Home - Students - My Studies - Courses - P - Content

Parametric Modeling in Design



Wei Yan, JuanliGuo



Course Name: Parametric Modeling in Design

Course Code: S2293182

Semester: 2

Credit: 4

Program: Building

Course Module: Architecture

Responsible: Wei Yan,


E-mail: wyan@tamu.edu


Department:Tianjin International Engineering Institute

Time Allocation(1 credit hour = 45 minutes)





Internship (days)

Personal Work







Course Description

This course covers the following topics:

• Parametric modeling principles, methods, and applications in environmental design and research

• architectural geometry at basic and advanced levels

• parametric equations and models

• visual programming method

• scripting method

• constraints, rules, and algorithms

• elements and patterns of parametric design

• parametric simulation

• modeling tools


Mathematics, Physics, Introduction to Architecture

Course Objectives

To gain knowledge of architectural computing methods cantered on parametric modelling that they can apply to professional practice in design studios, thesis work, and research.

To understand basic and advanced parametric design technologies that can be used to understand complex architectural geometry, identify appropriate building parameters, understand parametric design algorithms, and use computer visual programming and scripting to implement their parametric design prototypes.

Course Syllabus

  • Architectural geometry

  • Parametric equations and models

  • Visual programming

  • Scripting

  • Constraints, Rules, and Algorithms

  • Parametric simulation

  • Applications



Required Reading


Course Introduction

Geometric and Parametric Modeling - Getting Started

Lecture notes


Geometry: Vector representation

Geometry: Vector operations

Lecture notes


Geometry: Matrices and Transformations

Geometry: Parametric Curves and Surfaces

Lecture notes


Geometry: NURBS (1)

Geometry: NURBS (2)

Lecture notes


Visual Programming - Data Stream Matching and Functions

Visual Programming - List and Data Management

Lecture notes


Project 1 Assignment

Algorithmic Design - Physically-based Modeling

Lecture notes


Algorithmic Design – Voronoi

Algorithmic Design - L-System and fractals

Lecture notes


Algorithmic Design – Genetic algorithm

Algorithmic Design – Cellular Automata

Lecture notes


Data Structure Revisited

Parametric Simulation

Lecture notes


Midterm Project Presentation

Scripting Method (1)

Lecture notes


Scripting Method (2)

Scripting Method (3)

Lecture notes


Scripting Homework Review; Final Project Assignment

External Data

Lecture notes


Parametric Design Patterns

Parametric Design Research

Lecture notes


Final Presentation (1)

Final Presentation (2)

Lecture notes

Total 100 points possible

Grading will be based on performance on a set of quizzes, homework assignments, projects, and class participation using the following percentage distribution:

Quizzes: 8%

Class Participation: 4%

Projects (including Homework assignments): 88%

Midterm Project: Parametric Modeling and Physically based Form Finding (44%)

Homework assignments 15 points

Information collection 5 points

Parametric form 25 points

Parametric, physically-based model 15 points

Analyses 5 points

Visualization and documentation 17 points

Presentation 8 points

Exceptional work 10 points

Total 100 points possible

Final Project: Algorithms and Scripting for Parametric Design (44%)

Homework and tutorials 15 points

Parametric models (algorithms/scripting) 30 points

Project Documentation 20 points

Research Paper on the application 15 points

Final presentation 10 points

Exceptional work 10 points

Total 100 points possible

Textbooks & References

Lecture Notes

• A Pottmann, H., Asperl, A., Hofer, M., and Kilian. Architectural Geometry. Bentley Institute Press, 2007.

• Jane Burry and Mark Burry. The New Mathematics of Architecture. Thames & Hudson. 2010.

• Andrew Payne and RajaaIssa. The Grasshopper Primer (2rd ed), (http://www.liftarchitects.com/journal/2009/3/25/the-grasshopper-primer-second-edition.html)

• RajaaIssa, Essential Mathematics For Computational Design (2rd ed)

• Robert Woodbury, Elements of Parametric Design, (1sted). 2010. ISBN: 978-0415779876

Capability Tasks

CT2: To apply relevant professional knowledge to the field of science and technology: understanding of the basic concepts and its connotation, application of different methods and concepts which have been learned, capability of judging the scope and limitations of such applications.

CT3: To grasp methodologies and engineering tools: identifying, utilizing and solving problems. Even if the students are not familiar with the content, they can turn to computer tools for systematic analysis.

CS1: Apply design software and performance software for intelligent design of ecological building;


• To understand architectural computing methods centered on parametric modeling. –Level: M

• To be able to apply the parametric modeling to professional practice in design studios, thesis work, and in research. –Level: A

• To master the technology for basic and advanced parametric design. –Level: M

• To identify appropriate building parameters. –Level: A

• To understand parametric design algorithms. –Level: N

• To be able to use computer visual programming and scripting to implement their parametric design prototypes. –Level: A

Students: Building, Year 3