of an artist]. Even engineering, product creation, software, manufacturing, use the word design. The word “drafting” has changed: we now associated it as a “preliminary version of….” rather than an accurate precise final.

    Peter states a question based off of Moeckel’s definition; asking is it the “person or the computer” is responsible for the originating and producing? To begin this I am going to quote peter saying “I believe he has suggested an important distinction. If a generative system is used to generate a plan is the second action of modifying or distorting the original generation still another generation and how can we tell who is preforming this generation…”. I think the original creation is the person using the computers capabilities to draw, but duplicating items once drawn, or modifying parameters already entered should be attributed to the computer. Here is an example, the person entering the initial data [lines, layers, points, commands, etc] and creating it is responsible for it, understands it, and controls it. But if those parameters are manipulated [copied, pasted, rotated, enlarged, etc] the person no-longer is fully in control. Therefore sharing the creation with the computer. If the computer’s ability to read code failed or auto-modified the commands how would the person know if it was at a micro level. Once the data is entered by a person the computer can make it anything the computer reads it as.
    In discussing whether or not Revit is more tied to an associate system vs. generative. From using Revit it is a system designed heavily around families and parameters. When Revit is used correctly it is an associate system; items linked to others and auto-filling spread sheets. If you understand how each family was assembled and the associative parameters than Revit allows nearly limitless modification. Associative is defined as “having, or being the property of combining to the same mathematical result regardless of the grouping of an expression’s elements given that the order of those elements is preserved”. Having done my thesis I cannot tell you how accurate this is. Changing the initial step in the way Revit parameters can/does affect future iterations. Peter comments “Here my question is does generation have more to do with embedding parameters into an initial creation”. In short, Yes. In Revit if appropriate parameters are assigned, initial creations can easily be manipulated and fixed to ebb-and-flow the design. If parameters are not assigned or ignored the piece can be a dead-weight being more of a hindrance to the overall computer aided design.

    Lastly, Peter also “I wonder what the impression of this endeavor was to the larger public?” In watching these videos I feel as though the generative and associative advancements in computer aided drawing were huge for the day. For the larger public to hear about these ideas and the concepts discussed would have been like us hearing about new cutting edge things today. It took almost 30 (more like 24) years for this early technology to become more widely used but nonetheless the existing science was could make it happen. Even now the people who use design software, and think it is easy, dumbfound those people who have never seen or watched Photoshop perform, not to mention Revit, Rhino, 3D printers, etc.

  6. Matt Hoefler says:

    the videos also explain how we as designers or engineers think about drawings or drafting. This candidates idea of creating a drawing that can display multiple views is what we all strive for – now in the educational system 3d programs like Revit seem to be the choice by all. We can create complex geometries that allow for a wide range for freedom in design.

    At the time in the video (1963) BIM was just a small idea and now its incredibly large in scale and has the potential to really change the way we design and work in a firm. I’m sure the people in the video dreamt about the day that they could design a building and edit it in real time while the model interrupts the different inputs. Matt D brings up a really interesting point about the two meanings behind CAD – maybe there is two different meanings for BIM as well?

  7. matthewmoeckel says:

    Hey guys, Love the discussion so far…
    I have been thinking about the question in regards to who is the design/creator. As Matt D point out at the beginning it is the human, but from that point on I believe it is shared between the computer and the operator… even while I type this out I’m leaning in the direction of the human because we have the control to change the design at anytime. Therefore I believe it is the operators/human. Talking about generative throughout the design vs computational. I believe from design point generative is moving forward with one of the purposes for computational… But I know there are other reason computational where in it would be moving away from the purpose… I believe in the context we are talking generative would be better than computational… in the Big picture
    Coming back to the program to use for this value I think it would still be Rhino because it seems like they have pushed this program in this direction. But I could be wrong because my knowledge base is limited on this topic…. Another reason I was thinking it should be Rhino is because of the next list values that we will have to choice from make more scene for Revit When putting this list together I was also thinking about the last list…
    I would say this list value should be the last one…
    1. Of, characterized by, resulting from, or causing association.
    2. Mathematics Independent of the grouping of elements. For example, if a + (b + c) = (a + b) + c, the operation indicated by + is associative.
    Existing Structure
    1. to have being or reality; to be
    2. to eke out a living; stay alive; survive: I can barely exist on this wage
    3. to be living; live
    1. a complex construction or entity
    2. the arrangement and interrelationship of parts in a construction, such as a building
    3. the manner of construction or organization: the structure of society

    1. a person who contracts to furnish supplies or perform work at a certain price or rate.
    2. Bridge. the player or team who makes the final bid.

    My thoughts about these four parts (Associative, Existing Structure, Contractor, Revit).
    Really the three revolve around Revit… The existing structure can be used as the some of the constraints used for revit, helping to layout a plan for the design. The contractor and use these limits to help bridge the gap in the design from restrictions that have been set helping to see the opportunity to tie the project together. Associative, can use these restrictions by implementing independent variable to add or subtract from the design of the existing structure.

  8. Peter Edward Atwood says:

    In continuing our discussion regarding the difference between design programs and drafting programs, which I also believe has a connection between generative and computational, I think we need to get more specific regarding what design is. Is design the ability to understand all variables for a defined problem and then solve those variables or is design the ability to come up with an idea which meets the needs of an undefined problem. I think an important question is whether or not the problem is understood completely at the beginning of the design. This was an important point made in the videos posted. The designer will not know the problem right away but with the help of the computer he will begin to understand more. A big question I have regarding this is the following.

    If design involves not understanding the problem at the beginning are we in fact filtering the problem through a tool (the computer) in order to understand it in some way, and from this what type of “lens” is the computer and how is it shaping these undefined problems.

    A couple of other general comments I would like to make quickly.

    I think that parametrics and the use of computers in design still has a sense of wonder and mystery tied to it. Although it is possible to completely understand the operations involved in a computation or a generation some of the attraction we (or contemporary architectural design) has towards parametrics is its ability to amaze us. To leave us asking how was this possible. This of course is an odd phenomenon considering that at some point a person programmed the operations and technology which makes this possible.

    Dunham mentioned design within Revit becoming a hindrance and although I agree with what he is saying in the context of his comment, basically that if you do not build parameters into a revit model the geometry and un-associated data is dead weight, I would like to mention that perhaps hindrances are not bad things. I have grown very skeptical of software programs which profess to be the universal solution to all problems, which I feel Revit does. On another note I am very interested in Rhino(GH) “bake” mechanism, because it suggest that there is a distinction between geometry which can be manipulated and geometry which can not be manipulated. To me this hindrance, as in something which provides delay or obstruction is defined, were other programs just allow geometry and data to be continually manipulated until it becomes and incomprehensible hindrance.

    Before we decide on project 02.02’s equation we should all weight in on why we feel it should be one way or another. Moeckel’s is a great starting point for these final comments.

  9. Matthew Dunham says:

    Peter re calibrates our discussion to “If design involves not understanding the problem at the beginning are we in fact filtering the problem through a tool (the computer) in order to understand it in some way, and from this what type of “lens” is the computer and how is it shaping these undefined problems.” I think the lens which the computer unintentionally adds is the disconnect between our ability to understand and control the software. I have always began projects by hand… free from any obstruction other than my own small-mindednes. I feel when things begin in the computer the design is already placed within a box. Another way we filter the problem, is through finding doable-solutions because not all tools are available/understood. However, contrary to this, my high-rise project we sketched and sketched for weeks and then built a model in the computer.. did not like it, then manipulated it by arraying all 50-floor plates mathematically and that birthed our tower concept. I could never have wrapped my mind around those intricate design details.. it took the computer to make a undeveloped idea become a doable solution to the problem. This ties well to what Peter wrote: Computer design has “wonder and mystery tied to it…. [it] have towards parametrics is its ability to amaze us.”

    I think what truly separates us from the historic drafting modes, the use of pen and paper, is the multiple views, as we have already said. Hoefler wrote “We can create complex geometries that allow for a wide range for freedom in design”. I think is is good and bad. It opens up a world to design things which our minds can hardly grasp [complex computer forms]. We see and can invision dynamic forms on a macro level but I think humans process on a micro level. Meaning we see how the whole building “should look” but process it in terms of adjoining walls, surfaces, joints and voids. Revit allows for this exploration and also allows for the finite connections to be observed and manipulated. Connecting these two ideas I like where Peter writes “I would like to mention that perhaps hindrances are not bad things”… I agree. I think working within parameters and with hindrances challenges the design and the designer to be greater and the problem to be more refined. I cannot agree more with Peter’s last line about how some programs allow “data to be continually manipulated until it becomes and incomprehensible hindrance.” this is what I mention when I say our human inability to comprehend complex computer generated forms. It surpasses mens understanding: therefore it is a supersonic lens which computers perhaps negatively provide.

    Staying with Hoeflers posed question: are there two meanings for BIM? Known as Building Information Modeling… I think we kick it out of the park today in the exponential ability to model every facet of a building and its performance. I love that we can observe how things happen in a building even before its left the design phase. I think information modeling covers over every entity we would ever want to model: from the walls to the air flow, from the materials to the Solar UV envelope. If there are two meanings for BIM then I have no thoughts, it likely will surface in 5 years when the way we design now becomes prehistoric [or next week if technology keeps advancing].

  10. Matthew Dunham says:

    Now to discuss the topic at hand for 02.02. Which I chose to do in a separate post. The selections Moeckel debates are: Associative, Existing Structure, Contractor, and Revit.

    I think Revit is far more apt to being in an associative category than a generative one. Revit can associate things within itself as it is a very linear parametric program… where I feel Rhino is far more generative. This being that Rhino possesses the power to out-do Revit in the areas of form, mass, nets, nodes and surface manipulation were Revit is more simple and rectilinear in nature.

    Basing our process of elimination off of some variable elements, I think an Existing Structure would complement Associative+Revit better. Because the setting of modifying an existing structure demands a program with order and assigned contextual data. Rhino is so abstract that for a Existing Structure I feel like it would get out of control and the modeling would be far harder than necessary.

    Even more basic off of the selected values, Associative+Revit+Existing Structure then it only makes sense that Contractor is chosen over client. This projecting that the combination of those values is both more practical as a solution to the design and realistically an occurrence in the design world.

    Last, I feel like generative+Rural+Client+Rhino just sounds like a Frank Gehry/Zaha Hadid work flow or project team. Both these combinations of values for 02.02 and the remaining set of values for listed above [02.03] seem to be natural-selection based off off common association of terms.

  11. Matt Hoefler says:

    To determine the project equation I have looked over every comment made for this entire discussion and I have come to a set of values that I think will work well. Using the remaining values I feel that the best solution would be
    Exist. Structure
    I think that Existing structures and association goes hand-in-hand because in any existing building design you are going to need to associate certain elements. In order to create a new design that solves a new problem an existing building can be modified to associate with the needs of the building or client. Clients come to architects with problems or needs that an architect needs to solve, and address, wether it be new or existing. Existing structures can lend themselves well to a new type of solution for a client, and con sometimes work even better than a new structure. the difference I see with an associative design using an existing building is that the owner is the one with the problem and need for a new design – a contractor is more of the means of creating the solution in full scale. Overall I think that these values will produce some interesting results and in turn create another interesting set of values for the remaining project 02.03

  12. Peter Edward Atwood says:

    Project 02.02.02 will be the following:

    The creation of a digital model that communicates an associative design system in an existing structure with a contractor using Revit.

    Besides communicating with either a contractor or client we all agreed upon the rest of the values. The selection of contractor over client was simply based on a majority vote, however there was great discussion surrounding both values.