Welcome to 2023! Parametric Monkey passed many milestones in 2022, including celebrating our 5th birthday. Over these past five years, the Parametric Monkey brand has become synonymous with doing better things, and we love working with businesses that share this desire. We continue to be recognised as industry leaders in BIM, computational design and digital fabrication. 2022 represented our best financial year to date, in part due to our expanding international clientele, with a quarter of our revenue coming from the USA alone.
Our mission to accelerate computational literacy within the AEC industry continues via our regular tutorials and insights. Our post on ‘Technical debt: Architecture’s ticking time bomb‘ went viral with over 100,000 views in a matter of days. It’s clear we touched on a topic that resonated with architects worldwide.
It’s been fascinating to see how some have responded. Many circulated the article within their organisation and are proactively discussing technical debt and how to manage it. And that was the idea. After all, a rising tide lifts all boats. On the other hand, it came to our attention that certain bad actors saw the concept as threatening to their status and moved quickly to shut down any further discussion within their organisation. It’s clear there remains ongoing systemic errors in how some organisations embrace technology and, most importantly, how they manage it.
Back in October, I sat down with Evan Troxel to dig deeper into ‘Why technical debt is killing architectural practices‘ and how to manage the death spiral that is negative compound interest. The episode marks the 100th episode of the TRXL podcast, and it was an honour to be a part of elevating the discussion about the convergence of architecture and technology.
Over the past year, we worked closely with the Timber Development Association to research new Cross Laminated Timber (CLT) ‘Post and plate’ construction methods. The research was supported by funding provided to Forest and Wood Products Australia (FWPA) to administer the National Institute for Forest Products Innovation program by the Australian Government Department of Agriculture, Water and Environment (DAWE) and the Victorian Government. As part of this process, Parametric Monkey automated the 4D modelling and sequencing of various methods. Such 4D animations can establish a common language across the entire project team to ensure we know not just WHAT we are assembling but HOW we are assembling it.
Our follow-up case study, ‘Mass timber: A case study in DfMA automation‘, explored how capturing and codifying the Design for Manufacture and Assembly (DfMA) logic can enable automation at scale whereby each element knows its final state and how to get there – the crane paths, the rotations, and the sequencing. With high carbon sequestration, DfMA construction methods, and automation at scale – what’s not to love?
Our software workshops continue to be the go-to solution for upskilling staff. Whereas Dynamo dominated previous years, last year saw a huge shift towards Rhino, Grasshopper, and Rhino.Inside Revit workshops. In 2022, we ran an incredible 41 workshops in Rhino alone! But best of all, the feedback has been extraordinary:
I wanted to take a moment to personally thank you for the excellent Rhino training series that we wrapped up earlier this week. I used Rhino extensively throughout college and was unsure how I would benefit from additional training. Needless to say, I was incredibly impressed with all eight sessions. I have sat through training (and even taught some) before, but this is the first time that I have been actively engaged the entire time and learning the tools in a practical way. The way that you structure the lessons, keep the groups small, provide base files for applicable buildings, and demonstrate your workflow – it is simply fantastic. I am excited to see how our firm’s work and workflow improve as more people learn Rhino.Designer, LPA
We’ve been busy building some pretty awesome Dynamo and Grasshopper scripts for our clients. Some of our favourite include:
Automated Revit shop drawings
Automatically generates a LOD400 fabrication model, creates Revit assemblies, generates associated views with dimensions, creates sheets and then places these views on the sheet. Whereas this would take our client two weeks to do manually, with Dynamo, this now takes under 30 minutes.
SEPP65 solar access analysis
Our latest SEPP65 solar access script now embeds analysis results directly into your Revit model. Much like the 80s ‘Choose Your Own Adventure’ books, you can run the analysis on rooms, areas, topography or massing. With BIM360 models or non-BIM360 models. Detailed or simplified heatmaps. And best of all, the heatmap results can be shown as a family with subcategories for filtering or as direct shapes. Results are even pushed to shared parameters and exported to the City of Sydney Excel template for Development Applications.
In March, we presented two classes at the BILT ANZ conference in Sydney. The first, titled ‘How to innovate like a pro’, explored the concept of innovation in a systematic and evidence-based approach. The second, titled ‘Rhino.Inside: Connecting Grasshopper to Revit‘, demonstrated how to harness the power of Rhino.Inside to improve interoperability and functionality within Revit. While both classes were top-rated, we were honoured to be awarded the (joint) best speaker award for our Rhino.Inside talk. The peer-based feedback we received was overwhelming:
Whilst having never touched Rhino.Inside, and perhaps being a little sceptic about what it could provide that Dynamo currently does not, I came away from Paul’s session pleasantly surprised by how much I learned about the tool in a single session. What I appreciated most was that Paul approached it from the perspective of someone learning it for the first time himself, finding frustrations and limitations but also a willingness to demonstrate to what extent he has explored the tool. Having Paul describe the key bugbears and the differences between it and Dynamo, I came out excited and brainstorming a number of different ways I would want to try Rhino.Inside.Anonymous
Later in November, we presented ‘Beyond BIM: The emperor has no clothes‘. Here we coined the term fat Elvis, to describe how the endless BIM standards and procedures have caused workflows to become slow and bloated. As an alternative, we presented how the industry can, and is, evolving to BIM 2.0, via knowledge elicitation to achieve systematisation at scale.
Much of the evolution from standardisation to systematisation can be seen in our ongoing development of MetricMonkey. As discrete knowledge silos continue to converge via technology, we foresee a future where planning, design, analysis and fabrication become one. Our initial focus on integrating GIS data has resulted in a suite of tools second to none. We’re proud of the differentiation we’ve built, and the early user feedback has been terrific, surpassing our expectations. As we look forward, we believe that the opportunity to design better buildings is enormous, and we can’t wait until the full vision is built out.
So What’s Next?
We’re excited about where we are headed and the projects we have in the pipeline. We know vastly more now than when we began, but we still have much to learn. We are committed to doing better things through constant improvements, experimentation, and innovation in every initiative. There is still much to be done, and we can’t wait to jump back in and see what 2023 has to offer. Onwards and upwards!