Message - RE: What is a Parametric Design?

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Posted by  Gary R on February 05, 2003 at 14:29:33:

I'm responding to this here, as there is no way to respond to it in its original location on this forum, and I'd rather not post it where no one will find it.

I recently came across the term parametric design - appertaining to the the design of buildings using computer software.
Can anyone provide me with some information on this field of design please."

Parametric design is the latest development in CAD software, and refers to the inclusion of parametric data embedded within 3D objects (i.e., all the parameters, such a s height, depth, thicknesses, weight, and even attributes such as model numbers and materials).

This type of software (examples: SoftPlan, Chief Architect, Autodesk's Revit, etc.) uses a revolutionary user interface in which the designer, instead of drawing lines, arcs, etc., as in "traditional" CAD software, inserts pre-drawn components, such as doors, windows, walls, etc. to first construct a 3D model instead of a 2D drawing. In some software in this category, the opposite is done: a 2D floor plan is drawn, and the 2D elevations, sections, details, schedules, and 3D model and rendering are all automatically generated from the floor plan as it is created, in real time. It can be done either direction in some other programs.

The objective of such technology is to reduce drafting time caused by having to make multiple corrections and additions to multiple drawing files, which is common in regular CAD software, such as Autocad. The resultant time savings translates to a greatly reduced design cost, as well as a greatly increased profit margin, at least in theory. There are some serious bugs and limitations to fix, yet, though. Standardization is one of the biggest problems facing parametrics. How do you get all the manufacturers of building materials and components to adapt the technology and provide "intelligent" models of their products, let alone their entire product range, and what standard should apply when there are no two parametric modelers that work exactly alike? It will be some time before all this gets worked out, if it ever does. Meanwhile, there are designers using this technology already, and with some success.


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