Why Swift – Main Characteristic
For any given modeling software using for architectural design, basically it could be reviewed and evaluated from three aspects – modeling ability, documentation ability and user interface.
(1) Sketch Model and Architectural Model: Unlike traditional modeling method that users work on final architectural model directly, for most of time, in swift users only deal with sketch model and its database and parameters. Sketch model, with its data, will generate final architectural model automatically. Compared with architectural model, sketch model has much less geometries. This make it much easier to be observed, created and modified.
(2) Parametric Automata: Architectural components are weaved with complicated relationship. This relationship has been mostly summarized as a clear parametric one among digital geometries in Swift, therefore users can build up their model with parametric automata.
(3) No Transfer: Users can work on 3D model, which is mainly for exterior and interior design, and 2D model, which is mainly for plan/programming/circulation study in the same software and file. Thus users no longer need to be bothered with transferring files among different software as the old way.
(4) 2D or 3D: As traditional method, plan study and exterior/interior design are still separated, and plan study maintains using 2D modeling. The reasons are that we hardly observe plan from 3D view and modeling plan in 3D hugely increases the amount of geometries and thus decreases operating speed. This makes users waste a lot of time for waiting and influences users’ efficiency severely. But, in swift 2D plan can be transferred to 3D automatically, as well as 3D exterior/interior skins change to 2D easily.
(5) New Commands: Swift adds to Rhino some general modeling tools, which are suitable for architectural modeling.
(1) 3D to 2D: The plugin can help users generate plans/elevations/sections automatically, if users have already built up 2D and 3D model.
(2) Architectural Express: Those architectural symbols, such as dimension, grid bubble, level token, and elevation/section symbol, can be created easily. And their drawing scale can be adjusted.
(3) Building Information: The basic building information, such as building area, building height, floor numbers, parking lots numbers can be calculated automatically.
3 User Interface
(1) Learnability: Although there are about one hundred commands in Swift, most of them are very similar to those old modeling and documentation methods. In another word, users can understand and learn Swift at ease.
(2) Management: By visibility control, filter and group editor, the plugin strengthens the management of objects – sketch components (massing/grid/ panel/token), architectural components (columns/wall/…), database (parameters/class and type/reference). On the other hand, it is also noticed to avoid making the management too complicated and inconvenient.
(3) Model Space: By customizing rhino, the modeling space could be suitable for architectural observation, like Sketchup and Revit.
The primary goal of Swift is to help architects save time from modeling and documenting, accordingly they can spend more time and energy on design itself. Furthermore it is also valuable for providing design diversity and ensure high design quality.
One point, highlighted here, is that the current version can only provide the first stage and the overall frame, because of the writer’s limitation of both computer knowledge and his personal energy. Many functions need to be improved and refined, and a lot of complicated parametric relationship has not been cleared up. The writer will continue to develop and improve the plugin and add in new functions.