Design Theory: The Power of Parametric Design – Rigby & Rigby

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Design Theory: The Power of Parametric Design

The infinite possibilities of Parametric Design within architecture are fundamental to allow architects and designers to create generative designs with increasing complexity. Using a plug-in for designing these organic, complex models the architecture team create designs by placing visual coding elements and connecting them to input/output wires which form the parametric sliders resulting in a set of parameters. The parametrics are controlled as the design evolves over time.

Like DNA, each script is unique and tailored to a specific project. Not only does it have the power in terms of design but allows an intelligent interaction between engineering and architecture.

For Project OSL 195, we have employed parametrics for several architectural elements. To bring movement and life into the office space the ceiling will be a sculpture mimicking the undulation of the water outside. Using the ceiling as a sculptural plane will allow areas to be highlighted for their importance. The varying ceiling heights will create different degrees of intimacy within the overall space offering variety in both work and meeting environments. The overall fluidity of the ceiling will draw the eye through the space and provide an added element of drama creating a unique working environment that speaks of its location.

The four structural columns contained internally within the office are embedded within the project’s design narrative. The four pillars form the foundation of the ripples for the ceiling. These columns act as node points where the ceiling ripple emanates from and interacts with other ripples, like you see in water. A parametric script was developed on Grasshopper with a rule based on this principle. A ripple-based surface was modelled based on a series of variables. Each ripple is manipulated by a mathematical graph which translates this onto the original surface and points. Through careful manipulation of these points, the ceiling was raised and lowered based on need for ceiling height. Once the ripple surface was finalised the slats were parametrically modelling onto this surface.

This powerful software also formed the basic rules to help create the complex staircase design. The soffit form of the staircase is based on a point grid where a profile curve is modelled parametrically for each soffit element. The height of this staircase starts at 900mm and rises to 1,100mm adding an air of drama as well as elegance to the whole entrance space.

In applying this forward-thinking design tool to the forefront of our design process, Rigby & Rigby are pushing the boundaries of engineering, architecture and design. Parametrics is a process we wish to integrate into future projects to create stunning proposals which are unique, innovative and exquisite.

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