Parametric Design and Information Models

This lecture course consists of two related modules that should normally be taken together (see note below). The first module explores the design development process as it occurs within advanced digital environments, e.g., Catia, that are based on associative geometry principles and which support parametric modeling. These environments are used in architecture, but also many other design and production industries (e.g., automotive, aerospace). The first module will emphasize parametric modeling and examine the general utilization of different digital environments in the design development process via a number of diverse case-studies where digital parametrically-based design tools have been extensively used. Characteristics of Catia and similar solid and surface modeling systems that can be used to develop highly complex models that have dimensionally-driven parameters will be extensively explored. Via the use of hierarchical organizations of parent-child relationships, design changes and parametric variations can be made at will and propagated through a whole system. Design histories can be retained. These environments also support modeling based on specified local constraints, feature-based design approaches, and applications necessary in project design development and implementation phases (e.g., structural analysis, design in materials such as sheet metal, and mold design for casting operations). Particularly important are assembly-modeling capabilities, including interference checking, for creating complex systems of inter-related parts. Emphasis will be on Catia, but other parametric modeling packages will be briefly reviewed as well (Solidworks, Unisys, Generative Components) . Specific design development tools, such as those used in steel fabrication (e.g., SDS) will also be briefly addressed. The second module of the course focuses on Building Information Model (BIM) environments (e.g., Revit). These environments are quickly being adopted throughout the building industry for use in the design development and project implementation phases. Characteristics of BIMs will be explored, including both modeling operations and the database characteristics necessary for information modeling. Case studies will be presented that demonstrate how important information, e.g., costs or quantities, can be easily captured and utilized. A variety of topics related to how BIM systems can be incorporated into practice, as well as their effects on practice, will also be explored; including the use of shared digital models by different participants in the design and building process (architects, structural and mechanical engineers, fabricators, contractors).Environments such as Catia and Revit share many features in common. For example, both support parametric solid and surface modeling, both allow informational attributes to be attached to created objects, and both provide valuable tools for design collaboration. But, each has a different structure and interface and each has its own set of strengths and weaknesses. The instructors feel that students should have some familiarity with both of these related environments; hence the course is listed as a single semester long 4 credit course instead of two individual modules. A student with prior background in the material covered in either of the modules or parts may request permission to take either one or the other module for 2 credits. Please see iCommons Couseware Description (link below) for further information about the course.