This article was republished with permission from the author, Kirill Pernatkin, and reflects his professional experience and perspective. First published as a blog.
We were commissioned to design a residential estate project, which raised a question about the design of the façade system. The design envisioned a classic hinged ventilated façade with a Ronson subsystem and clinker bricks. Incidentally, we had recently encountered this type of surface on one of the mansions we worked on in the Moscow Region, and everybody was very much pleased with the results. However, in this case it was a 25-story building and to raise the scaffolding to such a height would have been a difficult job. Therefore, we thought that it would be better to use modular façade technology from a company called Genesis.
This technology allowed us to lift the panels with cranes to the right position without the need for high scaffolding.
The design process for such a panel façade system involves many automatic and repetitive actions that can be computerized, and it makes sense to use parametric design tools for these tasks.
The first idea that came to my mind was to write an algorithm, which divides the surface of the façade into separate sections with repetitive modules, to understand the periodicity of the elements and their technical specification. Then I could make another algorithm, which includes the previously clarified specification of the panels to be able to model their structure.
The first – module division – part of the algorithm was solved in Grasshopper (though we suspected that we probably would not use it), but we were not sure how to deal with the second part, the construction of the façade panels. I started to work on this problem in Grasshopper as well, but in parallel, I decided to try writing an ARCHICAD library element in GDL.
“I decided to try writing an ARCHICAD library element in GDL. It turned out that the latter was much faster and could be applied to the ARCHICAD tools in a more convenient way.” Kirill Pernatkin, Managing Architect, Dutch Architectural Studio
“In case of more complex elements, it is easier to work with GDL, while all basic elements of ARCHICAD are easier to handle with Grasshopper.” Kirill Pernatkin, Managing Architect, Dutch Architectural Studio
I am sure that we are far from being experts in Grasshopper and GDL, but through this project we came to a conclusion: in case of more complex elements, it is easier to work with GDL, while all basic elements of ARCHICAD are easier to handle with Grasshopper.