Projects will often start off with a period of program analysis, part of which requires each of the program spaces to be drawn to get a graphic sense of the project’s pieces. This information tends to be provided in the form of a spreadsheet which categorizes the spaces in addition to specifying the room’s name, quantity, areas, and other relevant information. With a few modifications, this spreadsheet can be used to generate all of the space geometry through the use of a Grasshopper definition.
The Grasshopper definition begins by importing specific rows and columns according to markers that are placed within the spreadsheet. These markers tell Grasshopper where to start and stop importing data as well as where to find the appropriate information for each parameter. In addition to the name, area, and space numbers that are likely already included within the spreadsheet, other parameters such as width, depth, height, level, and other possible relationships are added to the spreadsheet. The names of those columns are then added to a component within Grasshopper that then retrieves any information that occurs under that heading. While there is time invested in reformatting the spreadsheet, the advantage to this approach is that any change to the spreadsheet will then update the Grasshopper geometry.
Simple 2D rectangles can be created using the Grasshopper definition or the rectangles can be extruded to become 3D boxes which can then be arranged according to the level that they will occur on. The geometry is initially laid out in columns according to program categories. It is possible to rearrange this geometry with a few changes to the Grasshopper definition which allows the boxes to then be moved around by dragging the box’s center point to a new location.
Nearly any parameter in the spreadsheet can be used to differentiate the color of the boxes. Multiple color options can be established which create distinctions between level or program category with the ability to switch between options or combine into a composite color. In the end, the geometry can be baked into Rhino and rendered or exported to another piece of CAD software if necessary.
The spreadsheet import portion of the definition was made possible by Damien Alomar’s Excel Import components.
Giulio Piacentino’s C# Bake Attributes component is used to bake the geometry into Rhino while retaining the color, and grouping that are created within Grasshopper.
Obligatory disclaimer: the author does not guarantee that these parametric models are bug-free or that they will solve all of your problems. If you find bugs or have suggestions for improvements, please let us know.