9 Steps to Design a Parametric Building

Parametric is certainly the next big thing in architecture. But how many of us understand it and can design parametric buildings? Our guess is that not too many of us. The biggest architects and architectural firms have already taken a lead on this and have started designing the world’s first parametric buildings. These projects are having a trickle-down effect. Many clients are starting to demand that their dream projects are built with this new technology and the new way to design.

So if you want be riding this curve of growth that parametric design is bringing into the world of architecture, let’s start learning more about it. We have covered this in a detailed article. Please click on the link below to know more.

Parametric Design is Changing Architecture. Read How?

While the last article introduced parametric design to you, this article will be on the practical side of things. In this article, we answer the basic question of how to design a parametric building in a step by step guide. The following are the steps to design a parametric building.

Steps to Design a Parametric Building

We show you how a parametric building is designed and executed via an example. We take the famous Heyder Aliyev Center in Baku designed by the famous and widely renowned architect Zaha Hadid as the example. From concept till projects handover, we go over the 9 steps required to design a parametric building.



The first step of developing a Parametric Design is as in any project to start of with developing a conceptual sketch. The sketch above represents the conceptual sketch as drawn by Zaha Hadid for Heyder Aliyev Center, Baku.



The Second step of developing a parametric design is to create a rudimentary model along the lines of the concept. The model is generally generated by software such as Catia, Revit, Rhino, and Grasshopper. Softwares such as SketchUp can also be used, however, most architects who specialize in parametric use Rhino and Grasshopper. It is the industry standard.



The third step is to develop a detailed model of the built form along with other details such as planning on a 2d level, structural details and so on and henceforth. This model serves as the base step for the fourth step, which is creating a Bill of quantity for execution and manufacturing purposes.



The fourth step is to analyze and estimate the structural requirements and materials (BOQ) to be used in the construction process. This step is integral to the process as the manufacturing and CNC company rely on these estimates and projections for processing and costing as well.

Step 5: HTL FILE


The BOQ along with the Catia/Revit/Rhino/Grasshopper file is then sent out to be converted into an HTL file for the CNC (Computer Numerical Control)  machine. This step requires the CNC company/architectural firm to convert the file from an ordinary software file to an HTL one that the CNC system can process it.



The next step is to then send it out to the manufacturing company/CNC company for manufacturing the different elements of the building (glass, stone, steel etc.). For bigger projects, separate molds/dies are manufactured for casting/setting procedures. Creating separate molds and dies is entirely an economic decision dependent upon the scale of the project.



Once the manufacturing of elements is done, the basic elements (RCC structure and the steel frame(transported)) are constructed to finish the basic structural framework stage of the project.

Step 8: CLADDING, HVAC,  etc.


In the next step, the cladding work is done along with HVAC work, painting, fitting fixtures, flooring, acoustics etc. to get to project completion. This part of the project is similar as compared to any other architectural project.



Final touches in the form of lighting, furnishing, landscaping etc. are done to arrive at the final built form.

We hope that this article gave you a macro view of the how a parametric building is designed.

Stay Tuned for more on Parametric Design!