Example Tool: Structural Frame Configurator

Many structures can be designed using rigid frames -- an approach that offers significant advantages for simple geometries.  The individual rigid frames can be fabricated off-site and erected quickly in the field, resulting in time and cost savings.


An example of a tool that you could design and implement for this assignment might me one that allows users to quickly model and analyze the structural framing elements of a multi-frame building.

The proposed tool would allow users to:

  • Provide inputs to specify the shape of the wall / roof surfaces and the spacings of the structural elements
  • Create a line model of the structural elements.
  • Create a Revit building element model of the structural elements .


Following the workflow demonstrated in this examples in this module, you could:

  • Provide inputs (variables and constants) allowing users to quickly specify the desired building shape.
  • Use Dynamo to create a simple geometric line model with points and lines representing the locations of the key structural elements.
  • Associate structural elements (columns, beams, and supports) with the lines and nodes.

Implementation Plan

Step 1 - Create Inputs to Capture the Configuration of a User-Specified Variation of a Rectangular Building Shape

  • Offer your user input sliders for specifying:
    • Building Base Length
    • Building Base Width
    • Frame Spacing
      • Option 1: Number of Frames to Create
      • Option 2: Maximum Spacing Between the Frames
    • Roof Purlin Spacing (Small Regularly-Spaced Roof Beams between the Frames)
    • image
  • Frame Column Geometry
    • Frame Column Height at Left Side
    • Frame Column Height at Right Side
    • Top Offset at Left Side (for Slanted Columns)
    • Top Offset at Right Side (for Slanted Columns)
  • Frame Roof Options
    • For a Flat/Shed Roof (Single Beam per Frame)
    • For a Symmetric Gable Roof (Two Beams per Frame)
      • Roof Height Offset (at Gable Top Point)
    • For a Asymmetric Gable Roof (Two Beams per Frame)
      • Roof Left Side Percentage (of Total Roof Width)
      • Roof Height Offset (at Gable Top Point)

Here are some example Frame Profiles to help explain the options:


Step 2 - Use Dynamo to Model the Geometry of the Key Structural Elements

  • Points representing the connection points between the key structural elements
  • Lines or curves representing:
    • Elements of the Rigid Frames (at each Frame Spacing)
      • Columns
      • Roof Beams
    • Roof Purlins
    • X Braces between Two of the Frames
      • Connecting Top and Bottom of Adjacent Columns
      • Connecting Ends of Adjacent Roof Purlins

Step 3 - Use Dynamo to Place Structural Elements in a Revit Building Model

  • Offer the user of your Dynamo Graph input nodes for specifying:
    • Structural Column Type (based on the Structural Column types loaded in the Revit model)
    • Structural Framing Types for
      • Roof Beams
      • Roof Purlins
      • X Braces
    • Level(to place the elements on in Revit)
  • Use your Dynamo lines and curves to create structural elements in Revit
    • Frame Columns
    • Frame Roof Beams
    • Roof Purlins
    • X Braces