Thursday, December 22, 2011

the most wonderful time of the year

Off to Phuket for Christmas and New Years.  In the area?  Hollar at

Best in 2012!

 Tropical Christmas Tree

 New Years Eve Candle Lighting and Make a Wish


Sunday, December 18, 2011

Parametric Ellipsoid

I recently received a model in 3d max from some hotshot kid who took some spheres and squeezed and stretched them and placed glass panels between them because he thought it would be cool. and now i have to rationalize this form in revit. What a Conceptual M-asshole!

If you have ever tried to stitch 3 ellipses together on the X, Y & Z planes, you'll be familiar with this error:

then i remembered this post on Builz about creating pebbles...and then i thought about adaptive components and hosting points on intersections...and the bulb lit up. Awesome, here we go.

First setup my driving ellipses

Then i added a bunch of reference planes, and inserted reference points hosted at the intersections:

I created an adaptive ellipse family, where the ellipse dimensions are controlled by placement point distance from the origin. The actual ellipse model line is in a nested family to prevent the universe from collapsing in on itself:

I inserted one of these families on every reference plane, and linked the placement points to the earlier created reference points (you can see the glowing blue nodes). Tedious but I was starting to feel really good now.

After I selected the nested model lines and hit the CREATE FORM button, voila! Parameter Driven Ellipsoid!

Company property so no download.....but i am sure if you are reading this blog, you can figure out how to get it sorted.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Platonic Balls

I keep myself pretty anonymous online.  Its deliberate really.
And then i go to AU, and write my secret identity on my name tag so i can meet people easier. (I am shy!)
A side effect is that when people learn about my alter-ego, many start telling me about all the trouble they are making with parametric families.
One fellow, Mr. Kelvin Tam of NBBJ, was ecstatic to meet me because he had been working on a parametric soccer ball and somehow knew that i would appreciate it.

Well actually Kelvin, I am an NFL guy and I HATE soccer...but i do appreciate monkey business on this scale!

His email started with this explanation of  Platonic Solids

Which is a discussion that wnet completely over my head.

Then i got into the meat of the matter.  Picked one of the patches and opened it up
Ok.  Looks like a disc thats cut by some voids.
But when you look at the dimensioning that going on, thats where i was impressed...because it had to be programmed so that not all sides were equal.  I especially like the dimension that controls the radius of the sphere that trails off into space.
Here is the parameters for this patch:

Pretty straight-forward.  Then i took a look at the faces all these families are hosted on.  Whoa! Whoa! Whoa! Whoa! Stop The Clock!

And then the parameter stack that is controlling this mess in the host family:
Anyone who ends a formula with 4 closed parenthesis is okay by me.  Kelvin, I have no idea how you did all this, but i am very sure you care alot.  I salute your passion!

You can find the family for download here:

Soccer Ball.rfa
(I replaced original file with a ZIP file so it should work now)

Friday, December 2, 2011

How to Get Ahead in Architecture

#AU2011 is done.  Another year in the can.  Lots of good stuff.  And a bloody nose from the dry air.

This is the first time i have had the chance to sit in a talk by Phil Read.  It wasn't about wacky crap you can do with Revit families but about something MUCH more important.  He spoke about how architectural education virtually cripples us right out of the gate and potentially dooms us to a life of being undervalued wage slaves.

If you are a high school or college student contemplating getting into architecture, this lecture addresses some ways to make the best out of what is a potentially dubious decision.  Its worth reading.

Really worth it if you aspire to ever get out from under the thumb of "The Man"

Download the materials here:

As an interesting aside, here are Phil Bernstein's thoughts on graduating from architecture school into the current market.  Some similar ideas and themes....

See y'all next year.