Thursday, March 8, 2018

Environmental Design and Sustainable Analysis in Rhino/Grasshopper

The Potential of Sustainability Analysis in a Parametric Workflow

Par Bratt is an architectural designer at COOKFOX Architects in New York City. COOKFOX is an award-winning firm with a long history of sustainable design. It is the first architectural firm to have designed four LEED Platinum projects in New York City.

The rapidly increasing need for environmentally responsible design calls for a workflow where sustainable analysis is implemented as early as possible in the design process. Par Bratt shares his thoughts and insights regarding the importance of implementing sustainability analysis in the early stages of architectural design and making it a part of the same parametric environment where design takes place:

“A key to this design methodology is making the analysis software’s graphical interface intuitive and easy to use even for architects who aren’t specialized in the field. Grasshopper allows those with minimal or no coding experience to operate within a creative parametric environment. The relatively recent incorporation of analysis software such as LadybugPlus and Calibri into Grasshopper was an important step in the right direction. It facilitates a workflow where environmental facts and data can inform the architectural design from the very beginning and allow for environmentally responsible decisions to be made proactively rather than retroactively.”

For a recent COOKFOX project, Par implemented a workflow where a parametrically setup daylight analysis in DIVA for Grasshopper informed and evaluated the size and proportions of an atrium in a multistory building.

“Daylight optimization is often a balance between blocking out direct sunlight to reduce glare and visual discomfort while allowing enough daylight to propagate throughout the floor plan. Having a fast and continuous visual feedback showing the consequences of every single design iteration is what allows for total control of those tradeoffs.”

“Performance analytics software such as DIVA and LadybugPlus are essential tools to develop environmentally responsible design,” Par says. “Both of these tools can be used as plugins for Grasshopper.”

As more architecture firms move into the world of parametric design, it becomes increasingly important to include the analysis tools that go with the design and modeling tools within that same parametric environment.

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