Engineering behemoths Thornton Tomasetti put out their TT Toolbox GH component early last year, but a student of mine recently shared their new release with me. Their new release builds off of their solid spreadsheet and structural capabilities with an interesting twist- they now can read Google Sheets in real time. This is not just exciting for OpenOffice aficionados, but produces some interesting possibilities due to Google Sheets’ nature of being web-hosted. Nathan Miller has had components with a robust ability to interface with server-based data for a while, but the TT Toolbox’s ability to interface with Google Drive instead of a complex MySQL server opens the door for web-based and remote form generation, as shown below:
The GPS eXchange file format is a quick and easy way to get geo-located points out of a tracking software such as Strava or MapMyRide. I hadn’t realized that it was in an .xml format until reading Hjörtur Sigurðsson’s blog post on positioning Endomondo information in GH. Sigurðsson doesn’t go into detail about how to develop the script, so I thought I’d play around with it and see how to get .gpx info into the GH environment. This script uses components from gHowl and Elk, feel free to click on any of the images to enlarge.
The first step is to create a link between GH and the .gpx file path. Save the .gpx file you’d like to use somewhere on your machine or server, and then use the File Path module to link the information into GH.
Use gHowl’s Xml Parser module to parse and understand the .xml data.
The .xml data will likely have some metadata at the top of your point list, use the Split Tree module to create a branch without this info. The Split Tree’s splitting input is inclusive, so you want to list the last branch you’d like to remove for the split.
The formatting may change depending on your .gpx source. In this case, the point coordinates were listed as separate items within a branch, so use list items to separate the different coordinates and then merge them back together in a Construct Point module.
Once the points are formatted, follow the same sequence I described in my tutorial on using Elk to Create Maps in Grasshopper. This requires finding a .osm file and SRTM data of the same area that you are mapping. This isn’t an overly elegant solution at the moment, but will allow you to position .gpx information within GH. Good luck!
There was a lot of chatter on the web last spring about FreelandBuck’s Slipstream Installation at the Bridge Gallery in NYC. It’s a pretty impressive piece, with over 1000 CNC milled plywood pieces that are aggressively non-orthagonal. One element of the piece that hasn’t gotten as much recognition is the incredible drawings that served as the systemic generator of the installation. On FreelandBuck’s website the drawings are described as:
As part of the Slipstream Installation inspired by Lebbeus Woods’ 2010 ‘Slipstreaming’ drawings, we developed a series of computational representations of flow. These drawings were each potential catalists for the installation suggesting both dynamism and bi-directional interlocking structures. The drawings were elaborated not through the conventions of digital drawing but toward other graffic mediums -charcoal, painting, drafting – opening up more diverse and tactile associations.
Flow, dynamism, and interlocking systems are almost architectural memes at this point, the evidence residing in the inclusion of these terms in most if not all of suckerPUNCH‘s entries, but what is most compelling about the Slipstream drawings is their effectiveness at conveying these concepts. The organization of the linework is remarkably fluid, the geometric arrangement is particularly evocative and the use of color gives a depth and a sense of space that few drawings can. In Orhan Ayyüce’s interview with David Freeland and Brennan Buck on Archinect, FreelandBuck describe a particular spatial interest themselves:
We are still very interested in the values and ambitions of the earlier generation of digital formalists – that space does need not be defined by a stable grid of lines and planes but can be far more dynamic and engaging when defined by curved surfaces, torqued planes and shifting tessellations. So our primary ambition is spatial even if the means are formal.
For FreelandBuck the interest in formal affect isn’t limited to this particular project or even their practice as a whole, but their teaching as well. In the description for Evolving Media on FreelandBuck’s website David Freeland describes the course as:
The drawing, as instrument of the avant garde, has been a significant transmitter of meaning in architecture, not through its faithfulness to translating a message, but in terms of the properties inherent to drawing which are deployed in support of a given ontology. Seeking the qualities inherent to computational drawing- multiplicity, systemiticity, gradation- this class reimagines the drawing in terms of visceral perception, a medium for the creation of a field of effects more atmospheric than Euclidean.
This interest in spatial engagement is at the root of what is especially compelling about the Slipstream Drawings, as they are more than an algorithmic assortment of lines but an attempt and a means to evoke and organize space.