Programming and scripting can be used to activate a 3D parametric model to create a more intelligent and flexible building information model. There has been a trend in the building industry towards the use of visual scripting that allow users to create customized, flexible, and powerful programs without having to first learn how to write traditional code. Using visual scripting, users graphically interact with program elements instead of typing lines of text-based code. Nodes are created and virtually wired together; they can be numbers, sliders for adjusting values, operators and functions, list manipulation tools, graphic creators, and other types. Text based coding programs such as Python can also be used for the creation of custom nodes when greater flexibility is desired.

Examples from professional firms include scripts that help automate work in the office to increase efficiency and accuracy (e.g. create escape routes, renumber rooms by levels, create documentation), assist in form generation (e.g. parametric design of metal panels, rebar generation, coordination between Revit and Rhino), analyze BIM files (e.g. terminal airflow, visual loads and capacity), and provide analysis results (e.g. daylighting, thermal comfort, window optimization).

One can learn the basic steps of learning a visual programming language through the use of Dynamo within Autodesk Revit. The example used is for a façade component that changes based on the sun's altitude.

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Author notes

1. University of Southern California School of Architecture, Watt Hall #204, Los Angeles, CA 90089-029, [email protected]