Monday, March 29, 2010

Mobius Stripping: Adventures in Infinity

I was at an art exhibit over the weekend and one of the artists was exploring the relationship between the finite and the infinite.

He postulated that the simplest finite expression we have is bianary language.  ON or OFF.  Yes or NO. 0 or 1.  And from those simple choices, stacked one on top of the next, we reach infinity.  Which got me thinking about computers and Revit.  I had never given much thought to the idea that everything we do on our computers boils down to a binary expression....and from those simple choices, stacked one on top of the next, we develop our work, our designs, our lives...out to infinity.  The concept stuck with me.

So in the spirit of the infinite, I wanted to look at how REVIT would deal with a MOBIUS STRIP....and thus far, I found that it deals with the form poorly.  But it did generate some of the wackiest errors I have seen so far while using the this one:

First I tried the easy way.  I swept a rectangle along a 180degree arc, rotated one end of the the form, and then made a mirror copy.

In essence it worked, but there were 2 problems. First, the ends of the form didn't blend very well, and Second, I was looking to make the impossible, a flat one sided object! I consider extruding a solid along a path, no matter how thin the solid, to be cheating.

My next attempt involved trying to stich some reference lines together.  I made a rig to 3d-Snap the curves to.  I was able to get 87.5% around the path like this:

But in the end, it didn't work either...I got a deformed clam shape that you'll see at the end of this movie:

My last attempt is as close as a i came to success.  First I made an arc surface family that i could also control the rotation angle of its ends.

Then i nested 8 of them together, worked out the connection angles and it worked pretty nicely.

The edges still don't blend perfectly but it got close enough to satisfy me...for now.

Hmmmm....Conquering the Infinite with Revit Architecture!!!!

Somebody call Carl, I smell a slogan for AU next year... 

3D Models to Share:

Mobius Strip Segmented.rfa
Mobius Strip from reference lines.rfa

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Of Venetian Blinds and Job Seeking

At the Huay Kwang Headquarters of the BIMTROUBLEMAKER GLOBAL MINISTRIES, the mailbox is always busting. We love mail about as much as we love late night bbq pork and papaya salad feasts.

The other day we received another cv by email, ”Hey troublemaker can you help me find a job….blah blah blah….” And these inquiries usually get ignored…But this one was a bit different.

2 things got my attention about this joker.

1)  His CV shows a good deal of construction and design side credibility, but on the list for his work experience, he mentions his time managing a TATTOO PARLOR/PIERCING STUDIO. This guy snowboards competitively AND can program in C+! To me, this sounds like a winning combination.

2)  He sends me a Revit file and says it’s a “showcase of his skills”. I was pretty sceptical about this, until I opened the file. Yowza! Checkout his list of parameters, he obviously knows his way around when it comes to programming families.

These are some .JPGs of the work and a link to download the model.

My current organization already has a resident Revit Smart-A$$ (aka: ME) but this guy looks interesting and capable and I would hire him I could.

So with that in mind, I am gonna give a plug to Egils Bernovskis. If your organization is looking for a Troublemaker, this guy might fit the bill. Drop me a line at and I will gladly make the connection.

Good luck with the job hunt Egils!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Curtain Panels: Curved Shading Elements

A lot of what I have learned about Revit has come from trying to recreate existing buildings in a parametric environment.  This is the Singapore Performing Arts Centre which was designed in the late 1990’s and opened in 2002.

What interests me are the shading elements on the glass since This building was done long before we had Revit’s curtain panel elements! I know it’s hard to believe there was architecture before Revit, but somehow, someone managed to do this…and I’ll bet they had a headache when they were finished!
I wanted to investigate how the curtain panel by pattern tool could help me approximate these shading elements…it was surprisingly easy.  First make the panel,
Then apply it to the surface,
Links to these models are at the end of this post. This movie shows me creating the panel and applying it to the curvy surface:

By paramerizing the hieght and angle of the shade, i can then study how much light is allowed to pass through, and adjust the design to optimize shading based upon orientation.

Links to these models: