Architecture Parametric Coding Uncategorized

Structural Efficiency with Grasshopper and Galapagos

One of my latest obsessions has been tinkering with Rhinoceros and Grasshopper – whilst I still have my 90 day trial of the software, i’ve been trying to teach myself as much as possible about the benefits of coding in design/architecture. The blog ‘I Eat Bugs For Breakfast‘ by David Rutten has been invaluable in explaining many of the subtleties of the software.

I had originally heard about Grasshopper and parametric design in an interview with Bjarke Ingels of BIG architects ( where they stated that the connection with coded elements was crucial to their design strategies, allowing them to quickly iterate through options and form amazing computer generated landscapes.

The software also happens to work really well with ARCHICAD – the BIM software that the practice I work at has invested in, so it seems like a good match.

I created a little video that walks through one use-case I’ve found for the software, in helping to advise/evolve a solution to calculating efficient timber spans for floors (not very exotic, I know – but handy nonetheless), for giving a good estimate on structural depths whilst minimising the amount of timber required for the build.

Disclaimer: as architects we never advise on actual structural elements, and cannot guarantee any safety – that’s what structural engineers are brought on board for – but in any case, it’s always nice to get an idea of the structural zone the building will require…

Please see the video below:

See the grasshopper script here:


Grasshopper complete script – click to maximise screenshot

So all in all, a very fun and interesting project, definitely with some scope for development as well as fine tuning — I’m also quite sure that there has to be an easier way of performing a few of the procedures, but for the time being I am  really enjoying the process! If you’ve got any questions or comments on the script, let me know in the comments.

My previous Grasshopper script was a push-pull brick facade generator (very pretty), which I hope to also do a video about as well, so stay tuned for that!





3 replies on “Structural Efficiency with Grasshopper and Galapagos”

Gosh Jamie, (if I may call you by your first name) this is truly astounding stuff.
I had seen some shapes generated by AI to make construction use as little material as possible and, as a consequence, as efficient as possible. Being a general member of the public, I use AI with a fool’s confidence.

I looked you up to see what you were doing before asking my question / request.
I am studying AutoCad which I want to be a career. Latterly as I am 65. I want to make it talk to excel to generate a useable schedule of works which the builder can easily generate his price. I noticed you had published dynamic windows. I have made dynamic windows, doors and other stuff.
My need is to be able to add a look up to an attribute. E.G. switch: type and be able to have a drop down for type rather than type it in. If they are typed in there will be variations. Can you help?

Having listened to the above video I seriously appreciate this is an interest you may have had as a student – long passed. But i might be lucky and you had resolved it. Ha.

All the best

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