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Create an Organic Roof Structure using Parametric Design

Centre Pompidou - Metz, InteriorCentre Pompidou – Metz, Interior

Check out this course here!

In this course, we’re going to model an organic roof structure to a schematic design level and for our reference project we’re going to use the Centre Pompidou in Metz from Shigeru Ban architects. We’ll use some interesting parametric design tools to tackle various aspects in modeling the roof structure more fast and accurate. We choose this project as a reference because this project manages to combine very simple geometric shapes with a complex organic roof in an elegant way. The course has a nice mix of explicit modeling and parametric modeling to get the desired result of the roof structure.

Centre Pompidou - Metz, ExteriorCentre Pompidou – Metz, Exterior

We’ll start by generating the pattern for the roof structure and we’ll use Grasshopper to accomplish this. We could draw the structure manually, using the floorplans, but by using Grasshopper you’ll see how this pattern gets generated from a hexagonal grid using a reciprocal logic. You’ll also see why parametric modeling tools are very powerful in generating seemingly complex patterns in a simple comprehensible way and most important of all, having complete control over every aspect of the pattern, its size, its spacing and its shape. In the end, you’ll be able to change patterns with the help of one slider and you’ll be amazed of the smart logic behind generating this pattern.

Structural PatternStructural Pattern

After we’ve generated the pattern using Grasshopper, we’ll start modeling the roof shape using T-splines, a subD modeler plugin for Rhino. By using T-splines we can quickly model a coarse mesh shape using a minimal amount of faces and vertices. We’ll model the roof flat on the construction plane first, before moving the vertices to the right height. This approach allows us to focus on the topology of the roof first, before molding it to the right shape.

To model the roof shape even more accurate, we’re going to use Grasshopper again and this time we’ll use a plugin for Grasshopper called the Kangaroo physics engine. We’re going to use Kangaroo to relax our mesh to a more natural shape.


When we’ve got our final roof shape, we’re going to project our pattern we’ve generated earlier to it. We’ll use Grasshopper again to generate the wooden beams that are weaved together in a very cool and interesting way.

Check out this course here!

  • Marjorie Hernandez

    17th of August 2016??

  • Arie Willem de Jongh

    Hi Marjorie!nThanks for your comment, it was a typo and we corrected it.nWe’re a little slow, but not that slow =)nCheers!

  • Mohamed Fathi

    I’ve seen a lot of courses that do just the same with different designs, what i am interested in is developing that into construction documents, verifying the structural integrity etc.. anyone can point me to a tutorial/video that can make me begin to understand how to develop something like that into a real world construct-able structure as an architectural technologist?

  • Arie Willem de Jongh

    Hi Mohamed!nThanks for your feedback! We’re looking into making a course about this topic. From a structural 3d model to construction drawings, structural simulation/analysis, something in that direction. I wouldn’t know a complete tutorial on this. The guys from http://www.karamba3d.com/ or http://www.scan-and-solve.com/ have some tutorials on their website, they’re worth to check out. nThanks again, cheers!nArie

  • Norizah Noordin

    Hello if i pay today can i ask question and start course today?n

  • Arie Willem de Jongh

    Hi Norizah!nnYes, you can! The nice thing is you first have a 14-day free trial period for you to check out our platform with all of our courses before you get charged. You can unsubscribe at any moment in time free of charge.nnWe have two subscription plans, a monthly plan of 29 USD and a yearly plan of 259 USD (you save 89 USD or 3 months). You can find more information here https://thinkparametric.com/pricing.nnnYou can ask us questions anytime! We love your feedback as it helps us to grow and make a better platform, please ask away!nnI hope to have informed you enough and enjoy our courses!nnCheers

  • Duygu Ku0131nay

    can we download this model ?