Video: Computational Design at Scale

The recording of the lecture ‘Digital Transformation: Computational Design at Scale’ which I gave recently at the IStructE in London has now been posted to the institution’s YouTube channel:

The lecture starts with a basic summary of the core principles and philosophy of Computational Design and builds up through project examples to show how these techniques can be scaled to different types and sizes of projects (including a sneak-peak of our SiteSolve design platform).  It ends with a set of practical tips and ‘first steps’ to help you to upskill and integrate these technologies into your design practice.

Unfortunately (though understandably) this recording does not include the Q&A session after the lecture, which is a shame as there were many interesting questions (and a few challenges) and the discussion touched on a variety of areas including the computational skills ‘generation gap’, the role of institutions, the application of artificial intelligence and the commercialisation of software.

A lot of these are things that I frequently get asked about but which are not discussed much in the literature, so I’m going to take this as an excuse to, over the next few posts on this blog, pick out some of these questions and write up my thoughts on them.  Check back over the next couple of weeks as these go live.

Christmas Tensegritree

For our office Christmas tree this year we decided to do something a bit different and build our own.  We also needed a new centrepiece for our London reception area after the Leadership Bridge moved to our new Birmingham offices.  The design team behind that earlier project was reconvened to tackle this new challenge and once again RCD took responsibility for the geometric design.

We decided to take the opportunity to combine two of our favourite structural forms; tensegrity and hyperboloids. Continue reading “Christmas Tensegritree”

A beginner’s guide to visual scripting with Grasshopper

In this tutorial, I will provide a very simple demonstration of the use of Grasshopper, a visual scripting environment embedded into the 3D modelling package Rhinoceros and a very useful computational design tool.  This example is intended to give a brief overview of how the software works to people with no prior exposure to it and explain the core theoretical principles.  Some basic prior knowledge of Rhino itself is assumed, however (i.e. you need to at least be familiar with the general interface – this video will cover most of what you need).

The example should take under 30 minutes to run through but will teach you everything you need to know in order to start using the software by yourself.  Each step is accompanied by an animation showing exactly what you need to do. Continue reading “A beginner’s guide to visual scripting with Grasshopper”

Ramboll Leadership Conference 2017 Bridge

For the 2017 Ramboll Leadership Conference in Copenhagen, which took place on the 22nd and 23rd of January, RCD was involved in a collaboration between the Transport and Buildings departments to design and construct a ‘bridge’ installation between their respective stands.  We had a little over a month to develop and manufacture the design so timescales were tight and we had several key criteria to consider – the bridge was to support a model train running between the two stands (in reference to the Holmestrand Mountain Station project), it needed to be light and easily demountable enough for us to carry from London to Copenhagen, build in an afternoon, break down in an hour and then return back to London (for later re-assembly in our home office).  We also wanted it to form an interactive part of the conference rather than merely being a static display piece.

We approached the project the same way we would any other – pulling together a team with relevant expertise, brainstorming ideas, analysing and developing them.  For the interactive element, we realised that business cards made an ideal impromptu craft material and were one of the few things we could rely on most of the attendees to be bringing with them.  The decision was thus made to allow people at the conference to leave their business card, folded into a specific 3D form, as part of the bridge’s cladding. Continue reading “Ramboll Leadership Conference 2017 Bridge”

Parametric Engineering Course at Imperial College London

From January 2017, Imperial College London will be running an evening course on Parametric Engineering, co-taught by RCD lead Paul Jeffries.  The course will cover the application of Rhino and Grasshopper for computational design within an engineering context and is open to anybody in full time education or academic employment.  To apply contact Simply Rhino.