Project

DesignScript and Design Computation

Goal: This project brings together research and development on tools for Design Computation, beginning with GenerativeComponents (and its precursors) and progressing to DesignScript. DesignScript allows a ‘soft transition’ between visual data flow programming and text based scripting by implementing a series of intermediate programming techniques. DesignScript can be described as a multi-paradigm domain-specific end-user language and modelling environment for architectural and engineering computation.

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Project log

Robert Aish
added a research item
In recent decades, the interrelations between architecture and computation have fostered new design concepts and design methods, which challenge existing design and building processes. Specifically, the increased use of parametric methods and scripting allow for the development of modelling and fabrication techniques, which in turn challenge the role of drawing as one of the main tools for conceptualising and realising architecture. In 1975 Chuck Eastman proposed the conceptual basis for a more complete and effective role for the use of the computer in architecture with his ‘Building Description System’. During the 1980s, software developer Robert Aish contributed to the development of RUCAPS – one of the earliest applications based on the concept of ‘building modelling’. Later developments of building modelling envisaged further modes of collaboration between architecture, engineering, and construction in the (AEC) industry.
Robert Aish
added a research item
This table describes the evolution of parametric and computational design systems including CustomObjects, GenerativeComponents and DesignScript Studio. The reader is invited to complete the table for current production systems.
Robert Aish
added 3 research items
GenerativeComponents is a parametric and associative design system. Parametric design is equally applicable to four stages of the contemporary design: first in concept formation and the exploration of building form; second, in the development and use of parametric and adaptive components within such a conceptual framework; third in the control of the rapid prototyping and digital fabrication of these components and fourth to manage the extraction of conventional drawings, which automatically adapt to changing building configurations. Essentially parametric design, as implemented with GenerativeComponents, opens new possibilities to efficiently explore alterative building forms and fabrication technologies, while at the same time addressing key issues in the efficient management of conventional design and documentation processed.
Architecture is fundamentally about relationships. Many of those relationships are geometric in nature or find expression in Geometry. The SmartGeometry Group (www.smartgeometry.org) has been created in the belief that Computer Aided Design lends itself to capturing geometric relationships that form the foundation of architecture. Central to this is the relationship between design tools and design skills. With the advent of new parametric design tools, the SmartGeometry Group is dedicated to educating the construction professions in the new skills which will be required to use these new systems effectively.
This paper describes an advanced object-oriented AEC CAD system which integrated an 'idealised' topological model and a more detailed 'material' model. The idealised topological model was used to control the material model in a form of top-down associativity. The material model was based on rule driven parametric solid modelling with which intelligent components with different 'levels of detail' could be defined and instantiated. The whole design model was driven by direct manipulation of the idealised model by the user. Please Note: the title of this paper refers to MicroStation/J and JMDL, the Java MicroStation Development language and development environment, which in turn was based on the Java language, augmented with a persistence mechanism. Actually the main example used in this paper was called ECM, Engineering Component Modelling and was developed with OMDL, the Objective MicroStation Development Language, which in turn was based on Objective C. OMDL preceded JMDL. However, the principle
Robert Aish
added 7 research items
For CAD to be effective in a multidisciplinary/multi-practice design team it must offer the individual practitioner appropriate representation of design information. These representation may be orthographic drawings, 3D perspectives views and other non-graphic attribute data. It is possible to develop separate systems which address each of these representations in isolation. However, it is generally recognised that such isolated systems may hinder rather than facilitate the coordination and consistency of design information. An alternative approach is to develop an integrated CAD system which is capable of handling multiple representations. Here all representations are related to a single 3D model of the building and, therefore, encourages consistency and coordination of design information across the whole multi-disciplinary team. This paper will describe the theoretical basis and the practical benefits of CAD based on building modelling and will demonstrate, with practical examples, how building modelling has become the key concept in integration construction CAD.
Object Oriented software development is often considered primarily in terms of the benefits it can bring to the original developers of a software product. Although benefits to developers are important, there are other participants, for example software writers who tailor systems to specific applications requirements and end users, who can reasonably expect that OOD will also provide benefits over conventional procedural software. This paper will consider two issues: - does object based software give benefits to the end users? - can end users participate in OOD to extend the system? These issues will be discussed in the context of the Intergraph object oriented CAD system, EMS (Engineering Modelling System).
Design Computation is now an established part of architectural design education and practice. The challenge is to encourage designers with the minimum of prior knowledge to become operational with computational concepts but without being subsequently limited by any simplified approaches that might have been initially offered. This paper describes recent progress in the development of additional intermediate tools which are intended to encourage the designer to progress to more complex computational ideas and their successful application to design. Here it is suggested that an appropriate design computational toolset should offer a progression of concepts, tools and forms of user interaction that match the expected progression in skills and ambitions of the designer.
Robert Aish
added 4 research items
Performance-driven generative design methods are capable of producing concepts and stimulating solutions based on robust and rigorous models of design conditions and performance criteria. Using generative methods, the computer becomes a design generator in addition to its more conventional role as draftsperson, visualizor, data checker and performance analyst. To enable designers to readily develop meaningful input models, this paper describes a preliminary integration of a generative structural design system, eifForm, and an associative modeling system, Generative Components, through the use of XML models. An example is given involving generation of 20 lightweight, cantilever roof trusses for a saddle shaped stadium roof modeled in Generative Components. Synergies between the two systems and future extensions are discussed.
DesignScript is a multi-paradigm domain-specific end-user language and modelling environment for architectural and engineering computation. DesignScript implements both visual data flow programming and imperative programming. The novice user initially develops his data flow program through the familiar visual programming environment. This environment is effectively an intuitive user interface masking the underlying DesignScript language. The DesignScript language and its related user interface addresses three issues: the domain specific requirements of architectural and engineering computing, the scalability issues encountered when visual data flow programming is applied to complex design scenarios and the abstraction barriers encountered when users transition from data flow to imperative programming.
We present a physics-based generative design approach to interactive form-finding. While form as a product of dynamic simulation has been explored previously, individual projects have been developed as singleton solutions. By identifying categories of computational characteristics, we present a novel unified model that generalizes existing simulations through a constraint-based approach. The potential of interactive form finding simulation is explored through exemplary studies: a conceptual approach to a fixed form that acts as a visualization of interacting forces, and a constraint-based model of the fabrication logic for a panelization system are examined. Implications of constraint-based simulation on future directions are discussed.
Robert Aish
added 7 research items
The potential for using computers to evaluate and predict building performance and to aid the design of building services is widely recognized. The objectives, the context, and the decisions which are involved in realising a comprehensive suite of production programs for use by building services engineers are discussed.
The potential benefits of CAD in building design are well established. In reality most production CAD systems are developed in response to the particular requirements of users who are architects or building engineers. These requirements are often fragmented. They relate to different aspects of the complete building engineering design cycle and are often specified by different users at different moments in time. The role of the CAD systems developer is to design a coherent software system and to establish a consistent set of user interface conventions with which an integrated solution of these different requirements can be provided. This paper describes how this methodology has been successfully applied to an important aspect of CAD relating to building services engineering.
Parametric design systems model a design as a constrained collection of schemata. Designers work in such systems at two levels: def- inition of schemata and constraints; and search within a schema collec- tion for meaningful instances. Propagation-based systems yield ecient algorithms that are complete within their domain, require explicit speci- fication of a directed acyclic constraint graph and allow relatively simple debugging strategies based on antecedents and consequents. The require- ment to order constraints appears to be useful in expressing specific de- signer intentions and in disambiguating interaction. A key feature of such systems in practice appears to be a need for multiple views onto the con- straint model and simultaneous interaction across views. We describe one multiple-view structure, its development and refinement through a large group of architecture practitioners and its realization in the system Generative Components.
Robert Aish
added a project reference
Robert Aish
added a project goal
This project brings together research and development on tools for Design Computation, beginning with GenerativeComponents (and its precursors) and progressing to DesignScript. DesignScript allows a ‘soft transition’ between visual data flow programming and text based scripting by implementing a series of intermediate programming techniques. DesignScript can be described as a multi-paradigm domain-specific end-user language and modelling environment for architectural and engineering computation.