We have all at some point used a spreadsheet to solve a specific mathematical problem. Starting with intentionally chosen values, and under certain rules that we have imposed on the system when setting it up, we are able to instantly obtain very complex results, which also, can be immediately recalculated by simply tweaking the original parameters.
But, what if we could mimic this process with geometry?
The ground of parametric design is the generation of geometry from the definition of a family of initial parameters and the design of the formal relations they keep with each other. It is about the use of variables and algorithms to generate a hierarchy of mathematical and geometric relations that allow you to generate a certain design, but to explore the whole range of possible solutions that the variability of the initial parameters may allow.
The benefits of this process are immediate. It is a huge leap in the quality of our process, since we are not bound by our tools anymore; now it will be us who design our own tools. On the other hand, parametric design is fundamental when minimizing the effort needed to create and test design variants. Generating an automated process eliminates tedious repetitive tasks, the need for complicated calculations on the fly, the possibility of human error, and generates huge shifts in the outcomes with slight variations of the original parameters. It is the difference between using the ‘Cube’ command one thousand times, entering center point and dimensions, or customizing the design of a ‘Group of Variable Height Cubes’ command out of our own predefined variability rules.
And last, but not least, we are compensated in the effort of adding this layer of intelligence to our design with the reward of exploring the possibilities our parameters can bring us, and the possible surprise in the discovery of unimagined outcomes generated by our creation.
Parametric thinking introduces the shift in the mindset between the search for an specific static and defined formal solution, and the design of the specific stages and factors used to achieve it. It is the use of algorithms and advanced computational techniques not for the sake of drawing shapes, but creating formal possibilities. It is not about producing a solution, but the family of possible outcomes. It is the shift from using CAD software as a representation tool, to do it as a design tool. It is, altogether, the new paradigm.
If you are ready to stop being a mere AutoCAD user, and start designing your own game rules, in ParametricCamp we have a lot to offer.