Product design and architecture share many similarities in terms of their approach to design. Both require careful consideration of form, function, materials, and user experience, using creative and iterative design processes to balance and complement these factors. Product design and architecture also often use computer-aided design (CAD) software to help visualize, model and refine designs.
Without a doubt, CAD has revolutionized every industry it has entered, including the architecture industry. It has allowed architects to easily create and modify 3D models, dramatically increasing the speed and accuracy of the design process. And parametric modelling, a subset of CAD, offers even more benefits to the architecture industry. It also has some limitations, mainly a steep learning curve, but its possibilities and benefits are practically endless.
But first, what exactly are CAD and parametric modelling, and how are they related to architecture?
Parametric modelling is an approach to CAD in which the user designs an object within self-imposed constraints and parameters that correspond to the real-life object. In essence, parametric modelling allows users to generate designs based on mathematical equations and to automate repetitive changes, saving them lots of time and effort.
When it comes to architecture, parametric modelling allows architects to solve intricate geometrics of various designs and to quickly explore different design options. Because it’s much faster than traditional methods, parametric modelling is slowly but surely becoming one of the most sought-after digital tools for architects.
Product design is a process in which any designer or manufacturer – including architects – engages before creating the final product. Because CAD (which includes parametric design) offers solutions that help make this process much easier and faster, it goes hand in hand with product design.
Using CAD software, and in particular parametric design, architects can design more complex buildings more easily. The parametric design greatly impacts not only the design itself but the workflow, too. A single change to a parameter can generate dozens of new design iterations, and best of all, any revision gets updated on associated parts and assemblies.
Take product design with Creo Parametric, an internationally renowned CAD software, as an example. With powerful, high-end technologies and features, this tool provides a broad range of flexible 3D capabilities. It helps manufacturers and architects design 3D objects and parts with precise geometry, regardless of their complexity. Creo has technical surfacing with specialized features, such as scaling, stretching, sweeping, revolving, etc., to allow architects to define complex forms and change surface shapes.
Revit, a software solution for Building Information Modelling (BIM), is another tool architects commonly use. Similar to Creo, it supports the entire project design and all documentation needs. It also allows for easy collaboration between architects and other members of the design team.
It’s important to note here that while the parametric design allows architects to design more organic and complex buildings with less time and effort than traditional methods, creating a parametric model does take lots of time and expertise. Still, the investment is pretty much guaranteed to return tenfold later and save you cost and time.
To sum up, here are some of the benefits that parametric modelling offers to architects.
Parametric modelling allows architects to quickly iterate on design ideas and explore a wide variety of design options. As a result, architects are able to complete projects much faster and with more accuracy.
As parametric modelling is based on mathematical equations, there’s less risk of human error. This way, architects can create much more precise and accurate designs.
Parametric modelling lets architects explore a broader range of design options than traditional methods and create more complex geometries. This can lead to more innovative and creative designs.
Finally, parametric modelling allows architects to share and collaborate on designs more easily. This can lead to better communication and more effective teamwork.
In conclusion, using CAD and parametric modelling has dramatically transformed the architecture industry, making it more efficient, accurate, and creative.