Enhance your BIM modelling workflow with generative design and the Edificius integration with Rhino/Grasshopper®
In this insight we’ll be exploring some interesting features in Edificius. We’ll be seeing how generative design methodologies can serve as a mathematical modelling tool to generate 3D objects using solid modelling functionalities in a simple manner and without any limitations, thanks to the integration with Rhino/Grasshopper®.
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Computer-aided design has had a major impact on the world of architectural, structural and plant design, and in recent years, with the introduction of algorithms, it has gone even further. Architects and engineers are now completely free to experiment with new forms and improve their ideas to design innovative and better performing buildings with algorithmic modelling software.
Algorithmic modelling differs from classical three-dimensional modelling as it relates different model components to each other via parameters. In short, this procedure uses mathematical algorithms to describe processes and operations that generate three-dimensional models.
This is an extremely useful way of creating 3D models, as it allows processes to be automated each time a specific parameter is changed.
What is Rhino/Grasshopper®?
Grasshopper is a plug-in for Rhinoceros (a 3D modeller) that uses a parametric modelling system. This tool is able to create complex geometries and organic shapes at any scale, from design objects to large-scale architecture, allowing them to be managed and edited in a very easy manner.
By composing a node diagram, which establishes the mathematical and geometric relationships of a 3D model, Grasshopper is able to generate particularly complex three-dimensional mathematical models.
These 3D models can be edited in real-time by varying the different parameters or values set up during diagram definition. This of course brings immediate advantages in terms of analysis and formal control.
Why use Rhino/Grasshopper® and the advantages of integration with Edificius
Rhino/Grasshopper® sets no theoretical, spatial or geometrical limits, applying the principles of generative design.
The software can generate articulated 3D shapes by defining a node diagram (algorithm) capable of describing the mathematical and geometrical relationships of a model.
The three-dimensional models developed with Grasshopper are dynamic systems that can be modified in real-time by varying the parameters defined when generating the diagram, with great advantages in terms of shapes control and rationalisation.
The presence of a parametric modeller connected to a BIM software allows you to generate single objects, or those consisting of several elements and particular complexity, with spatial configurations that would not otherwise be possible with normal 3D modellers.
The integration between Edificius and Rhino/Grasshopper®, linking the two design environments (BIM and algorithmic design), allows AEC professionals to implement their own BIM models with complex shapes and geometries.
This type of workflow complements other integrations developed in Edificius, allowing the designer to add very complex construction elements to the 3D construction geometry in BIM. In fact, with Rhino/Grasshopper® it is possible to create, modify, analyse, render, animate and convert curves, surfaces, solids, point clouds and polygonal meshes.
Even if changes are made to the model created in Rhino/Grasshopper®, the work session in the Grasshopper® visual editor is maintained, allowing the operator to act on the parameters to further modify the geometry.
Finally, by saving the work session, the model is returned to Edificius and the Rhino/Grasshopper® session is updated for any subsequent editing.
How the Edificius-Rhino/Grasshopper integration works
Let’s take a look at a practical example to see the great potential of integrating Edificius with Rhino/Grasshopper® and the generative design of a steel roof, supported by four concrete columns, to serve as a bus terminal:
- first, select the elements present in Edificius (the four concrete columns) used as a reference.
- click on teh 3D view command, select “Grasshopper”, then “new custom modelled 3D object”
- create or import templates that allow you to generate the objects that you need
- create the roof using steel frames
- close the programme and return to the Edificius work space.
You can immediately notice the added value of integration between the two software solutions: the roof is positioned in its original place and is already an integral part of the 3D BIM model.
You can also edit the object you have just created with Rhino/Grasshopper®:
- operate in the functions visual editor and on the various nodes, or directly on the model by inserting splines or other elements that allow you to model very complex shapes.
- now simply close the program to go back to Edificius
- remove the initial four columns used as a reference and insert other steel columns with a circular cross-section
- now check the final result both in 3D and in the interactive Real Time Rendering views.
So, in just a few steps, you have created your customised object without having to close and open Edificius and with just a few operations (export, import, etc.) optimising time and methods.
This was an example of a complete BIM design workflow using the Edificius software to take full advantage of the parametric modelling capabilities of Rhino/Grasshopper® while working and collaborating in a BIM architectural design solution.