Sunday, April 1, 2018


My trip to Volterra is looming and I wanted to do something to get me in the mood, so I started developing an approach to parametric modular windows of a particular Tuscan style.  Here is the first fruits of that venture.

The starting point was a parametric pointed arch. From there I went on to develop 3 more families with nested families for the stone "Insert" and the glazed timber "Window Unit".  The idea is to set up a modular system where you can swap out the Insert and the Window Unit for different versions without starting again from scratch.  By keeping the names constant, all the parameter linking remains intact.

I am using the nested planting family hack to easily scale the columns.  The intention being to allow for more complex capitals and base mouldings, while retaining ease of scaling.
All was fine until I checked out the windows in the plan view.  First of all the top part of the insert tends to show up, blocking everything else.  This is easily solved but I was still left with columns that don't react to the cut plane. 

The complexities of how window families interact with the cut plane are quite interesting, and I recounted my explorations of this, long ago.

As it happens, things get even more complicated when there are nested components of a different category.  Usually I keep all my nested families in the same category as the host family, so that subcategory visibility is predictable and consistent.  But the planting hack throws a spanner in those works.

I don't have time for a detailed analysis just now, but suffice to say I did a whole series of permutations to get the columns to cut nicely without success.  Strategies that seem fine in family editor don't pan out in the project environment.  Conversely families that look fine when placed directly in the project fail to cut when nested into a host window.

In the end I have opted for a shared family for the columns.  This is in the column category, with the "pre-cut" option unchecked.  Probaby a shared Generic Model would also work.  So there is an "inner" planting family, inside and "outer" planting family, inside a shared column family.  The height of the column family is an instance parameter so that it can be controlled from within the host.  You can't link type parameters for shared families because that would defeat the whole idea ... that the family acts as if it was placed directly in the project.

Maybe Paul Aubin has a better solution to this, or even a better approach to the whole business.  I'm sure we will talk that through when we meet up in Volterra in a couple of weeks time.  We won't have much time for making families during the workshop.  The focus will be on collecting data with various bits of reality capture kit. 

At the moment the families are based on a few rather grainy internet images.  It's a very interesting approach to windows I think.  Had never really thought it through before.  It's clear that there is a rectangular window with side-hung casements (must open inwards) and this is tucked behind a decorative stone "double arch within a larger arch"  I'm very keen to scan a few examples now to get the sizes and relationships right. Probably there are more surprises in store.  Internal shutters ?  Splayed internal reveals ?  Sill treatment ?

Then we could develop a range of parametric components which could be used to assemble urban settings like the main square in Volterra.  That's my basic premise anyway.  By the way, here is my solution to the pointed arch parametrics.  Didn't check out any other ideas, just decided to develop my own approach

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I've been getting a lot of spam so had to tighten up comments permissions. Sorry for any inconvenience. I do like to hear from real people