image by grimshaw architects
image by grimshaw architects

Tram Stop Canopy | Grimshaw Architects | Qatar Foundation | 2014

This projects scope was to design three (3) prototypical stops for the entire network of Education City Tram System. The idea was to create a tensile canopy structure out of a network of cables and free standing columns. Free of any intermediate columns this structure creates a sense of lightness and openness while providing adequate shading and support for the light rail charging system. The cable net system was structurally designed to have maximum of 10mm deflection given that moving trains had to be able to engage a charging mechanism suspended from the canopy.  Given the unusual role that Grimshaw was in – designing what would be structural canopy based on set out drawings coming from structural engineers- I was asked to lead the process of exchanging information between engineers and designers. I have developed a process that allowed us to quickly update locations of Revit families based on wireframe model that we were receiving in Rhino format. I was also responsible for training and support of the staff on this unique project.

Information Exchange Automation Process:

For this project I have created a process that would allow an efficient way to exchange information between Rhino and Revit. Given the nature of this project and unusual position where we were receiving set out locations updates from structural engineers I have established a clear guideline for this process to work efficiently. Each part of the structural wireframe model was to be maintained on separate layers. Geometry contained within those layers was used to generate Grasshopper script and plug-in called Lyrebird was utilized to move this information between GH and Revit. I have constructed multiple adaptive components families on Revit side to allow for positional updates without a need for remodeling. When the set up process was done I could generate geometry/information in Revit from structural model for the entire stop in fraction of the time that a conventional updating method would take. This was especially important because we were receiving updates from Structural Engineers weekly, and they were needed to be implemented in our drawings every time.

Computational BIM:

There were a number of other tools that I had developed for this project. Some were deployed with great success and some remained a concept ideas. One such tool was a workflow for automating view creation > application of view template > placement of view on a sheet. It was never really deployed and mostly due to the fact that project no longer required it. You can see it here: “create views and place on sheets with dynamo” There was also another workflow that was developed for this project. It was called “element tagging with dynamo”. This workflow was created because standard Revit “Tag All” tool was not flexible enough as to allow for specific tag placement.

Data Scheduling:

This project also called for certain custom tools that were needed in order to efficiently document it. One such example was the ability to schedule set out points (XYZ Coordinates)  for each stop in its own Coordinate System. What I mean, is that when working with all three stops in the same Revit Project, one can only schedule location of families in regard to Project Base point or Shared Coordinates Point. For this project we needed ability to schedule each stop in regard to its own origin point. In order to do that I used Grasshopper to generate all of the coordinates (transformed into their local coordinate system), and then using custom scheduling tools and Mantis Shrimp (both developed by archi-lab) plug-in I was able to generate appropriate schedules in Revit. Please see this post for a short video and write up: “building data – harnessing the power of GH to schedule data in revit”.


Complex Geometry Documentation:

On this project there was a handful of complex pieces of geometry that required special documentation. For example a base of each of the masts were to be a cast steel piece, and it was expected that the manufacturer would want to re-create this geometry in different software. In order to facilitate that I was responsible for constructing series of diagrams of various pieces of mast that explained the geometry of them. Since all these pieces were also Revit Families, each of such diagrams was usually accompanied with a schedule for certain “instance” parameters that were critical in explaining its shape.

All visualizations are courtesy of Grimshaw Architects VU Team.

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