DynamoDC - Precision Inquisition

Last week I had the pleasure of presenting [remotely] to the DynamoDC user group. Timon Hazell reached out to ask if I would be willing, and since he had so generously served as our guest lecture for the Dynamo-litia September 2016 meeting, I was more than happy to return the favor. Apparently DynamoDC has previously hosted several intro to Dynamo workshops so he asked if I could demonstrate a more advanced example of how Dynamo can be used to extend Revit functionality.

One of my favorite things about AEC community outreach through user groups, conferences, and hackathons are that I am exposed really interesting problems that I would not have encountered in my own work. At the beyondAEC Hackathon the week before, one of the participants had asked me if there was a way to use Dynamo to isolate the exterior facade material areas and types specifically corresponding to a room in the building. I figured DynamoDC would be the perfect opportunity to tackle this workflow and the PRECISION INQUISITION: Advanced Extraction of Revit Model Information Using Dynamo presentation was born...

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Revit models are powerful repositories of geometric, numeric, and descriptive building information, however the default tools for accessing that information are often limited and cumbersome. Recent questions have been raised about utilizing Dynamo to execute precise tasks such as performing quantity takeoffs on specific portions of an exterior facade, comparing vision glass to room area, or even evaluating the proportion of total facade area by building orientation. Special guest Kyle Martin will deliver a [remote] live demonstration of advanced model analysis approaches with Dynamo. Topics covered will include: visual programming principles, general logic, list management, list at level, filtering and sorting, index tracking, querying Revit parameters, geometric properties, color for clarity, and much more.

In the hour of available presentation time I hoped to cover the following ambitious list of concepts:

  • basic visual programming principles
  • general logic
  • list management
  • list at level
  • filtering and sorting
  • index tracking
  • querying Revit parameters
  • geometric properties
  • color for clarity

As I prepared for the presentation, the Dynamo workflow grew increasingly complex.

The principal function of the Dynamo definition was to query exterior wall geometry from the model based on a room number and perform material takeoffs, directional composition, and visual analysis.

OBJECTIVES: Target specific rooms in the Revit model by Room Number, isolate the exterior Wall/Window elements specific to that room, calculate total area of exterior facade for each Room, understand composition of vision to solid materials, and assist with code calculations such as light & ventilation.

OBJECTIVES: Target specific rooms in the Revit model by Room Number, isolate the exterior Wall/Window elements specific to that room, calculate total area of exterior facade for each Room, understand composition of vision to solid materials, and assist with code calculations such as light & ventilation.

OBJECTIVES: Query all exterior Wall elements, use the underlying geometry to determine direction of each wall, sort walls by cardinal directions or bespoke orientation system, and calculate proportion of facade areas for each direction.

OBJECTIVES: Query all exterior Wall elements, use the underlying geometry to determine direction of each wall, sort walls by cardinal directions or bespoke orientation system, and calculate proportion of facade areas for each direction.

OBJECTIVE: Color specific items for analysis, visual clarity, and storytelling

OBJECTIVE: Color specific items for analysis, visual clarity, and storytelling

The live demonstration was recorded for your viewing pleasure. You may notice the video starts a little late due to technical difficulties but no significant content was missed. Presentation slides and the Dynamo file can be accessed HERE.

Even with a rush towards the end, I was able to successfully make it through all the content. I appreciate the audience being super receptive and patient given the hands-off format. And a very special thank you Timon Hazell, John Schippers, and Dana De Fillippi for the opportunity.

DynamoDC audience

DynamoDC audience

Kyle's "home studio" setup

Kyle's "home studio" setup

The other day I received a surprise t-shirt in the mail as a thank-you, I will wear it with pride!

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BSA Profile - Kyle Martin, Associate AIA

I am honored to have recently been featured in a profile piece on the Boston Society of Architects website!

Where is the field of architecture headed?
Over the last few years I have worked to promote the use of design technology in the architecture profession. Our industry trends toward outdated traditional approaches over emerging technology. Post-analysis is a waste of time if it does not inform future projects. I have seen architecture firms of all sizes and practice areas habitually reinvent the wheel on projects. We stand on the precipice of a new era, and I have made it my personal crusade to help designers everywhere understand that data-driven and computational approaches can drastically improve the efficiency and efficacy of practice.

What do you hope to contribute from your work?
I spend a considerable amount of time blogging, tweeting, teaching, leading Dynamo-litia, and presenting at conferences—all in an attempt to satisfy curiosity and contribute knowledge to the community at large. Much of the time I’ve invested has been spent trying to increase my own familiarity with various software platforms to tackle complex design challenges and implement task automation for redundant BIM workflows. In my new construction role, I am encouraged to develop tools to improve design translation, cost engineering, and process optimization. I am no longer tasked with convincing my colleagues of the benefits of the technology, as much as I am with developing and implementing new technological methods and tactics. I am quickly realizing the lessons I have learned from extracurricular exploration have equipped me with skills to address obstacles that have arisen in practice.

Head over to the BSA website to read the full profile.

Facades+ Boston - Visual Programming with Dynamo Workshop

Originally featured on the Tocci Blog, I recap my recent experience co-leading a Dynamo workshop at this year's Facades+ one-day conference in Boston...

Last week I attended and presented at this year’s Facades+ Boston event — a one-day symposium and trade show focused on the importance of high performance envelope design in the AEC Industry.

SYMPOSIUM:

The first half of the day featured three engaging panel discussions.

Panel 1 – Expanding the Envelope: Generating Urban Data for Responsive Design:
This group of panelists urged the importance of data, tech innovation, and digital equity in the Boston built environment. Capturing data for many city metrics helps reveal trends and provide insight for a prosperous and safer tomorrow.

Panel 2 – Modernist Performance Retrofits:
One presentation in architectural detailing for a historical retrofit project provided an intriguing contrast against a second presentation about examining materials and fenestration details to identify high-performing wall assemblies at different price-points. While one project carefully considered the aesthetic ramifications of their intervention, the other team thoroughly emphasized performance.

Panel 3 – Making Space for Bostonians:

Place-making is an essential consideration in urban design and these three panelists discussed the role that strategic programming, structural and material innovation, and inviting public space has played in creating thriving districts in the city of Boston.

VISUAL PROGRAMMING WITH DYNAMO WORKSHOP:

Colin McCrone and I led an afternoon workshop that demonstrated the usefulness of visual programming for Revit in facade design and analysis workflows. Our workshop kicked off with an introduction to the concepts of computational design, migration across various software platforms, and examples of how the tools are being used in the industry today.

After providing an overview of the interface, terminology, functions, and features, the first exercise tackled one of Revit’s most temperamental elements – curtain wall. Modifying curtain wall requires many sequential clicks to adjust overall size, mullion spacing, and exchanging pinned panels, mullions, and doors. Dynamo provides the capability to query information from the model, target specific items, and batch alter them as needed. The accompaniment of math and logic adds further analysis and opportunities for customization to the process.

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For the final portion of the workshop, we highlighted three panelization processes that demonstrate the geometric design potential of Dynamo. The first used pixel brightness from an image to swap out panels by color and generate a mosaic interpretation.

The second read point coordinate data from an excel spreadsheet to place 4-point adaptive curtain wall panels in a curvilinear wall configuration.

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Lastly, the third utilized the Revit Sun Path tool to analyze solar gain on each panel of a wall surface and colorize the panels from least to most exposure.

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Overall the experience was a huge success and we both thoroughly enjoyed sharing our knowledge with the 20 or so members of the Boston AEC community who attended our workshop.

If you would like to learn more about Dynamo, the June gathering of the Dynamo-litia Boston user group will feature a brief recap of the Facades+ workshop and more in-depth presentations of how Dynamo is being used in practice.

More about Facades+ Boston