CORE studio hosted the 2017 AEC Technology Symposium and Hackathon in New York City on October 19-22. It was our largest AEC Tech event to date with over 150 people attending the symposium, and over 100 people attending the hackathon. Attendees came from all over the world including: New York, Philadelphia, Boston, Washington D.C., Dallas, Seattle, San Francisco, London, Switzerland, Tokyo, and Egypt. A variety of AEC companies was represented including: SHoP Architects, Perkins + Will, Tocci Construction, HOK, Affiliated Engineers, Radius Track, Dar Group, Foster and Partners, NBBJ Architecture, Ennead Architects, Permasteelisa, Skanska, Rossetti, McNeel, Autodesk, wework, and more.

The week of events started off with a full day of supplementary workshops at the Thornton Tomasetti office which allowed attendees to develop on their current skill sets and explore new tools and workflows. The workshops sold out at over 70 attendees and all sessions were completely full. Attendees had the opportunity to take a variety of classes including D3.js and Visualization, Dynamo and Revit, Konstru, Kangaroo Physics, Human UI, Autodesk Forge, and Speckle. Workshops were hosted by Mostapha Roudsari, Konrad Sobon, Chris Mackey, Nick Mundell, Emil Poulsen, Brian Ringley, Andrew Heumann, Jaime Rosales Duque, and Dimitrie Stefanescu.

For the first time in AEC Tech history, CORE studio introduced a theme for the symposium, “Merging and Emerging: AEC Futures”. The theme investigated opportunities in implementing cross-industry tech and discuss emerging AEC technology through three vectors: Site Futures (Robotics, Sensing, AR and Mixed Reality), Practice Futures (Cross-disciplinary collaboration, Machine Learning and AI), and Facilities Futures (Integration of sensing and data logging for the Built Environment).

We welcomed speakers from a wide variety of backgrounds such as academia, kinetic art, virtual reality, custom software, machine intelligence, engineering, and research and development. Speakers included: Jonatan Schumacher, Ben Howes, Brian Ringley, Andrew Heumann, Cecilie Brandt-Olsen, Branko Glisic, Sarah Oppenheimer, Naomi Maki, Norman Richardson, Ana Garcia Puyol, Randy Deutsch, and Friederike Schuur. The full symposium schedule, description of talks, and speaker bios can be read here.

AEC Tech 2017 was the first hackathon on Cornell Tech’s brand new NYC campus, lasting 30-hours and resulting in 16 new open-source projects, all attempting to tackle pressing issues in the AEC industry with innovative computational solutions. A conclusive list of final projects and links can be found here. (Read more about the Hackathon)

The success of the 2017 events are in part due to our workshop, symposium, and hackathon sponsors: Autodesk, Autodesk Forge, HKS Line, IrisVR, Konstru, wework, Bad Monkeys, Ladybug, and Speckle.

We want to thank everyone for attending the events, participating with open minds, promoting the event, and maintaining the infectious energy that keeps us all coming back every year! If you have any suggestions of what you would like to see next year, please email us and let us know!

Stay tuned, we will be posting videos from the symposium presentations in the coming weeks! Please enjoy a few symposium photos below and you can find more here.

 

Photos courtesy Jon Taylor and Ben Howes

CORE studio hosted the 2017 AEC Technology Symposium and Hackathon in New York City last week.  It was our largest event to date with over 150 people attending the symposium, and over 100 people attending the hackathon.  16 new projects (most of which are open source) were produced at the hackathon, all attempting to tackle pressing issues in the AEC industry with innovative computational solutions.  

The symposium and hackathon were hosted in The Bridge at Cornell Tech.  The Bridge is a brand new building on Roosevelt Island that CORE studio had the honor of working on with Thornton Tomasetti’s Structural Engineering Practice, who provided engineering services for Weiss Manfredi Architects throughout the design and construction process.  AEC Tech 2017 was the first hackathon on Cornell Tech’s brand new NYC campus.

We’ll be following with another post focusing on the symposium ( including videos of the presentations and more photographs! ), but we’d like to share a few photos from the hackathon, and link out to all of the projects that were developed over the weekend.  As with previous years, the energy from the hackathon has been hard to shake this week … CORE studio is still abuzz from all of the incredible ideas and discussions, and the ferocious hacking sessions that went down over the weekend.  Our most heartfelt thanks go out to everyone who participated!

 

So, without further ado, here are the projects!

 

The hackathon winners:

  1. Duct People – https://github.com/RevitAirflowDesigner/RevitAirflowDesigner
  2. Revilations – https://github.com/mkero-tt/Revilations
  3. Airflow Network Visualizer – https://aectechhack2017.devpost.com/submissions/79989-airflownetowrk_visualizer

 

And all the rest, in alphabetical order by project name:

 

And finally, some photos — Enjoy!

Over the past few months, Thornton Tomasetti’s Sustainability practice has been updating Design Explorer as part of an ongoing collaboration with CORE studio.  The Sustainability practice frequently uses Design Explorer to analyze and present parametric energy and daylighting analysis models to clients and project stakeholders.

All of this practical use of the tech makes them perfectly suited to steer Design Explorer based on their needs, which is exactly what they’ve been up to lately.  The other driving force behind some of these changes is Colibri, another open source project we’ve been collaborating with the Sustainability team on since the 2016 AEC Technology Hackathon.

The changes listed below are now up and running over at http://tt-acm.github.io/DesignExplorer/

1. Microsoft OneDrive Support

We added support for Microsoft OneDrive, by simply copying the link of a OneDrive folder. Currently, Design Explorer can support data hosted on Google Drive, Microsoft OneDrive, or on your own private server.

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2. Customize Parallel Coordinates plot scaling

By default, Design Explorer uses the minimum and maximum values in each dimension to scale the corresponding vertical axis in the parallel coordinates plot.  Based on user feedback, we added the ability to scale each vertical axis in the chart using custom values, allowing users more control over how their data is laid out.  A good example is percentages – by default, the min and max might not be 0% and 100%, which is confusing for some viewers.  Now, this is able to be set by the author.

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Note: to load the setting with your data, please save and keep the “setting.json” file with your “data.csv”.

3. Added iteration attributes panel

Another new feature based on user feedback.  Users want to know about the currently selected iteration.  Previously this data was only available by hovering over an image, which was cumbersome (and impossible in 3D mode).  The attributes panel presents metadata about the currently selected design iteration.

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4. Multiple views for each iteration

Previously, only one image per design iteration was supported.  Now users can add as many images as they want for each iteration, and cycle through them in Design Explorer.  The latest release of Colibri makes setting this up super easy in Grasshopper (use the image setting component to capture existing Rhino views), but it can also be done manually in the data.csv file.

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  • Add another image column.
  • Name it whatever makes sense to you, such as “img_plan”, “imgEastElevation”, “img_Perspective”, or “img_02”.
  • Navigation in Design Explorer: click the middle of image.

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Note: Design Explorer will load the first image as default thumbnail.

5. Shorter static link for sharing

Our static links were too long!  Now all static links are being shortened automatically.

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6. Text as data is now fully supported

Another update that plays very nicely with Colibri.  After adding support for dropdowns and panels to the Colibri Iterator, it became very clear that text values had to be treated as first class data points (previously only numbers worked well in both the PCP and when using the Sliders).  Text values are now fully supported, and are sorted alphabetically along the dimension axes.

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7. General performance improvements

We removed some redundant code and improved general performance across the board.

Thanks again to the Sustainability crew working on this for all of the great enhancements over the past few months!  As always folks, happy Design Exploring.  Watch out for all of those extra dimensions out there.  If you have any comments or suggestions about Design Explorer or would like to get involved with the development, please do get in touch!

Written by: Benjamin Howes

CORE studio is pleased to announce the release of TT Toolbox version 1.9, our suite of free and open source plugins for Grasshopper, which is available on Food4Rhino.

Similar to our January 2017 release, the main attraction in this release is Colibri. Many new features have been added to make it easier to turn your Grasshopper definition into a Design Explorer – compatible design space. The big Colibri updates are:

  • Iterator component improved – transitioned to dynamic inputs, sliders / drop-downs / panels all supported as inputs, context menu to specify how to deal with warnings, selection broken out into separate component, ‘Fly’ button included as part of component UI – no more need for a button.
  • Selection component added – allows for more control over partial design space runs; users can specify granularity along any input vector, or can choose to run only a part of the design space (only run the first 100 iterations, for example), or both.
  • Parameter component improved – transitioned to dynamic inputs, generalized so that the component can be used to describe either design inputs or design performance data for the Aggregator to consume.
  • Image Setting component improved – multiple views supported, ability to provide custom file names added (for experts only!).
  • Aggregator component improved – context menu added to specify when / if data should be overwritten, defense added to check for Write? == true when Colibri is told to fly, inputs naming revised to distinguish between design inputs (Genome) and design performance data (Phenome), 3DObjects input added allowing for super-simple Spectacles data generation.
  • Spectacles Integration – The Spectacles exporter was extended to make it easier to work with Colibri; now all Spectacles data can be compiled by the Aggregator by funneling it through the Spectacles_Colibri component.

Also noteworthy: sometime in the past few months we crossed the 20,000 download mark on Food4Rhino!  Thanks to all of the Grasshopper users who have downloaded TT Toolbox for their interest and curiosity, and above all for their feedback and encouragement.  Keep up the good work, folks!  We’ll try to do the same ;]

Explore CORE Studio’s latest contribution to DynamoRevit. We added a lot of new nodes which are partly already released with Dynamo 1.2 and will fully be available with the next Dynamo release. There are a lot of new nodes for creating and manipulating annotations, accessing element properties, manipulating existing locations and entirely new features like creating family types from dynamo geometries or creating global parameters. We added a list containing all new nodes below:

Annotations

  • Draw and query detail curves by dynamo curves
  • Create dimensions by elements or manipulate dimension properties
  • Make filled regions by outline and access filled region types
  • Place revision clouds by outline curves like polygons
  • Tag any element in Revit directly through Dynamo
  • Place text notes in views, access their properties and text note types
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Tag Walls and place Dimensions in Dynamo

 

Material

  • Access Material properties like Name, Shininess, Smoothness, Transparency, SurfacePatternColor, MaterialClass, MaterialCategory, CutPatternColor, Color, CutPatternId, AppearanceParameters, ThermalParameters, StructuralParameters

Selection

  • Select multiple edges from elements

Elements

  • Create rooms by location point
  • Get room boundaries as curves
  • Create reference planes by points
  • Get location point or curve and manipulate them with the set location node
  • Move elements by vector
  • Access element materials
  • Create new revisions using dynamo
  • Create wall by face
  • Access Revit’s shape editor for roofs and floors
  • Create curtain systems by face
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Create Wall by Face in Dynamo

 

Families

  • Access properties like host element of family and type
  • Create new family types by dynamo geometry
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Create new Family types from Dynamo geometry

Document

  • GetSurveyPoint and
  • GetBasePoint give you direct access to the document’s coordinates

Parameters

  • Access parameter properties like: HasValue, IsReadOnly, IsShared, Group, ParameterType, Id, UnitType, ParameterByName, SetValue, StorageType, SharedParameterFile,
  • Create shared or project parameters
  • Create global parameters (from Revit 2017)
  • Access global parameter properties

Filter

  • Create Parameter Filters by filter rules
  • Create Filter Rules by Rule Types
  • Create new Override graphic settings

Performance Adviser

  • Run Revit’s performance adviser directly in dynamo and explore failure messages

UI Nodes

  • And several UI nodes to access elements like: Phase, Revision, FilledRegionType, RevisionNumbering, RevisionNumberType, ParameterType, BuiltInParameterGroup, RevisionVisibility, DirectShapeRoomBoundingOption, FilterType, HorizontalAlignment, VerticalAlignment, RuleType

Written by: Max Thumfart

1 Comment

toolbox

CORE studio has released an updated version of TT Toolbox, our suite of free and open source plugins for Grasshopper on Food4Rhino.

The main attraction in this release is a new plugin called Colibri. Colibri makes it super easy to turn your Grasshopper definition into a Design Explorer – compatible design space. We wrote a dedicated blog post about it last week if you’d like to learn more.

Besides adding Colibri, version 1.8 of TT Toolbox includes:

  • Extended support for Platypus until 2018.
  • Added colored mesh support to the Spectacles
  • Minor stability enhancements to the Excel writer.
  • A few other minor bug fixes.

Head on over to Food4Rhino and get it while it’s hot! And as always if you find any bugs or have ideas for improving the tools, please do let us know on Food4Rhino, in our Grasshopper group, or on Github.

Written by: Benjamin Howes

CORE studio has released an updated version of TT Toolbox for Grasshopper containing a new plugin called Colibri.

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Colibri is Spanish for hummingbird. Logo by Colibri contributor Olivier Dambron.

Colibri allows Grasshopper users to easily turn their Grasshopper definitions into Design Explorer – compatible design spaces.  Run Colibri in Grasshopper, upload to Google Drive, and voila: your design space in Design Explorer!

Colibri is an open source project that was started at the 2016 AEC Technology Hackathon in New York, which CORE studio hosted late last year.  It was designed and prototyped over the course of 27 hours during the hackathon by a team of dedicated hackers (most of whom work for TT!).  CORE studio forked the project after the hackathon, and we’ve been improving and testing Colibri over the past few weeks in anticipation of this release.

The project’s goal is simple: make it easy to generate Design Explorer-compatible data sets in Grasshopper. This has been possible to do for some time now of course, but it was super painful to set up and was generally quite error-prone.  Users would rely on Ladybug’s ‘Fly’ component or our ‘Brute Force’ component to iterate over some sliders in their grasshopper definition, and use a bunch of data recorders and an Excel Writer to create a data.csv file in the right format.  Images and Spectacles models were up to the user to generate, name, and link into the .csv file properly.  Because Fly and Brute Force hit every step on every slider, users’ sliders often had to be edited to fine tune the size and resolution of the design space.  If all of that sounds like complete nonsense (or if it makes sense but sounds painful), we are with you, and that’s precisely why we built Colibri.  It should be easy to jump into Design Explorer!

The Colibri workflow is divided into two stages, Iteration and  Aggregation.  Colibri provides a component for each stage, the Iterator and the Aggregator.

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Colibri Iterator

The Iterator component loops over connected sliders and drives your grasshopper definition, much like Galapagos does when it’s running. Unlike Ladybug’s ‘Fly’ component or our old ‘Brute Force’ component (all of which, more or less, share the same code base by the way – these tools are all based on this post from David Rutten), Colibri’s Iterator component allows users to specify how many steps to take along each slider.  This is subtle, but important: it allows users to keep the size of their design space under control, and to specify granularity selectively along each input vector within the design space – all without editing the actual sliders in Grasshopper.

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Colibri Aggregator

While the Iterator is iterating away upstream, the Aggregator component collects all of the data that Design Explorer needs from your Grasshopper definition. It gathers the inputs from the Iterator, the outputs (performance metrics) from your grasshopper definition, and takes care of generating images, naming images and Spectacles files, and writing all of that data into a data.csv file.

Another application for the Aggregator is to record optimization runs with Galapagos or Octopus. By connecting the ‘Colibri Inputs’ component to the same sliders that Galapagos / Octopus is driving, the Aggregator is able to record every iteration during an optimization run.  This workflow allows designers to navigate within the focused design spaces that those algorithms produce using Design Explorer.  Instead of reinstating one iteration at a time in Grasshopper, groups of iterations that fit a set of specific performance criteria (something like ‘show me all iterations that are highly performant and that have a bay spacing greater than X and a floor height smaller than Y’, for example) can easily be identified using Design Explorer.

The YouTube video above demonstrates how to get started with Colibri, and you can download the plugin from Food4Rhino.  Please let us know what you think!  We sincerely hope you’ll enjoy working with Colibri and Design Explorer.

Written by: Benjamin Howes

61GtzG1Qm0LThe Designer’s Field Guide to Collaboration provides practitioners and students with the tools necessary to collaborate effectively with a wide variety of partners in an increasingly socially complex and technology-driven design environment. Beautifully illustrated with color images, the book draws on the expertise of top professionals in the allied fields of architecture, landscape architecture, engineering and construction management, and brings to bear research from diverse disciplines such as software development, organizational behavior, and outdoor leadership training. Chapters examine emerging and best practices for effective team building, structuring workflows, enhancing communication, managing conflict, and developing collective vision––all to ensure the highest standards of design excellence.

Case studies detail and reflect on the collaborative processes used to create award-winning projects by Studio Gang, Perkins+Will, Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects | Partners, Gensler, CDR Studio, Mahlum Architects, In.Site:Architecture, and Thornton Tomasetti’s CORE studio. The book also provides pragmatic ideas and formal exercises for brainstorming productively, evaluating ideas, communicating effectively, and offering feedback.

By emphasizing the productive influence and creative possibilities of collaboration within the changing landscape of architectural production, the book proposes how these practices can be taught in architecture school and expanded in practice. In a changing world that presents increasingly complex challenges, optimizing these collaborative skills will prove not only necessary, but crucial to the process of creating advanced architecture.

Endorsements
It takes collaboration to realize truly great projects. Caryn Brause’s new book is an insightful resource to assist architects in collaborating in innovative fashion to create excellent designs. Building on, and advancing the literature, Brause dissects the collaborative process, illuminates the key issues, and demonstrates brilliant and provocative possibilities when collaboration is orchestrated as she describes. The work is a genuine synthesis, and will be a contribution to both practice and academic realms. 
– Andrew Pressman, FAIA, Architect and author of Designing Relationships

Caryn Brause’s invaluable Designer’s Field Guide to Collaboration puts to rest the Fountainhead myth of the architect as solo genius, replacing him with the collaborative teams who really design today’s buildings. Her Field Guide describes the increasingly varied options for collaborating, and it offers sound advice on how to do it better. Brause couples the insights of leading researchers and writers with in-depth interviews and case studies. Her lessons for successful collaboration will help everyone from students to experienced practitioners.
– Jay Wickersham, FAIA, Esq., Associate Professor of Architecture in Practice, Harvard Graduate School of Design

Links for purchase
Routledge
Amazon

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Photos and Videos are available!

Missed our symposium or want to share talks with a friend or colleague? Videos of the presentations are now available online! You can find the playlist on our YouTube.

Photos from the Symposium and Happy Hour Reception are located here.

If you attended any of the events and captured interesting images, we want to see them! You can email them directly to Shannon.

 

Find out more…

To learn more about this past event, symposium speakers, and hackathon ideas, please visit the event page.

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In this third and final post in our series about Design Explorer, we focus on how the tool is currently being used in practice by architects, engineers, and designers. The discussions about design space navigation and the too many iterations problem are all well and good, but without some specific examples it’s all admittedly a bit abstract. This post will attempt to bring some specificity to the conversation by showing how some avant garde AEC technologists are using Design Explorer to navigate project specific design spaces.

Case #1 – Typical Block Massing

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Data set link

KPF Urban Interface was kind enough to share a portion of their Ideal Block: London design space with us for this post. KPF.UI created a parametric model that generated massing geometry for an idealized residential block in London, and analyzed the performance of the massing based on a number of metrics: available daylight, sky exposure, site coverage, floor area ratio, etc.

Case #2 – Balconies, Daylighting and Operational Energy

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Data set link

While still at the University of Pennsylvania’s Masters of Environmental Building Design program, Mingbo Peng (now a Project Consultant in the Sustainability Practice at Thornton Tomasetti) developed a design space exploring the relationships between balconies, daylighting, and operational energy for typical New Orleans apartments. More information on the study can be found here.

Case #3 – TT Embodied Carbon Database

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Data set link

Thornton Tomasetti’s corporate sustainability department has been compiling a database of our completed projects’ embodied carbon footprints over the past few years. The design space above is a small sample of that database that compares projects’ sizes and embodied carbon footprints. I think this one is particularly interesting since the data didn’t come from a parametric model. Design Explorer can be used to visualize a very wide variety of design spaces. It’s not just limited to parametric AEC models.

Case #4 – Roof Truss Topology and Sizing

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Data set link

CORE studio developed this example to demonstrate [to our Grasshopper-savvy structural engineering teams at Thornton Tomasetti] that Design Explorer can be used for structural work, too. Since most of the Design Explorer work we’ve shown to date has been related to environmental / sustainable design problems, there was a widespread misconception that it could only be used for those types of problems — not so!   This example explores how topology and member sizing relate to deflection, self weight, and structural utilization.

We chose to limit this post to these few case studies, but we wanted to show so many more … especially a product design example (something very small) and a purely numerical example (something without a body to show in 2D or 3D). If you’ve made it this far, the author will have to assume that you can use your imagination to conjure those last two. We sincerely hope you’ve enjoyed this series on Design Explorer, and that you’ll continue to use and fork the project in the months to come.

Happy exploring! Don’t get lost in all of those extra dimensions out there…

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Shot from Christopher Nolan’s Interstellar (Source)

Written by: Benjamin Howes