Parametric Legos

6 Mar

Ever since I learned about parametric design I have struggled for a good way to explain it to someone who doesn’t know what it is. I could always come up with decent explanations that would make sense to those who knew what I was talking about but still left those who hadn’t dealt with parametric design in a confused state. Who know this might just sound like gibberish again but I think this exhibit of students variations of Lego towers could be just the visual I needed.

KRADS | Open The Tower

This was a study sponsored by Lego and Arup and in it there was a series of 26 iterations of an idea. I think this next photo is the easiest to see the same idea strung through a few models.

Looking at the front-most row it is clear to see that the tower designs are of a similar family but each one is a slight variation. That is the base idea of parametric design that it is not some magic trick but rather creating a set of rules where by changing the parameters slightly the result changes. That result does not just change randomly as I am sure the students who worked on this project didn’t just build random towers but it changes based upon logic and rules that have been set forth ahead of time. I would expect that it would be possible if given the rules the students worked with to create the parametric Lego models a computer version could be achieved to save the time of making some hundreds of model variations.

That is why programs such as Grasshopper are so powerful is that when used right they can make a study that would normally take many hours to build each variation and easily allow many more variations to be created in much less time. So hopefully this helped to explain what parametric design is, if not please let me know what is still confusing so I can work on explaining it in a sentence or two and not a few paragraphs.

More photos and info on the exhibit:

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