Developing Better Planning Tools for Autodesk Revit
Revit is a great BIM production tool; but is it where designers take their first steps? Revit offers some preliminary design tools such as conceptual massing, but many users have found that starting designs in Revit can be a clunky method for digesting all of the initial information and limitless possibilities that exist early on in a project.
At VA+ we have explored adaptive component based planning tools that are targeted towards the design process and can help designers understand common limitations and constraints early on. We used zoning code constraints as a target for our first tool: The ZONEBLOCK. This tool is a parametric family designed to digest all the zoning code information that affects building massing, and then display a form that shows the maximum extents of these conditions. (Setbacks, Height limitations, Bulk Planes, etc.) This presents the relevant code information in a fast and graphic manner, that designers can quickly analyze and evaluate to inform their next design decisions.
Researching the Denver Zoning Code; (Denver Zoning Code) we explored multiple building types for the Urban Edge District to help target our tool development. In addition to quickly showing the maximum mass and area for a project, this design tool would also give designers the ability to evaluate their proposed design by overlaying the ZONEBLOCK to check for any building element exceeding limitations set by the code.