• The success of an architectonic parasite in a prehistoric legacy

    When we think about the use of architectural programs such as Rhino, Norman Foster or Zaha Hadid works come into our minds. However, Rhino goes beyond huge projects, NURBS or parametric complexity. In this blog, we want to look to broader horizons.

    When architects or engineers try to compare the best programs for their work, they opt for Rhino if they need free-form design, accurate modeling, complex curves, etc. However, this software offers many other possibilities.

    If, in addition, we add to it a tool like VisualARQ, technology will be at the service of creativity, not the other way round. For projects of any size.

    VisualARQ, a free-form architectural software, analyzes the design of the Monteagudo Museum

    VisualARQ, a free-form architectural software, analyzes the design of the Monteagudo Museum.
    Image by David Frutos

    Back to the beginning. Large buildings? Projects with brilliant and evocative titles? Not necessarily.

    Concrete and metal engraving. Solidity and lightness.

    Concrete and metal engraving. Solidity and lightness. Image by David Frutos

    There are alternative options: the Madrid based Amann, Cánovas and Maruri studio, for example, speaks of its Monteagudo Museum Visitor Center project with these words: "This building is, without doubt, a parasite."

    A parasite in the best sense, that of mimesis and adaptation. A fruitful exchange of energy.

    Monteagudo is a small town in the province of Murcia, Spain. It was not difficult to choose the best location for a new museum: they simply had to go with the flow of local history. A nearby hill is the physical representation of the town's history.Thanks to its privileged position, it was chosen as a settlement by the inhabitants of this region from prehistoric times! There are the remains of an argaric village from the Bronze Age dated 2000 years BC, an Iberian settlement from the IV century BC, a Roman site from the 1st century AD, an Arab village, a Christian chapel, as well as the remains of a castle from the year 1000.

    Archaeological remains integrated in the new building

    Archaeological remains integrated in the new building. Image by www.monteagudo.info

    Imagine for a moment that they are architects and are commissioned to create a work that, over time, will leave its trail with these illustrious precedents. Real History. The lucky ones were Atxu Amann, Andrés Cánovas and Nicolás Maruri, who employed Rhino software.

    The Visitor Center is just where the prehistoric and Roman settlements existed. On the one hand, the Center had to preserve the remains and allow its study. On the other hand, it had to adhere to the skin of the mountain crowned by a castle and a chapel and coexist with them. When spotted from the mountain top or from the towers of the castle, the museum should look as just one more relief.

    The construction was designed using Rhino software

    The construction was designed using Rhino software. Image by David Frutos

    The terrain orography affects any construction. In this case, since it is a building that will receive visits, they have opted for ramps. Double advantage: they facilitate the access for all types of visitors and, at the same time, let the building fit into the environment. The construction has a "U" shape, and leaves a baroque chapel in its center.

    The design of this modern building leaves a baroque chapel in its center

    The design of this modern building leaves a baroque chapel in its center. Image by David Frutos

    What about the cladding? This parasite has metal skin, fully covered with a plant-like design inspired by the natural surroundings.

    Metal coating is inspired by the forms of the surrounding nature

    Metal coating is inspired by the forms of the surrounding nature. Image by David Frutos and Zeisterre

    The ground floor has been designed as an open space, a temporary refuge. The designers have created an urban building that is open to the neighbors and acts as a shelter in the shade under the burning sun of Murcia. Its walls are of concrete, with movable metal panels.

    The building entrance integrates into the urban fabric

    The building entrance integrates into the urban fabric. Image by David Frutos

    The temporary exhibitions are on the upper floor rooms. Through their windows, you can contemplate nature and the castle. A multiple sheets panel, sealed with a hot waterproofing process, forms its metallic structure. The shell of this peculiar parasite is coated with corten steel perforated with patterns that remind of the vegetation. Through them, the light is filtered inside the building.

    Access to the temporary exhibitions area of the Museum

    Access to the temporary exhibitions area of the Museum. Image by David Frutos

    The steel trusses are clearly contemporary because of their material, but also remind us of Arab latticework.

    The sheet of water in the interior takes our imagination to those typical in ancient Arabic architecture.

    Parallelism between the use of water in contemporary architecture and in the traditional Arabic one

    Parallelism between the use of water in contemporary architecture and in the traditional Arabic one. Image by David Frutos and Zeisterre

    More than 700 years ago, through some Arab wood or stone latticework, one could contemplate this hill. Today, centuries later, through another metal lattice, we can glimpse the same landscape. Besides, this museum allows us to approach the ancient sites and see the remains of our ancestors’ lifestyle.

    On this hill of Murcia, we become aware that we are not the first ones. Let's hope that neither the last ones. The Monteagudo Museum Visitor Center will be our footprint.

    The remains of the Monteagudo castle can be seen from the Museum

    The remains of the Monteagudo castle can be seen from the Museum. Image by David Frutos

    • Source: Estudio Amann, Cánovas y Maruri
    • Architects: Atxu Amann Alcocer, Andrés Cánovas Alcaraz, Nicolás Maruri González de Mendoza
    • Technical Architect: Rafael Checa
    • Location: San Cayetano Square. Monteagudo. Murcia (España)

    (Article by M.A. Núñez)

  • New VisualARQ Grasshopper Components exercises: Create slabs and stairs

    You can follow these easy step-by-step exercises to learn how to create slabs and stairs in Grasshopper using VisualARQ Grasshopper Components.

    Create a stair:

    This exercise shows the basic steps to create a VisualARQ stair in Grasshopper. First assign a curve to the stair as the path, and then define the other stair parameters (height, number of steps, steps dimensions, alignment, stair slab start and end thickness, etc.).

    Since it is not possible in the current version of VisualARQ (1.8) to create stairs from curve types other than lines, polylines or arcs, it is not possible to do so in Grasshopper either. In future versions of VisualARQ, stairs will be able to be created from any curve type.

    If you select an arc as the stair path, you will create a spiral stair.

    The exercise also shows how to create new stair styles and a trick to flip the stair direction.

    Once you bake the stair, it becomes a native VisualARQ stair object in Rhino.

    VisualARQ stairs in Grasshopper

    Create slabs:

    This exercise shows different examples to create and edit VisualARQ slabs in Grasshopper.

    • 1. Create a slab.
    • 2. Define the slab parameters.
    • 3. Subtract a boundary from a slab.
    • 4. Link stair contours with slab holes.
    • 5. Create multilevel slabs from a volume.

    When slabs are baked, they become native VisualARQ slabs in Rhino, as all VisualARQ objects created in Grasshopper.
    VisualARQ slabs in Grasshopper

  • Visit the Galaxy of architectural software: VisualARQ and Lumion

    We at VisualARQ believe in collective intelligence. What matters is that together we add more potential to get where we want to. Everybody helps.

    Lumion adds light effects to the visualizations of VisualARQ architectural software

    Lumion adds light effects to the visualizations of VisualARQ architectural software. Image: © http://es.wikipedia.org/wiki/Luz

    We all develop this phenomenon together every day, through the Internet network itself, for example. Our professional network revolves around two main axes: architectural software and Rhino. However, besides us many other planets also orbit these large suns. We are all developing software for several uses. Together, our galaxy expands: Grasshopper, BIM, Parametrics, IFC, Landscape, Geolocation, Model animation...

    At VisualARQ we look at our own software through a microscope. However, to see what is moving around us - sometimes at the speed of light - we take a spotting scope, a periscope, a telescope or whatever it takes. Light? Let's talk about it.

    We love to hear how satisfied you are with the models you create with VisualARQ but, let us not fool ourselves, the textures that our software allows you to apply would look terrific with some extra magic light. The magic provided by rays, metallic or iridescent reflections and subtle twinkles.

    So, we invite you to embark on this interstellar journey with destination Lumion.

    With it, your VisualARQ model will not only come alive, it will literally come out of your screen! You will be able to create high quality videos that will leave their mark on your customers. At this point, you must have realized that developing a good architectural project, both technically and aesthetically, is not enough. You must be able to show it as the great star that it is meant to be. Because a good product stands out even more with the right presentation. Furthermore, it is BIM integrated.

    Continue reading...

  • Architecture and sport: a stadium for the new gladiators

    Let's get frivolous.

    It's about time, since our latest analyses of architectural projects focused on plenty of cultural equipments, such as schools, big museums , small museums, public libraries, university pavilions, exhibitions, interviews with architects… Today we bring out our most primitive instincts. Let’s go to football!

    VisualARQ presents the Aviva Stadium in Dublin

    VisualARQ presents the Aviva Stadium in Dublin. Image Populous.

    We have to come to terms with the fact that a sporting event brings together more assistants than ever will attend, for example, a library. Sports facilities are enjoyed by thousands of people who tend to visit them on a more regular basis than people who usually go to a library. And they do so in a very different mood from the one arising from a visit to an exhibition or a garden.

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  • How to export a Rhino model to Archicad using IFC

    Do you jump from software to software because you are restless by nature?

    We are sure that this gives you great satisfaction, but also major complications. We won’t try to convince you to settle down and be faithful to one specific program, but at least we are giving you a trick so that your playfulness won’t put you into trouble.

    On our YouTube channel, you will find a new video explaining how to export files from Rhino to Archicad using IFC files.

    Do you have a model containing walls, windows or other objects created with VisualARQ? And polysurfaces in Rhino?

    It’s very easy: each floor information can be exported to an IFC file, which you can then open from Archicad.

    VisualARQ objects will keep their properties. You can edit them or unlock the layers you wish.

    Check the following step-by-step video to see how this works in 3 minutes:

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  • In architecture, small can be very big

    When we at VisualARQ choose an architectural project, we usually opt for the most complex in terms of size, originality, materials or use. It is simple and convenient, since we want to present the wide range of options that Rhino offers –as well as our software- and high caliber constructions are ideal for this.

    However, not only the large architecture firms use VisualARQ, or Rhino in general. The vast majority of architects work in very different conditions. Without huge budgets or possibilities of international publicity.

    Even without those incentives, they must perform works that demonstrate their technical expertise and their creativity talents. They must satisfy the customer, meet deadlines and stay within the budget. And be excellent in their execution.

    VisualARQ, a 3D free-form software, analizes the architectural design of the museum

    VisualARQ, a 3D free-form software, analizes the architectural design of the museum. Vía Brooks+Scarpa

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  • Rhino, VisualARQ and Grasshopper workshops: your summer temptation

    Rhino + VisualARQ for Architecture - July 19-20, by SomewhereSomething

    Take advantage of this training opportunity.

    This summer, in Los Angeles, several courses on Rhino, Grasshopper and VisualARQ will take place. You have two ways to approach this:

    • The first one: you are a very formal and disciplined professional, interested in expanding your knowledge about the world of Rhino and Rhino-related products. There is so much to discover! In four short and intense workshops, you will get to know more about the software that will make your work in architecture much easier.
    • The second one: you are a busy professional who deserves a break without feeling guilty. Sunny California is waiting for you. In addition to touring Los Angeles, taking a close look at the beaches, succumbing to the temptation of going up along the Big Sur coast to San Francisco, you can devote a few days to your perfect alibi: attending some workshops on computer software, which will prove so useful when you’ll get back to your work.

    In both cases, check out this tempting offer by SomewhereSomething. You can sign up for one or several courses:

    • Advanced Rhino: Case Study - June 21-22
      Participants will use Rhino to model a residential project in detail. The model will then be “sliced” up to create a standard set of architectural drawings.
    • Intro to Grasshopper - June 28-29
      This 2-day introduction to Grasshopper will focus on an overview of the plug-in, geometry types, geometry construction and transformation, list and data tree management.
    • Rhino + VisualARQ for Architecture - July 19-20
      This session will focus on Rhino’s powerful drafting & layout tools. VisualARQ plug-in will also be used to add architectural features and parametric architectural objects that generate and update 2D drawings in real-time.
    • Armed Forces - August 2-3
      Each participant will fabricate and assemble a small prototype of a multi-axis arm, controlled with a variety of sensory inputs. The project will be developed in Grasshopper and Firefly, using the Arduino microcontroller.

    It’s impossible not to find any of these courses attractive. Go ahead and take a look!

    2558 N. San Fernando Rd, Studio A8
    Los Angeles, CA 90065

  • VisualARQ 1.8 available

    Esglesia Hidden Render 980

    VisualARQ 1.8 is now available for download. Owners of VisualARQ are encouraged to download and install VisualARQ 1.8. This is a free service release for all VisualARQ users.

    Download it!

    1. If you are a VisualARQ user, download VisualARQ 1.8
    2. If you are an Evaluation user, download the new Evaluation version to test the new features.

    New price:

    VisualARQ 1.8 price will change. This change will be effective from August 1st 2014 and will only affect commercial licenses.

    Hurry up and purchase VisualARQ before the price changes!

    What’s new in 1.8:

    This version has more new features and enhancements than ever, including:

    • New parametric Curtain Wall object. (Video)
    • Section attributes on VisualARQ and Rhino objects: set the line widths, print colors, hatch patterns, etc. on any kind of geometry for display and printing purposes. (Video)
    • Texture mappings on VisualARQ objects: no need to explode the VisualARQ objects anymore to assign texture materials on them and apply surface, box, cylindrical mappings, etc. More information.
    texture mapping
    • New Level Manager: shows and hides levels easily. (Video)
    • Wall layers in 3D: wall layers are now shown in Section views and can have different materials for rendering purposes.
    Wall layers in 3D 100
    • Improved IFC exporter: models are much better exported to IFC for Revit, ArchiCAD, Solibri, etc. with a minor loss of information. (More information)
    • More object styles and beam profiles added: full AISC and European standard beam styles added to VisualARQ templates.
    Beams 100
    • New Tag object: displays VisualARQ objects information in 2D labels. (More information)
    New Plan View
    • Help also available in Spanish, German, Italian and French.
    • Zoo support: shares VisualARQ licenses among users on the same network workgroup.

    VisualARQ 1.8 fixes all known bugs and also includes many enhancements. See the complete list in What’s new.

  • A Rhino project takes the stage

    Shopping malls are often referred to as the temples of our time. The place we all attend to with almost religious regularity and faith in the virtues of consumption, regardless of our social class or ideology. While contemporary architecture creates churches which awake a feeling of security and retreat, shopping malls enhance their appeal with spectacular dazzle.

    VisualARQ presents a Rhino architectural design by UNStudio

    VisualARQ presents a Rhino architectural design by UNStudio. Image: Edmon Leong (via UNStudio)

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  • The architecture of a national library speaks the language of the city

    VisualARQ, the free-form 2D and 3D architecture software, studies architectural designs worldwide.

    VisualARQ, the free-form 2D and 3D architecture software, studies architectural designs worldwide. Image: J. J. Pan & Partners

    VisualARQ understands what’s behind an architect: a creator and a technician. Not just someone who imagines and sketches, but also someone who listens to human needs to offer solutions and masters the technique that will make them possible. Someone who deciphers a code and makes it his own.

    Architects want to leave their mark on their commissioned works, put a personal stamp on the projects undertaken. They often don’t build in desolate wastelands but in urban plots where their work should be integrated and, over time, become another link in the chain of buildings. Besides, they must meet the needs of the inhabitants of the environment, whether they will be users of the new property or not. They must find ways to reconcile their creativity with the personality of the place.

    Each one of us reads the reality surrounding us in a different way, but we have common codes. Those inherited from the past are part of our cultural heritage, but the new codes that arise in the present must reconcile their originality with the fact of being recognizable, otherwise they won’t become part of our language. Sometimes, contemporary architecture is blamed to be narcissist because it raises groundbreaking buildings that overwhelm the surroundings – impressive large moles of cement, steel or glass speaking a different language than that of the city.

    However, we also find evidences that architecture can start a modern discourse reinterpreting ancient languages and create a building with its own style that finds its place in the urban fabric. The National Library of Public Information in Taichung (Taiwan) is a good example of the above said and, besides, it responds to social and individual needs.

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