After the introduction of the PC in 1981 and the availability of "off the shelf" CAD software the computer started to get a foothold in the architectural design environment.


With the large drawing load of the modern architectural practice caused by the fragmentation of the design process in various specialism's, legislation and communication with industry the first wide spread digital applications where focused at optimization of the drawing process. Today this communication is still primarily supported by 2 dimensional shop drawings of the design drawn with strict conventions in support of the readability.


Supported by the continuous increase of computing and graphics power (Moore's Law, 1965) and the availability of affordable hardware and software solutions the step towards a 3 dimensional architectural digital design environment is taken by a growing group of designers.


The advantage of 3 dimensional representation isn't limited to a more effective form of representation as it can require only a single digital model to describe the design 3 dimensions. This unambiguous representation contains more information than the 2d representation and can be used as an effective basis for communication and extracting data for analysis, simulation and digital manufacturing in 3 dimensions.

The implementation of accurate 3D digital design representations as a source of digital manufacturing and communication between the actors of the design and assembly process is not new. Already used in the aero-space industry and the automotive industry, the highly detailed and accurate 3D models were effectively used to enhance communication with the many sub contractors and to simulate and analyze the design decisions. There are used to cut the time to develop a new models in the automotive industry in more than half, making the companies more competitive. Although the complex highly detailed 3D digital master models of the design have massive memory and computing requirements, the technique is starting to be implemented in architecture as the development and use of Digital Project by Gehry Technologies illustrates.


This is complicated by the rapid development of computer power and new functionality of the software which generates a very fluid environment of technical development. In contrast traditional design tools may have their roots going back centuries or even millennia (Porter 1979). The digital design support tools which are available are numerous and diverse, however the properties of the tools will define their suitability for implementation in the design process.




The assignment

E - Learning.



The explanation on how to use the software is provided online. Make sure you have learned the appropriate online material before the beginning of the workshop

WEEK 0 Quick start








All relevant online material


Important notes regarding the course



  • The CAD1 course consists of 7 - 4 hour workshops.


  • The workshops will have a theme related to the status of your design process


  • The workshops start in week 1


  • Each workshop will start with a short lecture related to the topic of the workshop.


  • The rest of the workshop we will help you to effectively use the digital design environment for your project.


  • You are asked to hand in your 3D digital sketch of your proposal in week 3. Together with the 3D file you will add a pdf explaining the design (for the exact content and time to hand in please take a look at the Handing in tab)


  • At the end of the course you are asked to hand in a group report explaining the design process and the implementation of the digital design options for your design (for the exact content and time to hand in please take a look at the Handing in tab)


  • The explanation on how to use the software is provided online Be aware there is very little teaching of software during the workshops!


  • Make sure you have learned the appropriate online material before the beginning of the workshop


  • Attendance is compulsory - if you can't attend please let us know by mail


  • If you have any questions you also can drop by the office.



This course has an

 E- learning

    component !







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Sketch - Week 1-2-3

Development - Week 4-5-6

Data analysis and extraction - Week 7

Handing in

Downloads and links

Theme 1


Sketch phase


With an increased use of the computer in architectural design and engineering, the knowledge of how to apply the different techniques in the design process gains in importance. The right choice and use of digital design support can enhance the design process and create new alternatives in design and engineering to explore. In this workshop we will look at the application of digital design support in the sketch phase of design. By applying the curve based modeling technique a powerful design environment is created where there fast generation of 3 dimensional design variations can be supported.


In these first three weeks will will use Maya as a digital sketch environment. The software was originally developed for producing  high end animations which can be seen in films like " the Lord of the Rings",

"Avatar" and "Prometheus" .  This capability to visualize these creative complex scenes and geometries makes it so useful in the concept design phase.  A wide variety of tools are available  for generating geometry which aren't available in traditional design software.  Tools for example for  generating fabrics, water, grass, fur, trees, smoke and animated geometry.  Many of these tools have their roots in advanced simulation software. For the purpose of simulating real life effects needed in the film industry these tools where simplified and adapted so they can run faster.  Still they are for the sketch design phase very useful in generating fast simulations which can indicate the behavior of an object.



In this course we will take a look at several options which will be discussed during the workshop.


  • Animation techniques for form generation
  • Animation techniques for simulating movement of objects
  • Dynamic simulation for form generation
  • Geometry sculpting
  • Geometry paint
  • Paint effects
  • Fabric simulation


These are normally tools which are used to generate animated characters, dinosaurs,  scenes and landscapes.


The on-line workshops will contain the following parts ( it is important that you know this material before the start of the workshop):





In week 4 you will hand in your 3D digital sketch design with a short description ( single A4 in pdf ) of your design


! Be aware this course contains an E-Learning component !



Theme 2

Design development phase


Rhino NURBS modeling and introduction Grasshopper


Like the status of the design the functionality of the digital design support tools will change during the design process. In the concept design phase the possibility to support a flexible and fast modeling environment is key in generating the multiple design variations. In this workshop series we will further refine the design and define it accurately in 3 dimensions. This process will not only enhance the insight into the design but also provide the designer with a virtual basis for analysis and manufacturing. Rhino will support the further development of the design and provide a platform of file export to the various analysis and digital manufacturing applications.


The workshops will contain the following parts:


  •     Week 4  - Advanced Curve Based Modeling in Rhino - Introduction Grasshopper
  •     Week 5  - Advanced NURBS surface editing -  Grasshopper modeling
  •     Week 6  - Solid modeling and file conversion - Grasshopper editing


! This course contains an E-Learning component !


Maurice Ridder

Vincent van den Aardweg

Marc Nicolaï


Theme 3


Data analysis and extraction


The final phase focuses on the conversion of the digital data for analysis and manufacturing. The emphases of the workshops will be on the use of the 3 dimensional data for analysis and digital manufacturing. We will look at how the milling, laser cutting and 3d printing machines can be used and what kind of digital manufacturing techniques are available in the industry.


The workshop will contain the following parts:


  •     Week 7  - Solid modeling and data extraction

               MadCAM milling preparation in Rhino

               Rapid prototyping






! This course contains an E-Learning component !





What to hand in ?




  • Results are handed in trough InfoBase. Be sure to hand in all the components used in your main assembly; only the latest versions of files!


  • For files other than images and PDFs, you have to provide a thumbnail image. Make a screen-shot at low to medium resolution (1200x1200 max) of your component and use that as the thumbnail.


Hand in Week 3.4

In week 4 you have to hand in a 3D concept sketch model of your design. This 3D model should make clear the concept of your design. Together with the 3D files you will hand in a short description of your design and how the computer was used in the design process




Hand in Week 3.9

In week 2.9 you will hand in the group report and 3D files of your design.


The final report can be handed as a group.


Please make sure that you also add your sketch designs of the first three weeks, before the final design was selected. This report shouldn't be a copy of the general report. The focus should be on the use of the computer in the design process. It shouldn't be a general description of your design as such. The report should have a minimum of 13 pages of text.


 The report should contain:


    A general description of the sketch designs ( week3 ) of all the team members and the reason why the one was chosen.

    A general description of the designed façade. Text and images (sketches or renders)

    A description how the computer was used during the design process.

        In which phase was the computer used ( the process) Steps in which the 3d model was made and contributed in the     design decision making. (examples)

        Specific insight in the detailing of the façade due to the use of 3d digital data.

        Which software was primarily used and why.

        How was the interaction between the software Maya - Rhino.

        Used geometry types ( Nurbs – Solids - polygons) Why?

        Description of the final accurate 3d model. ( images ) 2d technical drawings ( Rhino – Dimensions – make 2D drawing )

    A description of how the 3D model was used in combination with other software like Diana – description of conversion ( surfaces or lines, iges or dxf) – and examples of the resulting calculation.

    A description of how the 3d model was used as a basis for one of the three rapid prototyping techniques. ( conversion, implementation in the design process) Why the specific technique? ( images)

    Conclusion regarding the use of the 3D model in the design process.


You will also make a virtual prototype of your design. This will be a highly accurate 3D file made in Rhino, Grasshopper or Maya of your design. It should be containing enough information that it could be manufactured without any additional 3d or 2D information.

Please hand in the 3D files. as Zip file or files to reduce file size. These are the files of the built prototype.


















Week 3.5 - 19-03-2017

Handing In the Maya model and A4 text

Click the button to upload your file

Week 3.10 - 23-04-2017

Handing In the report as pdf

Click the button to upload your file

Week 3.10 - 23-04-2017

Handing In the 3D model as ZIP or RAR

Click the button to upload your file

Workshop examples and other examples


         WS window import.dwg

         Cross-section of a window to import in Maya


         WS window imported in Maya

         If importing the DWG file doesn't work, use this Maya scene (Maya 2013 and higher)


         WS2 example complex shape.mb

         Example of complex shapes in Maya


         GH cross-sections

         Create cross-sections of a surface with Grasshopper


         GH sunsimulator

         Determine the direction of the sun with Grasshopper (update 13-10-2010)


         GH spaceframe

         Spaceframe example


Digital manufacturing



         Manual for preparing your Rhino files for the 3-axis milling machine



         Manual for preparing your AutoCAD files for the laser cutter


         3D Printing

         Manual for preparing your 3D files for the 3D printing machine




         Maya w/Network based TU Delft License

         Manuals (by @Hok) to install Maya using a network based TU Delft Educational license


         Maya w/Standalone Educational License (some limitations in functionality)

         Download and Install Maya from the Autodesk Education website using a standalone personal license


         Rhino 5.0

         Manuals (by @Hok) to install Rhino using a standalone personal TU Delft Educational license


         Grasshopper for Rhino

         Plug-in for Rhino for full history in Rhino and much more



         Great collection of plug-ins for Rhino and Grasshopper


Paul de Ruiter

Mark van Erk




Telnr +3127892136


Room 01+.West.040


Faculty of Architecture and the

Built Environment


Building 8


Julianalaan 134


2628 BL Delft