Dynamo for design or only for documentation?

The launch of Dynamo has given many of us design architects hope that it could be a grasshopper replacement, that enables you to design within Revit, instead of moving back and forth between the two software. As everyone knows, Revit is extremely limited when it comes to its design tools and Autodesk has made it very clear that it’s focus for Revit is on documentation and coordination. Dynamo could be a solution for those who want to design in Revit, but as dynamo progresses and matures, those who pick up Dynamo are mostly technicians and not architects. Consequently, an overwhelming majority of custom packages are for data management and not design. This forum is evidence to that where 99% of topics are related to data management. The core geometrical tools within Dynamo hasn’t been expended either. What struck me the most at AU was the many cases studies at every class, lecture and symposium involved Grasshopper exclusively for design while Dynamo was merely used as translation and data management tool in the end phases of the project. The design computational symposium was primarily a showcase of Grasshopper projects which is quite ironic at a an Autodesk event. It’s like having Microsoft showcase windows 10 exclusively at Apple’s main stage Keynote.

Autodesk may have its reason for that, which brings me to the following question. Does anyone has any inside information if Autodesk have any plans to accommodate architects by developing something like Grasshopper or is Dynamo/Revit intended to be completely dependent on Grasshopper, which is why the push for Grasshopper was is so visible at every at any Autodesk event?

To a certain extent Dynamo has popularised and become more renowned for workflow related tasks rather than computational design. Its true that modelling complex forms is not its strong point and it still has a long way to go (basic surface modifying tools, like reverse U/V aren’t even implemented yet). However, the landscape is changing rapidly and T-Splines integration in Dynamo is already a big step forward. In addition Revit 2017 has better support for complex surfaces, especially those being imported, and that’s important for Dynamo, since anything creating using native Dynamo geometry still has to be ‘imported’ into Revit.

The other thing to keep in mind is GH had years more development time. Finally, your point about packages barely catering for design; I would say thats a slippery slope; why would one want to restrict their creativity with what is ultimately a prescribed approach to design.

I’ve never thought packages that cater for design were a good idea otherwise the whole industry ends up with an overused (and consequently, very boring) style. Think about Voronoi facade designs - how many of those have we all seen? Its therefore better to create nodes that are more abstract, that perform simple tasks and which can be used to form a much larger and more complex process. Only then can the creative process inform the model, it shouldn’t be the other way around.

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Nice to see your perspective on this matter.

As for Packages for design, you have a good point. Custom nodes would be better for the design process. Then again, I do see some advantages in packages. Think about the dynamic relaxation packages which unfortunately isn’t available anymore. Tensile membrane structures are pretty much standard in architecture and we don’t have a way to simulate and create such form with the current tools in Autodesk. Kangaroo is the only option at this moment. So certain geometrical creation packages can be useful.

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