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Breaking down the benefits of Grasshopper and Tekla products Interoperability

 Grasshopper drives "automatic" geometry creation inside Tekla products

Seamless interoperability has emerged as a critical element in the open BIM initiative within the construction industry. BIM is essentially a collaborative process, not a software application or platform. Streamlining data exchange and fostering collaboration among all project stakeholders, including architects, designers, detailers, contractors, and others, has become imperative to reuse BIM data and enjoy seamless collaboration for all project participants. The goal is to enhance productivity, accuracy, and speed in construction work by utilizing a single model as the ultimate source of truth throughout the project. Therefore, it is essential for construction software and tools to integrate seamlessly.

Discover how Grasshopper drives "automatic" geometry creation inside Tekla products and how this parametric workflow enables a fast design iteration that benefits engineers from an early design stage when considering various design options and a later stage when design changes occur. 

 Grasshopper can generate real-time feedback on the performance of the design

What is Grasshopper?

Grasshopper is a powerful visual programming language and environment widely used in architecture, engineering, and construction (AEC). It extends the popular NURBS modeling tool Rhino with algorithmic modeling functionality to allow users to easily create and manipulate complex 3D models using a node-based interface. With Grasshopper, users can quickly generate parametric designs, automate repetitive tasks, and explore different design iterations.

Another critical benefit of Grasshopper is its ability to provide data that can be used to improve design and analysis. By integrating with other analysis software, Grasshopper can generate real-time feedback on the performance of the design, allowing for immediate adjustments to be made. This ensures the design's structural integrity and streamlines the design process by eliminating the need for manual calculations.

Grasshopper and Tekla Products combine their capabilities to quickly create a highly detailed and accurate digital model of the building's design

From the architect's vision to detailing a truly constructible model

When it comes to creating successful building projects, architects, engineers, and contractors must work together seamlessly to ensure the highest level of collaboration and coordination. This is where BIM modeling comes in, and thankfully, tools like Grasshopper and Tekla Products make it possible.

Grasshopper and Tekla Products combine their capabilities to quickly create a highly detailed and accurate digital model of the building's design, starting from the architect’s vision to the conceptual design and the first version of the model that can later be shared with engineers and contractors to get more constructible and detailed. The beauty of reusing data is that it speeds up the process by reducing rework and minimizing errors. 

In some cases, structural engineers might question the benefit of making their model fully parametric, as the large design features like the number of floors or the structure's shape mainly come from the architect or client and won't be decided on by the engineer. That being said, it is beneficial for structural engineers to use a fully parametric model when collaborating with architects, especially as the architects often use Rhino and Grasshopper.

Ensuring a good workflow between the architect and the engineer is essential for this collaboration. By sharing parts of their definitions or at least the parameters and algorithms they are using, the structural engineer can build their structural model based on the same script as the architect. This means that when it's time to hand over the design or the updates, the engineer doesn't need to receive many drawings or a substandard model. Instead, they can receive just the new parameters, and the design gets updated as soon as the architect decides to make any changes.

With their advanced structural analysis and detailing capabilities, Tekla products have become renowned in the field. Trimble introduced the Grasshopper and Tekla Structures live link to the algorithmic modeling tool Grasshopper in 2016 and later the Grasshopper and Tekla Structural Designer in 2018. Since then, these integrations have been distinguished as a development that truly presents an opportunity for designers to create efficient and effective designs.

Additionally, the integration between Tekla Structures, Tekla Structural Designer, and Grasshopper facilitates a smooth “live” exchange of information and collaboration between these platforms. This seamless integration empowers structural design engineers to leverage visual programming and sophisticated analysis tools to generate accurate and innovative designs. Through Grasshopper's 3D modeling and parametric design tools, intricate parametric models can be created “live” in Tekla Structures or Tekla Structural Designer for deep analysis, truly constructible detailing, and documentation. The streamlined design process results in time savings and increased accuracy, improving the overall quality of the final design.

Overall, the interoperability between Grasshopper and Tekla Products has opened new possibilities for design optimization and collaboration in the construction industry.  Well-known and recognized construction projects such as Randselva Bridge (Norway), King's Cross R8 ( The UK), T2 Alliance, Helsinki Airport (Finland), Ovalo Monitor Bridge (Peru), among others have benefitted from the interoperability between these products. 

Discover how ARUP has used Grasshopper and Tekla Products in their project: 

Benefits of using Grasshopper with Tekla Products in a nutshell 

Using Grasshopper in conjunction with Tekla Products offers numerous benefits for structural design engineers: 

  • Seamlessly live data flow between platforms: The integration between these two solutions allows for a seamless concurrent data exchange, eliminating the need for manual data entry or file import/export. This not only saves time but also ensures accuracy throughout the design process.
  • Fast design iterations: Engineers can benefit from fast design iterations when they aim to optimize the structural design, for example, when they consider hundreds of options effortlessly in the early stages of the design process or later when changes occur. 
  • Easily create accurate designs with 3D modeling capabilities: The 3D modeling capabilities of Grasshopper, combined with the specialist analysis, design, and detailing tools of Tekla Products, enable users to create intricate, customizable, and accurate designs.
  • Enhance collaboration: The interoperability between Grasshopper and Tekla Products promotes teamwork and creates new possibilities for design optimization and process efficiency. 

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