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Parametric Computation and Digital Prototyping for Environmental Responsive Envelopes 

@ MAILAB, University of Florence | Workshop 2016



09. Sept. 2015 from 19:30. Workshop Drink


06. Sept. 2015 10:00-13:00. Conference: Computational Design and Automated Technologies Beyond Architecture. 
@ Le Murate-Centro Progetti Arte Contemporanea
Piazza delle Murate, Firenze

05. Sept. 2015 (11:00-17:00). Registration, Orientation and Workshop Overview
@ Scuola di Architettura,Building: Santa Teresa, Room #07
 via della Mattonaia, 14 –50121 Firenze  tel. 055 2755410

Before to start. Students are required to:
• access and cover the ASSIGNMENT #01 placed on the right of this page
• have a laptop with software installed at their choice for each type: 3D modeling (Rhyno, 3D Studio, SketchUp); BIM (Revit, Archicad); parametric tool (Grasshopper, Dynamo); BEM ( Ecotect, Green Building Studio, Vasari,..); Communication (Photoshop, Indesign. Illustrator, Final Cut, Adobe Premiere, AfterEffects,..). If some of these programs are missed don’t panic. These softwares and others for energy modeling & design, plugins, add-ons and other tools will be set in class during the first day of workshop.


• bring  a sketchbook, pens, colors, pencils, cutter, scissors and all the stuff you think can be useful for designing, sketching and making

For a brief introduction to contents and goals go to the WorkshopPoster


Check this video out to see what we are dealing


How to submit and attend  the workshop ?

Check the Enrollment Guide


This is a Design&Making Workshop, researching responsive envelopes through parametrical computation, digital prototyping and robotics.

Design activities will be delivered using state of the art digital technologies for architectural design, computational modeling and more specifically object – oriented 3D parametric modeling using graphical algorithm editors like Grosshopper for Rynhoceros, Dynamo for Revit and other parametric tools for energy evaluation.

Making activities will be the vibrant and exciting place to try, to test and to make corrections: to play with “physical” experiments using a “files to factory” approach: milling, cutting, molding, casting, assembly & wiring.

Goal_ The workshop is focused on the realization of a robotic scale model prototype giving students the opportunity to learn digital manufacturing process. Students will acquire principles and skills on architectural and energy modeling using a parametric approach  (BIM-BEM); they will discover new applications and materials in architecture, and  participate the prototyping of an interactive multimedia system to communicate the final result.

The Workshop is supported by the DidaLab System (Laboratorio Modelli-Laboratorio Video-Laboratorio Fotografico, Laboratorio Autocostruzione) and Mailab Resources

Language: English

Credits: 6 CFU + iCAD admittance*

*) iCAD-International Course on Architectural Design Master Program on Science of Architecture thaught in English at the School of Architecture-Universtiy of Florence.


Assignment #01: Introductory Readings.

Before to start the workshop students are asked to access the following resources.



This paper with movie and illustrations is on  Mailab Vimeo.

Other useful readings

Other useful readings and materials are in the following post of MAIBLOG



ASSIGNMENT #02. Modeling the Environment

For this assignment students are required to read the following paper

Computing the Environment and Designing Envelopes in Architectural Crafting

and individually have to prepare a file to be uploaded on dropbox following these steps:

  • Choose a geographical location
  • Download his related weather data, analyze them, and describe which decisions could be taken to optimize a concept design for a simple architectural box in the early stage phase.

Decision should cover the following aspects:

  • Which is the acceptable thermal zone using psychometric diagram
  • Which kind of thermal behavior should have the building (heated Vs cooled)
  • Orientation (exposition & cold wind consideration)
  • % percentage of glazing and the location of the windows
  • According with the hottest period and prevalent wind, which windows should be operable to assure ventilation
ASSIGNMENT #03. Designing Envelopes

This is a research phase to investigate, research and get inspiration on envelopes architectural system (facade or roof or integrated solution).

At the end students are required to provide a consistent and synthetic illustration of their research related to their design concept that will be presented next Monday in a poster presentation session.

For this work the suggestion is to read the following documents and expand their research trough the Mailab Resources and everything could be interesting for this task.

The Building Envelope. G.Ridolfi

Adaptive Facade Europe Network


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