Space Planning with Realtime Physics
NBBJ research project
2010-2011 (9 months)
one-man production machine
Rhino, Grasshopper, Excel
This reinterpretation of the traditional bubble diagram allows designers to rapidly conceptualize complex architectural programs in 3d space using simulated gravitational forces.
The user defines adjacency requirements in a GUI, and masses representing the required floor area are connected by springs that simulate gravitational pull. The simulation resolves adjacencies in real time and offers a number of manipulation and output options, including properly sized program footprint curves in 3d space. The resultant diagram becomes the basis for a parametric massing tool for further refinement with real-time feedback.
I built the prototype and demo video for this system in three days -- it had an immediate impact within the firm and created a substantial amount of buzz. The video was played in studio and firm meetings in our offices worldwide. Word reached the managing partnership quickly, and as a result of this and other parametric design work over the next year, I was moved into a position to lead the design computation initiative at the firm.