Assignment: Evaluate Your Alternatives | Due Fri, May 19

Assignment: Evaluate Your Alternatives | Due Fri, May 19



In this assignment, you’ll build upon your work for the Module 5 Assignment -- recommending a proposed design to the developers of a new high-rise building project in San Francisco based on your evaluation of potential building forms.

This project will be located in San Francisco, near the new Transbay Terminal at 200 Folsom Street, in a rapidly-growing area of the city with a good view of the waterfront and the Bay Bridge.

Design Brief Recap

Your job is to create alternative building forms that we’ll be able to evaluate as the developer considers options for the final design. The building form should:

Building Geometry

  • Provides between 1,200,000 and 1,500,000 SF of new floor area.
  • Stays within the site development limits – up to 300’ x 450’ in plan view – with a height limitation of 750’.

Building Performance

  • Minimizes the surface area of the building envelope.
  • Maximizes the solar insolation potential as measured by cumulative insolation available on the building envelope surfaces throughout the year.


  • Minimizes the projected construction cost – for simplicity, assume that the construction cost per SF will grow linearly from $700 per SF at the ground level to $1500 per SF at 750’ above the ground.


In the Module 5 assignment, you:

  • created parametrically-driven building forms that can be easily changed by varying one or two parameters
  • set up the node logic in Dynamo or Grasshopper to vary those parameters and flex the forms
  • reported some simple metrics that were automatically computed by Revit or Grasshopper for every variation of the building form:
  • the gross floor area created
  • the gross surface area of the building envelope
  • the gross volume of the tower

In this assignment, you’ll build upon and extend that work -- creating node logic to compute additional evaluation metrics.

Creating Evaluation Metrics — What Makes a Building Form “Better” and How Can We Measure It?

The examples in Module 6 illustrate workflows to create evaluation metrics based on:

  • Measures of the key properties that are determined by the geometry of the building form -- for example, estimated construction cost or expected real estate value estimated based on the types and location of the floor area constructed.
  • Measures of how the building surfaces relate to other things -- for example, directness of wall surfaces or panels to the sun or other objects of interest.
  • Measures of expected building performance based on simulations with analysis tools -- for example, solar insolation potential or expected building energy use based on simulation using analysis tools.

Your task for this assignment is to:

For 2 units

  • Create custom nodes to measure and report two new evaluation metrics for the building form test cases created in Module 5.

For 3 units

  • Implement that Single-Objective Optimization scheme in Dynamo, Grasshopper, or a spreadsheet (for example, Microsoft Excel or Google Sheets).
    • Develop a Single-Objective Optimization scheme for how to combine the new evaluation metrics that you’ve reported to recommend what you consider to be “best case” alternatives to your client.

For 4 units:

  • Create a simple Revit or Rhino model of your recommended design by panelizing the building form.

Steps to Complete

For 2 Units

Step 1 – Create two custom nodes to measure new evaluation metrics for the building form test cases created in Module 5

  • Start by thinking about how you will use the evaluations -- what two metrics are most important to measure to help you recommend one building form versus another?
  • You can use the custom nodes provided in the examples as a starting point or as inspiration for your own evaluation metrics. If you do use one of the example nodes, be sure to adapt it or customize it to reflect your own unique perspective on that measure.

Step 2 – Integrate the custom nodes into your testing node logic and report the new evaluation values for each of your test cases

  • Make a copy of your testing function (Dynamo custom node or Grasshopper loop) from Module 5 and incorporate the new evaluation nodes into it. If using a Revit building form, be sure to evaluate the updated building forms by placing your evaluation nodes after the Transaction.End node.
  • Create and return a list of values from the new testing node for each test case. The list should include:
    • The input parameter values tested
    • The standard Revit building form measures -- Gross Floor Area, Gross Surface Area, and Gross Volume
    • Your two new evaluation metrics

For 3 Units

Step 3 – Design a Single-Objective Optimization Scheme for Using the Computed Evaluators to Compare and Rank the Building Form Alternatives

Develop a scheme, strategy, rationale, or approach -- whatever you’d like to call it -- for how to use the evaluation metrics that you’ve computed to recommend what you consider to be “best cases” alternatives to your client.

  • What metrics are most important?
  • How do they interact?
  • Are there a tradeoff?
  • How can you weight or scale the values returned by your evaluation metrics to compare them?
  • Can you create a new single measure that incorporates the individual metrics in a sensible way?

Clearly articulating your design strategy is really the key aspect of this task.  Before you dive into implementing your scheme, try to describe it clearly in a brief paragraph that describes your thinking and approach.

Step 4 – Implement Your Single-Objective Optimization Scheme

  • Implement your Single-Object Optimization scheme using node logic in Dynamo, Grasshopper, or using a spreadsheet (for example, Microsoft Excel or Google Sheets).
  • Report the results of each of the building form test cases including the input parameter values and all the computed evaluation metrics in an easy-to-read table.
  • Highlight your top 3 recommended design alternatives (for either one the example building forms or the new building form that you designed) and recommend the one design that you consider to be the “best”.
  • Explain your reasoning -- include a brief analysis of why this alternative rose to the top of the list and why you consider it to be the best option.

For 4 Units

Step 5 – Create a Simple Revit or Rhino Model Illustrating the Recommended Design

  • Use the input parameter values for “best” case to create a building form in Revit or Grasshopper that illustrates the recommended design.
  • Panelize that recommended form by dividing the wall surfaces into UV grids and applying a simple adaptive panel component -- for example, the Rect_Panel with Resizable Opening -- or using the LunchBox Panel node in Grasshopper.

Step 6 – Provide Visual Feedback By Adjusting the Appearance of the Panels

  • Provide visual feedback by adjusting the color, opening size, or some other parameter of your adaptive panels to reflect an evaluation value related to the panels.
    • If you’ve created an evaluation based on panel geometry (for example, directness to the sun or an object of interest), use that custom node to generate values for each of your adaptive panels. (See Step 6B in Example 6.C.2 for an example of a suggested workflow).
    • If not, use the Panels.ComputeSunDirectnessOutwardNormals custom node (provided in Example 6.C.2) to generate the values for each panel.
    • Use these values to adjust the appearances of the panels applied to your recommended building form.


  • Please create a folder named “Module 6” within your personal folder in our Autodesk Construction Cloud project.
  • Then, upload these items to your Module 6 folder using the web interface:
    • If you completed Part 1 (for 2 units) or Part 2 (for 3 or 4 units) of the assignment using Revit and Dynamo, please upload:
      • Your Revit project (.RVT) file
      • 💡
        Please the following naming convention for your uploaded files: "#ofUnits_NameAndLastName_Module#".  For example: 4units_DanielDiaz_Module6.rvt
      • Your conceptual mass family (if you used one)
      • Your Dynamo Graph (.DYN) files
      • Any supporting custom nodes that you used or created
    • If you completed Part 2 of the assignment using Grasshopper, please upload:
      • Your Rhino project (.3DM) file
      • Your Grasshopper Graph (.GH) file
    • Also upload the summary tables (created in Word, Excel, Google Sheets, or any data table tool) showing the input values tested and the values computed for each of the reported parameters.
  • Create a link to your Module 6 folder:
    • Right-click on the Module 6 folder in the file tree (at the left side of the interface) and choose Share from the pull-down menu.
    • Choose Share with Project Members, then switch to the Link tab.
    • Click the Copy button to copy the link to your clipboard.
  • Create a new posting on this Notion page — Design Journal Entry: Evaluate Your Alternatives — including:
    • Images/screenshots showing:
      1. your original building form
      2. the recommended building form based on your evaluation and analysis
    • Images showing the node logic in your new evaluator nodes
    • Images/screenshots or links to your the summary tables (created in Word, Excel, Google Sheets, or any data table tool) showing the input values tested and the values computed for each of the reported parameters
    • Brief descriptions outlining:
      • Your Single-Objective Optimization scheme (combination/comparison/ranking approach)
      • An explanation of why you consider the recommended building form to be the “best” choice