Align Tag Update

It is this time of the year again, and I have finally take the time to update Align on the App Store for the new version of Revit.

However, there is more in this than a simple version update, and this new release is packed with improvement, both small and large.

The main change reside in the alignment method. In the previous version of Align Tag, I was using the center point of a given tag as a reference to align tag (either left or right). To improve on the alignment of tags of various sizes, I now use the bounding box of the tag.


Tags will now properly align themselves along their right or left side, regardless of their size or origin point.


However, if you want something similar to the older version, you can use the new Align Center and Align Midlle commands, which will use the center of the tag as a reference.

This new alignment method is more in line with what can be found on solutions like PowerPoint, or Adobe Illustrator, and will allows you to neatly arrange your tag whatever their size or origin point.

Another important improvement is the long awaited support for Text. You can now align Text along with Tag, using the same command.

While I was at it, I also add support for Keynote tag, Room Tag and Space Tag, basically every tag. The Area Tag is still missing, but can be expected for the next version.

However, this support came at a cost, and I have to drop the support for Revit 2015 and prior. So, if you are still using this version, you will have to keep the old Align plugin.

There is also a handful of small UI improvement that I hope will help you.

Aligned tags are now kept selected after running the command so you can align them in another direction right away.

Your Align commands are also one click closer to you! The interface have been artfully arranged in a new tab to keep every icon directly accessible in the ribbon.


Under the hood, I have rewrote a large part of the code to support more types of annotation elements, and I hope to be able to use this new framework for more complex manipulations, including in the Arrange Tags function.

Of course, Align Tag is still open source, the entire code can be found on Bitbucket.

This plug-in is already available on the Autodesk App Store. If you like it, don’t hesitate to write a nice comment or add a few stars, it always means so much to me!

Bridge design

One of my colleague is currently working on bridge design with Revit. I have to admit, my first reaction was more like “Revit is not fit for bridge modeling, period”. But after some thought, I found Revit to be a pretty interesting solution to design these kind of infrastructures.

The main issue is that even a simple bridge has a rather complex geometry, with a double-curved alignment and potentially a variable cross section. There is various possibilities to create this kind of geometry in Revit, I will present only one of them here.

This entire article is mostly inspired by the work of Matthias Stark, from Autodesk, and its great AU 2015 class.

The alignment

The first issue we ran into while designing our bridge is the inability for Revit to create a real double-curved, 3D curve.
This is why I create my alignment in Rhino, and use Grasshopper to create a list of X, Y and Z coordinates that define points along my alignment. Another solution is presented by Matthias Stark in his class, where he is using AutoCAD Civil 3D to export the coordinates of the alignment in an Excel spreadsheet.

Once I have all my coordinates in an Excel file, I use a simple definition in Dynamo to create a series of reference points in a Mass family, and use these points to create a curve representing my alignment.


I also make sure that units in my Revit mass family are consistent with the unit of my alignment coordinates points.

The cross section

To create the cross section shape of my bridge, I use an adaptive family with a single adaptive point, which will be placed on our alignment.

The keep our cross section properly aligned with our bridge axe, I use the “Orient to” parameter of the adaptive point. By setting it to “Global (z) the Host (xy)”, I make sure than the X and Y axes (Red and Green) will follow my alignment, while the Z axe will stay vertical.

axesI make a few try before getting it right, but I was finally able to properly align my adaptive component with the divided path. Since the X (Red) axis will be tangent to the alignment, I had to draw my cross section in the “Center (Left/Right)” plane of the adaptive family.



The rest of the modeling is pretty straightforward. After placing the first adaptive component on a divided path based on our alignment, just select Repeat to place one on every division point, then decompose the Repeat pattern and create a form.



To create the cavity inside the bridge deck, I use the same divided path to place two cavity profiles (right and left) and create two void forms to cut into the bridge deck.


Section View

The main issue with this mass family is around dimensions. If you try to add dimensions directly on the Mass family in a section view, these dimensions will be anchored on the wrong point.


To be able to create section view anyway, I am using the adaptive component loaded in the Mass family. I make it visible in the project and draw a detail line along one of them. This detail line allows me to draw a section view perfectly aligned with my adaptive component


Since my section is perfectly aligned with my profile, it appears in the view and can be used as a reference for the dimensions. I temporary hide my mass family, place the necessary dimensions and show again the mass.

With this workaround, I was able to create a simple section view, with the proper dimensions.


Matthias Stark also present in his class an entire detailing process using Dynamo, and that I still have to explore this part. But his approach to bridge modeling allows me to create a great first draft, and I will keep on digging this solution.

Measuring ceiling heights

I recently have to measure the actual headroom of every room in an architectural model, and copy this value in a room parameter.

Instead of checking manually every room, I create a small Dynamo definition, based on the most underrated node in Dynamo, Raybounce.

The Raybounce.ByOriginDirection is basically a laser rangefinder for Dynamo. It works with an origin point and a direction, and give in return the first intersecting element, along with the point of intersection. It is pretty powerful, and its uses range from basic measurements to advanced Line Of Sight Analysis.


Using DynamoMEP, I retrieve every room in the model, and create a grid of points in each of them. These points are arbitrary spaced 50 cm apart, and serve as origin points for my Raybounce node.


Furthermore, in order to avoid that my laser beams hit the floor, I move my origin points 1 cm above the floor level.


The Raybounce.ByOriginDirection use these points, a Z vector as a direction and a 3D view. Since only elements visible in this view will be detected, I hide doors and stairs to remove interferences with these elements.


Along with the intersection point, the Raybounce.ByOriginDirection return the origin point that I filter out with a boolean mask.



I also make use of the List.Map node to perform any kind of operation (Flatten, Sort …) on the sublist containing the points while keeping them grouped by lists corresponding to the original rooms.


I finally calculate the headroom height, and retrieve the shortest one for each room. I pass this value to the Limit Offset parameter of the corresponding room.


Initially, every room’s Limit Offset is 2m.


After running the Dynamo script, every Limit Offset is updated to reflect the actual minimum headroom in each room. Since we have a sloped roof, the minimum headroom is not necessarily the ceiling, but can be the lower part of the roof.


Using the Raybounce node can be quite challenging, especially when it comes to sorting the resulting points, but it is totally worth the effort. You will find here the Dynamo definition, feel free to use it for your own project.

This was also the occasion for me to update DynamoMEP for Dynamo 1.0, and add a Grid function to create a nice array of point in a Room or a Space. As usual, you will find these updates in the Dynamo Package Manager.

Wall Openings (again)

I am kind of obsessed with wall openings. The entire process of asking a structural engineer for holes in its beloved wall to let ducts and pipes goes through has always been a rather frustrating experience.

After my first article about a semi-automated way for placing an opening family, here is my latest attempt at creating the perfect opening family.

A good opening family must have the following features:

  • hosted on a wall, a slab or a beam
  • visible in a 3D view
  • fully parametric
  • schedulable
  • sharable in its own model
  • a nice 2D representation

Lets explore these features.

To host them, but still keep the ability to share them in their own model, I use the Generic Model Face Base family template to create my opening family. This template allows me place my opening on any wall, slab or beam, even if they are in a linked model.

In this Generic Model, I create the Opening subcategory, where I will place every element of my opening. This will allow me to fine tune the display of my openings in my model.

I create a bunch of reference planes, and drive them with three shared parameters, Width, Height and Depth. These reference planes help me constrain the Void Form that will cut the host. This void form will create an actual hole in the wall or slab, and will allow me to perform accurate clash detections after integrating these openings.

To be able to see my opening in a 3D view, I draw some Model Lines to outline the general shape of the opening, and place them in the “Opening” subcategory. These Model Lines are only visible in 3D.

3D View

The 2D representation is a pretty complex subject, and I have yet to find the perfect solution. After some experiences with Model lines, I have switched to annotations elements. These annotations elements are drawn in two nested families, one for the projection symbol, the other for the cut symbol.

These annotation families are drawn in a Generic Model, with the “Opening” subcategory, in order to follow the same graphical rules than the main family.

I also use Masked Regions to draw filled patterns, and use the Generic Model Override in a plan view to fill them with black. I am not entirely satisfied with this solution, but the workaround involve Detail Items, and I don’t want to deal with two different categories.

PlanSection 1

Section 2

To display the elevation of my opening family in a tag, or a schedule, I create two shared parameter, Top Elevation and Bottom Elevation.

As I was searching for a solution to calculate the elevation, I notice a feature I wasn’t aware of, the “Schedule Level”, present since at least Revit 2015, that allow us to define a reference level. Revit use it to automatically calculate the corresponding elevation. Since this elevation cannot be used directly in a schedule or a tag, I use a Dynamo definition to update elevation values in my shared parameters. This Dynamo definition perform some simple calculation to retrieve Top and Bottom elevations, and send these values in the corresponding shared parameter.


My work with wall openings is far from complete, and subjects like sharing these openings, and managing their modifications are still pending. You will find here the different families, models and Dynamo definition used in this article, feel free to use or improve on them.

Using Dynamo for MEP Design – Part 2

This is the second part of my article, originally published in the official magazine of Autodesk User Group International, AUGIWorld.

Link between terminals and the main duct.

To fully exploit Duct sizing capabilities in Revit, we generally need a fully connected network between the mechanical equipment and Air Terminals. But drawing every duct for the entire networks from source to terminal can be time consuming and not relevant in the early phase of a project, when architectural layout is subject to major changes.

A possibility is to use Dynamo to virtually link every terminal to a placeholder family that will collect and sum Airflows in a given area and send the sum to a placeholder family used to perform duct sizing calculations on the main branch.


Revit provide us the Connect the main duct to “M_Rectangular Duct Connector – Supply Air – Air Terminal”. This is a generic terminal that will simulate the rest of the terminals. We connect this generic terminal to our main branch, and use it to simulate the rest of the duct networks.

The following Dynamo definition sums airflows of the selected Air Terminal and pass the value in the Airflow parameter of the placeholder family. This placeholder family now simulate the airflow of all selected air terminals. Since this family is connected to the main duct networks, we can now perform duct sizing for the main branch, without having to model the entire duct layout.


A word of warning anyway, since this placeholder family is integrated into the system, flow sum for the duct system is multiplied by two, since Revit count both the airflow of every air terminal and the airflow coming from the placeholder family.

Dynamo File

From Specified Airflow to actual terminal Flow

Another example of the power of Dynamo come when linking Air terminal to their enclosing MEP Space. In this example, we will see how to retrieve the required airflow in a given MEP Space, and distribute this value on every air terminal enclosed in this space.

We start by finding all MEP Space, and retrieving their “Specified Supply Airflow”. We also get all Air terminals, and use the Space.IsInSpace node to find if a given terminal is in the space. We make sure to set up the lacing of this node to “Cross Product” in order to test every Air Terminal with every MEP Space. This give us multiple lists of true or false indicating whether a given Air Terminal is in the space. With the usual combination of List.AllIndiceOf and GetItemAtIndex, we find our air terminals grouped by their enclosing space. We count the number of these terminals in each group, and use this count and a division to get the specified airflow on each terminal. The List.OfRepetedItem give us an instance of this specified airflow by terminal. We finally apply these value to these terminals with the Element.SetParameterByValue.


As we update the Specified Airflow of each MEP Spaces, this value will be divided by the number of terminal in the space, and applied to the said terminals.


Dynamo File

Terminal Max Flow

Another application of Dynamo is the real-time checking for max values in a given terminal equipment. In this example, we will check whether the airflow of a given terminal is below is max value, and highlight in red when the airflow is above the max value. In some way, this is similar to the conditional formatting function in Excel, except we are doing it directly into Revit.

We start by finding all air terminal unit in Revit with the “All Elements Of Category” node. Using the GetParameterValueByName, we get the Airflow on each of these air terminal. Since the Maximum Airflow is a type parameter, we use the FamilyInstance.Type node to retrieve the family type, then use again the GetParameterValueByName to find the “Max Flow”.

We can now compare this two values, and use the List.FilterByBooleanMask to find all terminals where Airflow is above the Max Airflow.


The last step is to override the color of these terminals to override by color to highlight the results.


This fairly simple example showcase the possibilities of Dynamo combined with the proper Revit objects library.

Dynamo File


Through these five examples, we see how to use Dynamo to enhance your calculation powers in Revit. It is clear by now that Revit is far more than a modeling tool, and once combined with Dynamo, it opens a lot possibilities for mechanical engineers.
Finally, I want to give my deepest thanks to Andrew Duncan, from Arup, for its great Autodesk university courses, where I get most of my inspiration for these examples.

Using Dynamo for MEP Design – Part 1

This two parts post was originally published in the official magazine of Autodesk User Group International, AUGIWorld.

Most examples of Dynamo focus on computational design and complex geometries. Many see Dynamo as a tool for creating complex geometry, and consider it from an architectural perspective. But Dynamo can be the powerful ally of every trade, all along the project life. By harnessing the data manipulation capabilities of Dynamo, you can largely improve on the current calculation features of Revit, and create new workflow for designing directly in Revit.

Through five use cases, I will present you some ideas for using Dynamo for mechanical engineering.

I will assume that you are already familiar with the interface and have a general understanding of how Dynamo works. Most examples below can be realized with “out of the box” Dynamo nodes, but to shorten my graph, I will make use of the following packages:

I will also use my own package, DynamoMEP, to manipulate Rooms and Spaces. All these packages are of course freely available on the Dynamo Package Manager. If Dynamo doesn’t include a lot of functionalities around Room, Space and Mechanical Equipment, I use extensively the Package Manager to enhance these functionalities and create new workflows for mechanical engineers.

A final word, try these examples on small models before running them in production, and work in “Manual” mode, a few graph I will use are quite hungry for memory.

Link between Room and Spaces

Rooms and Spaces are essential for everything from room names and numbers to energy modeling. And before anything else, you have to retrieve any architectural room and convert it into an MEP Space to be able to work with it. You can of course use the “Place Spaces automatically” function of Revit, but this does not match exactly every architectural room with a MEP Space, and lack some basic functionalities. To improve on this, you can use a few Dynamo nodes to create a MEP Space for every room in a given linked file.

The procedure focus on retrieving every room from the architectural linked file (with the Element.GetFromLinkedFile) and using these rooms to create a matching space using the Space.ByPoint node from DynamoMEP.


You can also retrieve parameters values from these architectural rooms and paste them into your newly created Spaces using the Element.SetParameterByName node.


As rooms evolve in the architectural model, you will be able to recreate on the fly the corresponding Spaces. However, be careful not to duplicate an existing space.

Dynamo File

Link between Excel and Spaces

One of the most featured use of Dynamo is the link with Excel spreadsheets. Theses nodes link two of our most used design tools, Excel and Revit.

For the mechanical engineer, this provide the ability to add programmatic values directly in Revit Spaces. In the following example, I will show you how to load the specified airflow value from an Excel spreadsheet. I will make extensive use of Dynamo lists, and present some ways to manipulate them.

We start with a path to an Excel file, and use it to feed the Excel.ReadFromFile node. This node read line by line the content of our Excel file. We remove the first line, the header, with the List.RestOfItems node, and use the Transpose node to convert our list of Excel rows into a list of Excel columns. By now, each list in our Dynamo node represent an Excel column.


With the List.GetItemAtIndex, we retrieve a list containing all MEP Space number and a list with their associate airflow.

To feed the “Specified Supply Airflow” parameter of our modeled Spaces, we need match them with the Space number in our Excel spreadsheet. To do so, we start by retrieving them (All Element of Category node), and get their number (Element.GetParameterValueByName).

The node List.FirstItemOf give us the row number of each of these Space Number in our Excel file. For each of our existing MEP Space in our model, we can now get the corresponding row in Excel.


Using the List.GetItemAtIndex, we get the required Airflow value in the Excel Spreadsheet. Before pasting them into Revit with the Element.SetParameterByName, we convert them to cubic foot, since Dynamo always work in Feet.


The entire business of retrieving values from Excel spreadsheet is generally only a matter of list, and nodes like Transpose, GetItemAtInded and FirstIndexOf are quite useful here. If this example only cover the specified airflow, it can of course be extended to every kind of data sorted in an Excel spreadsheet.

Just make sure that your MEP Space numbers match between your Excel file and your Revit model, since any discrepancy will make the FirstIndexOf fail.

Dynamo File

Next week, stay tuned for the second part of this post, where all secrets of airflow and terminals will be revealed.

MEP design and Dynamo

Most of the work we see with Dynamo involves designing complex parametric geometry. But Dynamo can also help you automate your design and make more informed decisions, even on the most ordinary cubic building.

A lot of tasks of the MEP engineer involves retrieving information from the architectural model and can be automated using Dynamo.

The first task of the MEP engineer is to retrieve rooms from the architectural model and create MEP Spaces from it. The “Place Spaces Automatically” Revit function can be useful here, but it is far from enough in many cases. There isn’t any control on the created spaces, and properties from the room cannot be added to the newly created space.

To improve on this function, I start exploring space creation in Dynamo. There isn’t much support for Room and Space built in Dynamo. Some package can fill this gap (Lunchbox from Nathan Miller and Clockworks from Andreas Dieckmann) but does not offer a complete solution. Furthermore, we need support for linked files, since architectural rooms are most of time in linked files.

So I create my own Dynamo package, called DynamoMEP. This package contains a set of nodes for creating and working with Room and MEP Space.


I use these custom nodes to create an MEP Space from every Room in a linked architectural project.

I start by retrieving linked rooms using SteamNodes, a great package from Juline Benoit. Using Element.GetFromLinkedFile gives me a list of rooms in the linked file (The Get Document came from the Grimshaw package).


Using the Room.FromElement node, I convert these linked elements into Rooms. I can now get their location points, and create my MEP spaces based on these points.


Still using the DynamoMEP package, I can retrieve basic properties from these spaces, like their origin point, their associated level and their bounding elements.


My model has now a matching MEP Space for every room created in the linked model. Since we are using Dynamo, we can have a much more sophisticated workflow, and retrieve specific properties in the rooms to have them added to the newly created space.

DynamoMEP is still in this infancy, and need a lot of improvement, so don’t hesitate to report any bug or missing feature. You can add an issue on Github, or post a comment below. I hope to add new features as I develop MEP workflows in Dynamo.


Details Items, subcategories and filled regions

I am currently working with multiple detail items to create a set of views for architectural detailing. These Detail Items must comply with a precise standard for color and line weights, and of course, be consistent all over the model.

To implement these requirements, I define a set of subcategories for these detail items. Let see how it works with these two wood windows details.


These detail items already contain various subcategories, and I can control the color, weight and patterns of their lines in Visibility Overrides. Here Medium Lines are blue and Light Lines are red. Interesting, but not quite enough.


I open these two detail items, go to Object Styles, and create four new subcategories: Wood, Glass, Sealant and Steel. I also remove the previous subcategories. I can now select all lines in the detail item, and assign corresponding subcategories to these lines. Once these detail items are loaded back in the model, the four Detail Item subcategories are visible in the Graphic Overrides window.

I can now control line color, weight and pattern directly in my model, in the Graphic Overrides window for the current view, or in the Object Styles window to apply these colors to every details in the model.


Sadly, there is no corresponding feature for managing filled region. As you can see in the picture above, the wood pattern is still in black.

In order to change pattern or color in a filled region, you have to edit the detail item and change the filled region style in the family. If you want to edit your wood pattern, you have to open every detail items containing wood, and change the pattern in the family.

To fix this, and be able to edit directly filled region style for every detail item, I create a small piece of code. This function matches model filled region types with those inside the detail item. So if I have a filled region in my Detail Item family with the same name than one in my Revit project, this filled region will take the properties of the one in the project.


After running this function, I end up with nicely matching wood pattern, all set up directly in my Revit project.


As usual, you will find the source code for this solution below, I hope it will help you solve your filled region issues.

public partial class ThisApplication
	public void MatchFilledRegion()
		Document doc = this.ActiveUIDocument.Document;
		//Find all Filled Region Type, and create a dictonary with it
		Dictionary<string,FilledRegionType> modelFilledRegionTypes =
			new FilteredElementCollector(doc).OfClass(typeof(FilledRegionType)).ToElements().Cast<FilledRegionType>().ToDictionary(e => e.Name);
		//Find all loaded families
		IList<Element> elements = new FilteredElementCollector(doc).OfClass(typeof(Family)).ToElements();
		//Get Detail Item category id.
		ElementId detailItemCategoryId = doc.Settings.Categories.get_Item(BuiltInCategory.OST_DetailComponents).Id;

		//Loop on all loaded families
		foreach (Element familyElement in elements) {
			Family family = familyElement as Family;
			//Exit the families loop if it isn't a Detail Item Familly
			if (family.FamilyCategory.Id != detailItemCategoryId) continue;

			//Open the family
			Document familyDoc = doc.EditFamily(family);
			string familyPath = Path.Combine(Path.GetTempPath(),family.Name+".rfa");
			bool familyEdited = false;
			//Find all Filled Region Type in the family
			IList<Element> filledRegionTypes = new FilteredElementCollector(familyDoc).OfClass(typeof(FilledRegionType)).ToElements();
			using (Transaction famTx = new Transaction(familyDoc))
				famTx.Start("Edit Filled Region Type");
				//Loop on all Filled Region types in the family
				foreach (Element filledRegionTypeElement in filledRegionTypes)
					FilledRegionType filledRegionType = filledRegionTypeElement as FilledRegionType;
					if (modelFilledRegionTypes.ContainsKey(filledRegionType.Name))
						FilledRegionType refFilledRegion = modelFilledRegionTypes[filledRegionType.Name];
						//Change the color
						if (filledRegionType.Color.Red != refFilledRegion.Color.Red
						    || filledRegionType.Color.Blue != refFilledRegion.Color.Blue
						    || filledRegionType.Color.Green != refFilledRegion.Color.Green)
							filledRegionType.Color = refFilledRegion.Color;
							familyEdited = true;
						//Change the Background
						if (filledRegionType.Background != refFilledRegion.Background)
							filledRegionType.Background = refFilledRegion.Background;
							familyEdited = true;
						//Change line weight
						if (filledRegionType.LineWeight != refFilledRegion.LineWeight)
							filledRegionType.LineWeight = refFilledRegion.LineWeight;
							familyEdited = true;
			if (familyEdited)
				familyDoc.LoadFamily(doc, new FamilyOption());
				familyDoc.Close( false );
				familyDoc.Close( false );

public class FamilyOption : IFamilyLoadOptions
	public bool OnFamilyFound(bool familyInUse,out bool overwriteParameterValues)
		overwriteParameterValues = true;
		return true;
	public bool OnSharedFamilyFound(Family sharedFamily,bool familyInUse, out FamilySource source,out bool overwriteParameterValues )
		source = FamilySource.Family;
		overwriteParameterValues = true;
		return true;

A360 Team

A year after my first post about Autodesk A360, I kept on testing its features as they came out. When one of my colleagues brought me an A360 Team subscription from last year Autodesk University, I tested it on a small project with some of my teammates.

Recently, Autodesk  unrolled a new design for A360. I use this occasion to share my thoughts about the evolution of the service since my last post.

Starting using A360 is really easy. Just invite your teammates to your A360 hub, drag and drop documents to the platform, and start editing or commenting them. Basically, anyone can edit anything, the revision control system is here to retrieve any previous version of a document in case of emergency.

Roles and permissions are organized around Team Members, who belong to an organization and have access to every project inside this organization. These Team Members can invite Project Contributors outside of the organization to participate on a specific project.


Different project types allow for different accessibility rules for Team Members and Project Contributors. However, don’t expect to find tune every option, we are not in a tightly controlled document management system, but more on a collaboration platform based on trust and a powerful versioning system.

Of course, A360 provides the ability to upload Revit models, and process them as they arrived on the platform. To me, this is the most important feature. Every model you upload on A360 will be processed to be visible online, without having to download it. This feature has largely improved since my last article, and you can now select which views and sheets that will appear on A360. To do so, open the Views For A360 windows in Revit and create a set of views to be uploaded to A360. Save your model, upload it, wait for a while and every selected view will appear on the model page.


You can upload a single file or an assembly, which is a set of files linked together. When uploading an assembly, A360 asks for a parent file and uploads it along with every other file in the same folder. As it is processing this parent file, it takes these linked models into account to create online views.


My first impression of the online 3D viewer is quite good. It is fluid and really easy to use. One of the wishes of my previous article have been fulfilled, you can now create Sections of your model. Sections are beautiful, with a nice cut pattern, but the section plane is barely usable. Instead of being able to quickly select a face of your model to create a section plane, you have to painfully drag a predefined plane where you want to cut your model. Since the section plane gizmo stays aligned with the model origin, you can’t move it while zooming. I have to say I was pretty frustrated by the experience, seeing everything I was hoping for a web-based model viewer, and not being able to use it because of these few issues.

And why the Measure tool shows up when the model is loading and disappears when the viewer had started?

Aside from the current issues of the 3D viewer, Autodesk has created a really interesting collaboration platform. Roles and permissions manage to stay simple while enabling most collaboration scenarios. I still have to test the integration within Revit through the A360 Collaboration for Revit, as soon as it will become available in Europe.


After showcasing Metro, a web-based interface for interpreting and visualizing building codes, Flux has released its new product, simply called Flux. I just had the chance to get an invitation to their beta, and I give you here the results of my first experimentation.


Flux is the first startup to spin out of the semi-secret Google X lab. Its goal is to build a platform to design buildings more easily, but also more ecologically. So I was pretty excited when I heard about their new product, a suite of tools to link together my favorite playthings, Dynamo, Grasshopper, and Excel

Flux works as a central repository for exchanging data between Grasshopper, Excel or Dynamo. Along with the website, Flux provides plugins for these solutions. As we work in our favorite design tool, we use the Flux plugin to upload or download data to or from the Flux central server.



Flux is organized around projects, each project containing a set of Data Key. These Data Key store values retrieved from Excel, Dynamo or Grasshopper. We can’t edit these values directly in the Flux interface, but we can display them in the Data View.


Once in Flux, Data Keys can be linked together in the Flow. This interface displays a visual programming language to transform data as they pass through Flux.


The initial tutorial shows us how to exchange data between Excel and Grasshopper. After going through this starter project, I give a try to the Dynamo plug-in.

I develop upon a common workflow, where an HVAC engineer retrieves MEP spaces location and area from a Revit model and define in Excel a set of values to be uploaded in Revit. For the sake of this experience, I am using the Specified Supply Airflow, but this should work with any value, such as the occupancy of a room or the section of a duct.

I am using here one of my project, which contains a thousand MEP Spaces, and retrieve some of its parameters in Dynamo. Using the GetParameterValueByName node, I retrieve four lists for spaces names, numbers, areas, and levels.


The Flux plug-in for Dynamo presents itself as a set of six nodes and allows us to select a project, find data key in this project, and get or push values from or to Flux. I connect my GetParameterValueByName nodes to the ToFlux nodes, and these values are uploaded to Flux.


I open a new Excel spreadsheet and use the Flux plugin to create three columns, for Name, Number and Area of the MEP Spaces. Flux automatically fills the spreadsheet with the values retrieved in Revit. I create a fourth column for Specified Supply Airflow and fill in some airflow values. As I hit enter, these values are uploaded to Flux and displayed in the Data view.


Back in Dynamo, I create a third group of nodes and link the FromFlux node to a SetParameterByName node. This completes the loop and every Specified Supply Airflow values defined in Excel are added to the MEP Spaces.


The entire workflow takes some time to set up, but the result is pretty impressive, and I see many possibilities around this kind of web-based exchange. Flux also integrates the possibility to upload geometry created in Grasshopper or Dynamo, and I still have a lot to test with this new tool.