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Modeling with standard building blocks

From: Advanced Modeling in Revit Architecture

Video: Modeling with standard building blocks

In this movie, we'll continue working on our townhouse facades and refining them a little bit further. In the last movie, we created this outline footprint here which was going to help us get everything positioned. And in this movie we are going to use these really simple Platonic Forms that are actually existing mass families that come with the software. And we are just going to be placing those almost like working with blocks and just kind of placing children's blocks around and stretching them and pulling them to the forms that we want. So I've already created a few here off on this side and we're kind of fill in the missing blanks and I'll kind of show you how I did that.

Modeling with standard building blocks

In this movie, we'll continue working on our townhouse facades and refining them a little bit further. In the last movie, we created this outline footprint here which was going to help us get everything positioned. And in this movie we are going to use these really simple Platonic Forms that are actually existing mass families that come with the software. And we are just going to be placing those almost like working with blocks and just kind of placing children's blocks around and stretching them and pulling them to the forms that we want. So I've already created a few here off on this side and we're kind of fill in the missing blanks and I'll kind of show you how I did that.

Now let me just give you a quick overview of the file setup before we continue. It's largely similar to the files that we've been working on in the last several movies. We've got our rectangular reference lines down here, which was back from our original massing model. We've got these two reference planes here in the center, marking the original insertion point. And if you look over here, I am going to zoom in slightly, we've got our Main Level and our Second Level, but I've snuck in a new level in between called Townhouses. And that's because over here in this part of the design, the townhouses are actually sitting more up on a hill in that residential part of the neighborhood.

And so, by putting that new level up at that 10 foot, we're sitting more at an appropriate height for where the geometry will actually be. So let's talk about how these forms got in here. These are just basically component families that you can actually load in to the Massing Environment. Now if I hover over one of these, it says it's Mass, then Gable Gable. So Mass is the category, it's a Massing Family, Gable is its family name, and again Gable is the type name. This one is Box, this one's also Gable, this one is Cylinder.

Okay, so those are just different families. Now where did they come from? On the Home tab, if I click the Component tool and then come over here to the Load Family button, that takes me to the library that's installed by default with my software. I'm in the Imperial version of Revit; so I go to the Imperial folder. There is also a Metric version that takes you to Metric folder. Same thing, there should be a Mass folder in either case. And then if I single click the first item on the list and just use the arrow key on my keyboard, you could see that I can page through these various forms here, and several different shapes have already been created and included with the software.

And these are all Massing Families, but they just have these sort of basic shapes. So if you want to build up a model, like we're doing here with these townhouse facades, you can load in one or more of these shapes and then actually manipulate them parametrically and place them around in the design, and that's exactly what we are going to do here. When I cancel out of there, you'll see that I already had the Box, the Cone, the Cylinder, and the Gable loaded in my project. So the box is currently on my cursor and I'll start with that because it's a pretty simple one.

And I could either Place on Face or on Work Plane. I want to place on the Work Plane, and I want to make sure that my placement plane is the Townhouses Level. It was already defaulting to that, but I just want to make sure. Now I am going to use my Shift and wheel to kind of spin around a little bit, because I am going to place this one kind of in this general vicinity right here. And what you'll notice is, if you hover over some existing geometry, like this line right here, and then tap your spacebar, it will actually match the orientation of that object to the underlying geometry, so that can be a really quick and effective way to get it lined up with the geometry underneath.

And then I'll just sort of place this right about there, click the Modify tool, and then I'll select on this box to show us what we've got. All of these forms; Gables, Boxes, what have you, if you scroll down in the Properties palette under Dimensions, they have some settings Width, Depth, and Height usually, sometimes they have additional settings. The box is the simplest, so it just has Width, Depth and Height. Now let's start with the Height, that's pretty obvious, right. If I want to increase the height of this townhouse block here, I can make it about 40 feet tall and Apply that.

You'll see that'll jump up a little taller next to its neighbor. If I change the Width, let's try about 20 feet there, and I'm mainly doing that just to see which direction is which, because when I brought it in, I'm pretty sure that that width matched up with this line, because of the way I tapped the Spacebar, but I just wanted to verify that. The width is in fact in the direction I think it's in. Now let's say that the width was opposite of what you thought it was. You can actually tap the Spacebar after the fact and it will spin the box around 90 degrees and if I tap it again, it will go around another 90 degrees.

So if your Width and your Depth aren't oriented the way that you want, that's all you have to do to reorient them before you continue. What I want to do next is take the dimensions here of this block that it's supposed to sit in and just get my box to match up to that. So let's do a couple of quick dimensions here, just to take a measurement. So I am going to measure from here to here, that's 40 feet. I'll just press Escape, I don't actually need to create the dimension; I just wanted to see what the number is. And in that direction it's 88 feet, so I'll Escape out of there.

So I am going to select the box, scroll down, and I'll make the Width 40 feet and the Depth 88 feet, click Apply, and you'll see the box will now conform to that shape. It's not quite in the right position, so I'll just go to the Move tool, grab a convenient insertion point, and a convenient ending point, and move it like so, and now we've got that box positioned roughly where it needs to go. On the front of this particular block, I might want to include an additional form, like maybe I want to have a bay similar to this one here.

So let's add another box. So again, I go to the Home tab, click on Component, add another box; make sure I am placing on a Work Plane. This one I am going to place out here, tap my Spacebar to get it rotated. I am just going to place it out here for the time being, select it, and change the Width of the box to about 10 feet and the Depth to only about 4 feet, because I just want some long thin box like so.

Then I'll move it from an endpoint here right to that corner and then move it again just using the temporary dimension, maybe over about 5 feet. Now this is going to be a little bay out in the front and I want to put a barrel vault top on that. So if I go back to Home one more time, click Component and open up the list, I don't see a barrel vault loaded. So I'll go to Load Family, go back to my Massing folder and there was actually a Barrel Vault form in my Massing folder, which we were paging through before.

So let's open that up. Now this time, I will actually use the Place on Face option, because I want to place it right here on the top surface of this existing form and I am going to do it right at the midpoint, right there. Click Modify, select it, you remember I went 10 feet wide right here, so I am going to make that width also match 10 feet wide. Notice the Height is grayed out, that's because this is a Barrel Vault and they are controlling the height with a formula.

So if I apply the Width, it will automatically change the Height to half of that in order to keep it a half round shape. Let me change the Depth to 4 feet, let's apply that. And then, of course, if I zoom in a touch, you can see that because I snapped to the midpoint, that was actually the center of the original form, so all I have to do is just move it from endpoint to endpoint like so, I'll zoom back out. And now I have a little barrel vault form on the top of that. I want to take these three forms and kind of smooth them out a little bit.

So I can actually use the Join Geometry tool, select the Main form, and join it to this box. Do it again, select this form and select this guy and one more time join this to this. And you can kind of see that when you join all the parts and pieces together, it smooths it out and it takes care of that little seam right there, and so it makes that behave a little bit more as if it was one continuous form. So let's do one or two more examples here.

I am going to go back to Home, click on Component, change Forms to a Gable form and it's much the same process. I want to place it on a Work Plane, highlight an edge, press the Spacebar to get it oriented. Notice that the Gable is going in the correct orientation but if it wasn't I could just Spacebar again, so you can hit it more than one time. But the first time, you want to make sure you're highlighting that edge, that's what gets it to match that angle. I'll place it, click Modify, select it.

I usually like to start with the Height. You can see that the Gable also has a Height parameter, right here, but notice that it's also got this Eave Height parameter here. So if I apply this, watch what's going to happen. We are going to get this really tall peaked roof right here, it's almost like it was up in the Swiss Alps or something, because the Height is measured from the base here all the way up to the top of the form to the top of the ridge. So this Eave Height here is actually measured from the bottom as well up to this location here.

What this tells me is, looking at this-- that I probably need my Height to be even a little taller than it is. This box is at 40 feet and I just made that one at 45, so why don't I try maybe about 48 here. Now I'm going for a slightly eclectic look. I don't want all the roof lines to be perfectly lined up with each other. So I'm deliberately making them shifted a little bit from one another. Let's try a 38 foot Eave Height and see what that does for me. So you can kind of see there that the eave is a little bit lower but the ridge would actually, if we spin it around, the ridge would actually pop up taller than the neighboring building.

So this is kind of what we'd see in elevation here. So that's the look that I was going for there. Let's do a couple of quick measurements from here to here, that's 88-6. And from here to here it should be 40 feet again, and it is, so let's go ahead and set those numbers. The Width is 40 and the Depth 88-6, Apply it. Go to the Move tool and move it on to its platform.

I could do the same thing for this box over here, I'll leave that one for you to practice on, but let me do this final bay right here. If you go to the Home tab and click the Component tool and Load Family, what you won't find in this Massing folder, if you page through all of these, is you won't find anything that matches that hexagonal shape, so that one we're just going to have to kind of build. We can build it the normal way. We've got all the normal tools at our disposal. I am going to use Reference Lines for this, because Reference Lines, if you recall, lock the profiles.

So I am going to be drawing a profile down here at the base and I want that profile to be continuous as it moves up the height of the bay. So if we change the shape of the profile and plan, I don't want it to end up tapering in a strange way. I want it to stay consistently the same shape. So I am going to draw along the back edge, and if I wanted to, I could keep going tracing here, but I am actually going to escape one time and switch to this tool instead, Pick Lines, because this will allow me to reach right into that underlying family and just pick the edges right in that family there, and that gives me a little continuous-- Ah okay, small problem right here.

Notice that the host for this guy says Gable. So when I drew those two points, it hosted it to the surface of this edge instead of the ground plane. Now let me see if I can change that right here. It's not giving me the option to choose a level, so I am just going to delete that line and draw it again. I need these four sketch lines to all be on the same host, otherwise it won't work properly. So let's make the Placement plane Townhouses, and then draw it from here to here, and that time it should work.

You see how I get the chain. So always be looking out for that because sometimes you'll be drawing and you won't notice that there wasn't an associated work plane and it will just jump onto another plane on you and then you're going to be wondering, well why isn't it selecting a chain of lines, and so always kind of look over here and see what the host is. Let's go ahead and create form out of that. I'll create a 3D form, use my little grip, pull it up to about where I want it to go, and then I'll look at this number and I'll just kind of pick something as a whole round number.

So that kind of gives us a basic idea of how we can take these existing families that are in the library and just sort of bring them in almost like children's building blocks and assemble them into a more complex form. We have all the parameters to work with; the Width and the Depth and the Height, and you get them adjusted and position them relative to one another and then you can even join them together as we did here, right, and join them into a single piece of geometry and that can be your massing form moving forward into the next stage of design.

Show transcript

This video is part of

Image for Advanced Modeling in Revit Architecture
Advanced Modeling in Revit Architecture

58 video lessons · 8222 viewers

Paul F. Aubin
Author

 
Expand all | Collapse all
  1. 5m 20s
    1. Welcome
      1m 6s
    2. What you should know
      27s
    3. Designing the assets
      3m 1s
    4. Using the exercise files
      46s
  2. 1h 13m
    1. Exploring modeling approaches
      6m 17s
    2. Understanding the massing environment
      13m 16s
    3. Building an in-place mass
      7m 26s
    4. Creating massing forms
      12m 37s
    5. Manipulating forms
      8m 50s
    6. Using X-Ray and Dissolve
      7m 13s
    7. Understanding reference-based and model-based lines
      7m 51s
    8. Designing parametric masses
      10m 21s
  3. 1h 39m
    1. Importing a site image
      11m 17s
    2. Setting up a massing file
      6m 3s
    3. Adding basic forms
      10m 33s
    4. Building the annex
      7m 54s
    5. Cutting mass floors
      7m 44s
    6. Performing an energy analysis
      9m 38s
    7. Modifying building forms
      11m 10s
    8. Laying out a floor plan
      9m 2s
    9. Modeling with standard building blocks
      13m 54s
    10. Applying geometry to surfaces
      12m 41s
  4. 1h 13m
    1. Configuring divided surfaces
      10m 33s
    2. Adding patterns
      6m 21s
    3. Creating a custom panel family
      9m 42s
    4. Nesting families
      8m 27s
    5. Creating complex panels
      8m 30s
    6. Finishing complex panels
      6m 57s
    7. Stitching borders
      7m 56s
    8. Exploring advanced stitching strategies
      6m 22s
    9. Working with reporting parameters
      8m 58s
  5. 37m 13s
    1. Understanding adaptive points
      6m 40s
    2. Knowing when to use adaptive components
      2m 40s
    3. Nesting adaptive families
      6m 43s
    4. Understanding lofting techniques
      10m 19s
    5. Strategizing with adaptive components
      10m 51s
  6. 29m 24s
    1. Editing floors
      4m 38s
    2. Refining face-based walls
      6m 54s
    3. Building walls from floor edges
      6m 27s
    4. Adding dormers
      7m 45s
    5. Creating soffits
      3m 40s
  7. 36m 9s
    1. Creating vertically compound walls
      6m 11s
    2. Adding sweeps and reveals
      6m 26s
    3. Understanding host sweeps and reveals
      6m 33s
    4. Sculpting a wall
      9m 11s
    5. Building shafts
      7m 48s
  8. 36m 38s
    1. Designing with curtain wall types
      12m 32s
    2. Creating custom curtain walls
      8m 15s
    3. Working with curtain panels
      6m 19s
    4. Building sloped glazing
      9m 32s
  9. 43m 58s
    1. Setting up a stair type
      4m 52s
    2. Building a custom stair
      7m 28s
    3. Finishing a custom stair
      5m 22s
    4. Editing railings
      6m 10s
    5. Importing a CAD file
      4m 22s
    6. Applying decals
      6m 10s
    7. Creating a custom material
      9m 34s
  10. 44s
    1. What's next
      44s

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