Parametric Design Software

Development of a Parametric Membrane Design Software

Thomas Stephan Dirk Dührsen
In partial fulfillmentof the requirements for the degree of Master Membrane Structures
Anhalt University of Applied Sciences, Faculty of Architecture

With this Master Thesis by Thomas Stephan Dirk Dührsen, author is showing how the power and benefits of reusable and interchangeable logic and algorithms can be applied to the workflow of designing membrane structures especially for the steps of sketching, form finding, structural analysis, three dimensional visualizations and patterning.

The focus is on membranes made of fabrics, but cable nets and structures covered with ETFE cushions could also be dealt with. The main work this document is based on was the development of a software library which seamlessly integrates into the parametric design plugin Grasshopper of the Rhino3D CAD system.

But since the focus of the study program is on Tensile Architecture, aspects of software engineering are treated and documented only on a very high level. The focus is rather on the use cases for membrane design and visualization of the results from form finding and structural analysis.

The test results and examples listed in the document show that it was possible to finish all relevant assignments from the study program with this software. In addition, and even more important, the software is now being used successfully in real live customer projects to build beautiful membranes.

The reader should have a general understanding of tensile architecture and tasks commonly executed when designing membranes. Experience with working in 3D CAD software is assumed as well.

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