Monday, August 1, 2016


There is a door that I made(some months ago) for the Banking Halls.  The middle, opening part is taken from photographs of doors that exist today in the Bank Museum (the reconstructed Stock Office).  The surround is based on a drawing of Soane's and a 1920s photograph of the Colonial Office.  I had made the surround rather crudely, and the whole thing was a fixed size with no built-in modularity.  So I decided to make this slightly more robust and parametric, then go on to build more doors with interchangeable components to allow for more variety and flexibility.

A fully parametric version would be quite demanding, but making parametric moulding profiles for the segmental pediment is perfectly doable. It all comes down to Height and Depth, with 3 intermediate parameters (X,Y,Z) that are all expressed as fractions of "Height".  In other words, increasing Height will scale the whole profile up, while Depth can be varied independently.  The ogee curve is a polyline, locked to the corners of a square of side "Z".

The next thing I attempted was a typical Soane studded door panel.  He used this type of door on just about all of his buildings.  I'm not sure of the original derivation. The tricky part is getting the arrays of studs to scale up and down.  I took the view that we don't need a huge variation in size.  These are doors after all.   So I kept the number of studs constant and all I need is quite a lot of equalised reference planes to respond to different sizes of panel.  Maybe another day I will do one with an array parameter so we can type in the spacing of the studs and have the number of items automatically calculated, but this time around I lacked the patience.

So I went on to do make a whole series of doors, all of approximately derived from a Soane building in some way, and most of them having parameteric door panels that are interchangeable.  Some are single. some double, and again there is interchangeability.  Behind the scenes here is some work that has been bubbling away on my stove for a little while now, a way of doing modular door families that will allow for maximum reuseability down the road whenever we model a new type of panel, surround, door swing, hardware set, whatever.  This will be the subject of one of my sessions at RTC Europe in Porto, later on this year.  It's an experiment, but it's working out quite well so far.

One thing to note, with these complex door surrounds.  When you have a piece of geometry in the family that lies completely above the cut plane, it will show up in the floor plan, unless you explicitly tell it not to.  I guess this is intentional.  You might want to show the pediment over these doors as a dashed line in plan, perhaps.  While I'm on this topic, I always found it a little odd that the "Visibility Settings" button only shows up on the ribbon if you select geometry made with the same tool, e.g. all sweeps, or all extrusions.

Another way to force something to hide in plan is to "Join Geometry" with something that DOES intersect the cut plane.  In this case, all the pediment elements could be joined up to the architrave moulding (the sweep going around 3 sides of the opening)  One drawback is that things that are joined together automatically share the same material (or material parameter).

I proceeded to change several of my generic openings into real doors and that's going to be another of those tasks to spread out over a few sessions.  Sometimes there are photographs to show if they are single or double, and whether they open in or out, but none of the floor plans offer clues, so there will be lots of semi-intelligent guesswork.  I'll conclude with a portion of my Working Plan View, which shows the model in pink and red, with a reference plan below in black.  Lots of minor discrepancies and missing details (fireplaces, pilasters, niches, columns)

I can't do much about the discrepancies now, either the hand drawn plan is inaccurate, or it results from normalising the alignments, difficult to be sure which at times.  I'm not going to start rotating individual portions of the plan by a degree here and a degree there at this stage.  That would just be asking for trouble.  Some of the crosses are rooms, some are groin vaults showing up from the cellars below.

I think I should probably revisit the parametric dome family for the next post. Had a couple of requests for that.

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