Create an Organic Roof Structure using Parametric Design

Create an Organic Roof Structure using Parametric Design
 

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In this course, we’re going to model an organic roof structure to a schematic design level and for our reference project we’re going to use the Centre Pompidou in Metz from Shigeru Ban architects. We’ll use some interesting parametric design tools to tackle various aspects in modeling the roof structure more fast and accurate. We choose this project as a reference because this project manages to combine very simple geometric shapes with a complex organic roof in an elegant way. The course has a nice mix of explicit modeling and parametric modeling to get the desired result of the roof structure.

 Centre Pompidou – Metz, Exterior

Centre Pompidou – Metz, Exterior

We’ll start by generating the pattern for the roof structure and we’ll use Grasshopper to accomplish this. We could draw the structure manually, using the floorplans, but by using Grasshopper you’ll see how this pattern gets generated from a hexagonal grid using a reciprocal logic. You’ll also see why parametric modeling tools are very powerful in generating seemingly complex patterns in a simple comprehensible way and most important of all, having complete control over every aspect of the pattern, its size, its spacing and its shape. In the end, you’ll be able to change patterns with the help of one slider and you’ll be amazed of the smart logic behind generating this pattern.

 Structural Pattern

Structural Pattern

After we’ve generated the pattern using Grasshopper, we’ll start modeling the roof shape using T-splines, a subD modeler plugin for Rhino. By using T-splines we can quickly model a coarse mesh shape using a minimal amount of faces and vertices. We’ll model the roof flat on the construction plane first, before moving the vertices to the right height. This approach allows us to focus on the topology of the roof first, before molding it to the right shape.

To model the roof shape even more accurate, we’re going to use Grasshopper again and this time we’ll use a plugin for Grasshopper called the Kangaroo physics engine. We’re going to use Kangaroo to relax our mesh to a more natural shape.

 Workflow

Workflow

When we’ve got our final roof shape, we’re going to project our pattern we’ve generated earlier to it. We’ll use Grasshopper again to generate the wooden beams that are weaved together in a very cool and interesting way.

 

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