BIM Computational BIM Dynamo


I am starting to write again with sharing my thesis on Dynamo.

You can read the english summary below; Unfortunately the thesis is in Turkish.



Kaan Karabay


With the widespread of the personal computers, as in every industry, it began to be developed and used the applications for architecture. This process inevitably began to affect the competences that architects must acquire.

Several competencies to be acquired are mentioned in the article “The 21st-Century Skill Set for Architects” of “The Journal of The American Institute of Architects”. While the core competencies—design, planning, drafting, rendering, and BIM— remain invaluable, the skills like coding, automation, data mining, building science can give designers an edge.

In this thesis, these new opportunities will be examined with the graphic programming language added over BIM. The open sourced Dynamo selected as the practice environment. The new system formed by Revit and Dynamo started to be called Computational BIM. Dynamo is the only environment capable such exemplifications can be made. With the design model, Computational BIM containing and working process will be explained.

In the practice of architecture, while the use of computers reaches to the perspective above, several paradigms shifts experienced. The use of the computers started with the “Computer Aided Design” applications. These applications were the simulation of the traditional drawing methods and they were helping to relieve the manpower. These applications followed by two paradigm shift, one was building information modelling and second was computational design and they are far advanced in parallel. Even if they belong to different environments, continued to be used together in the project process. Some plugins used for communicating “Computational Design Software” (“Grasshopper”) with BIM (“Revit”). These applications limited to copying only the geometry and they can’t reach to the BIM part of the environment. None of the BIM applications has a visual programming part which manage the information database. But with the Dynamo and Revit integration, these two different environments started to be used in the same platform. This integrated platform used as a “Computational Design” software at the beginning of the project workflow, and as a BIM automation at the onward steps of the workflow. Dynamo is used on the all stages of the design. This new situation surpasses to be an only parallel utilization, and started a new paradigm shift. This new paradigm shift called Computational BIM and contains both advantages of these two environments and suppress as an automation and BIM controlling platform. With Computational BIM we can manage the whole design processes without any platform shifting.

The design model show us that this environment, which can produce computational tools with a wide range of fields from pre design to detail, also removes problems such as data loss or information sharing in different processes at the same time. At the predesign stages of project Dynamo is used as a Computational design tool and the shape trials made with prepared algorithms. Following the shape decision, same environment used for façade preparation and using Dynamo’s Revit tools, the adaptive components located on the BIM model. On the façade’s base surfaces generated the solar analysis. With the solution of the analysis, the sun shades located on the BIM model. This was the start of the using a GPL as a BIM manager tool. With the prepared algorithm, the rooms are renumbered automatically only using a reference curve. Next example was the using Dynamo for exceed the limitations of the Revit. With Revit standard tools, we cannot collect corner points directly, thy should tagged one by one. But with the prepared algorithm we can write the corner point coordination directly on to the parameters of the elements.

The main benefit is, using the same environment for various parts of the design, remove the loss of data while exporting the project to the other environments. During the project process, Dynamo environment shifted form the computational design tool to the computational BIM tool. BIM objects and database managed using same algorithms. Automation tools created using Dynamo and exceeded the limitations of the Revit. With the use of GPD, we can reach the limits of the “Application Programming Interface (API)” of the revit with ease. This is a kind of democratisation of the methods.

Because of this research, its revealed that the dynamo environment has a wider structure which leads to a new paradigm shift in the field of use, even though the lack of extension support. Several plugins ported from Grasshopper to but its lacks a plugin like Kangaroo which simulate physics but the support evolves day by day. During this thesis several plugins added to the environment. As an example “DynaShape” package which can simulate physics on surface added to the package manager. External applications like fractal expand the capacities of the environment, and Autodesk add a plugin called “DynamoPlayer” to the Revit. With this plugin, you can run Dynamo algorithms with one click, without opening the Dynamo program window. This plugin facilitate the use of these algorithm in a large group of designers, and reduce of the requirement of the knowledge.

Another advantage is the integrated package manager. With this manager users can share their own nodes with others. These packages are very useful for beginners and for advanced users. The packages like NSGA-II solver, space planner, solar analyzer can be downloaded from this manager. During the thesis a package called “ParametricAlly” added to the package manager. This package includes some nodes prepared during the processes.

DesignScript as an advanced language created from Autodesk integrated directly Dynamo, the codes can be executed directly from “code blocks” and this language is educative through “node to code” ability. DesignScript is an associative and imperative language at the same time. You can prepare seperated nodes includes functions and call these functions anywhere in the algorithm.

With all the advantages and disadvantages, Dynamo integrated Revit environment offers a new paradigm shift as the” Computational BIM”. The algorithms are used to execute commands over geometry and BIM database, and creating logical and mathematical operations. Thanks to these logical operations, you can reduce the work force needed for the repetitive tasks, and use it for the more significant works.

During this thesis, the concept of algorithm-aided design is used to describe the methods in the computer environment. The concept of “computational” has been used instead of “algorithm-aided” because of the shift in knowledge-based system in the progress of the subject. In referring to the tools described under the heading of the retrospective view, the reason for the use of the concept of “algorithm-aided” is the reference to before the shifting of “knowledge based systems. Two different concepts have been used in this regard, paying attention to this separation.

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