Friday, March 1, 2013

OpenBIM/Geometry Gym event at Arup in Melbourne

A snapshot of Jon's Rhino/Grasshopper to Revit conversion
buildingSmart Australia recently hosted Jon Mirtschin from Geometry Gym at Arup in Melbourne. Jon was part of an exquisite line-up of industry experts who discussed current developments in moving between parametric exploration, engineering optimisation and documentation in BIM. Find a summary in this blog entry.

It was refreshing to see how the presentations span a broad range of Design Technology related matters, highlighting the level of conversion that is currently emerging between tools for design exploration and delivery.

Members of the Cox/Arup team working on the Adelaide Oval redevelopment kicked off the night with great insights about the sharing of parametric models for co-rationalising design, structural optimisation and fabrication. I was able to draw from my own experience working with Arup on the optimisation of a comparable steel roof-structure for the AAMI Park Stadium in Melbourne (also by Cox). Back then, strong reservations prevailed on interactively sharing the roof geometry between the architects and engineers.The account of the Adelaide Oval team illustrated how these concerns are being replaced by an open dialogue where all parties work jointly on fine-tuning geometry to optimise performance and buildability.
Jon Mirtschin at the OpenBIM presentation
After an introduction by Matt Rumbelow with a short history about IFC,Geometry Gym’s Jon Mirtchin introduced the mixed audience of architects and engineers to his approach for bridging the gap between intuition and precision via his custom tools that export design data from a Rhino/Grasshopper based tool environment into more BIM focused applications such as Revit or ArchitCAD. Jon highlighted the advantages of IFC4 in handling NURBS based geometry and he gave a live demonstration of the schemers he wrote for translating parametrically created free form geometry into the more controlled Revit environment.

Countless opportunities for design and delivery seem to emerge from these promising steps to bridge between design exploration, analysis and documentation.  It appears that Grasshopper’s parametric capabilities are used ever more frequently by architects and links to engineering analysis add-ins (like Kangaroo, Salamander, Gecko or Karamba) become ever more approachable by engineers. 

Jon’s contribution to the field is substantial and unique, possibly on par with similar work undertaken by Nathan Miller from CASE in the US. We are going through truly exciting times and it is worth while to closely monitor the developments coming from Jon and his peers in this area over the coming months.

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