Computational Design

At the conceptual design stage, typical engineering tools and software are inadequate for a changing design process.  SGH has developed a wide range of tools to address this need and provide increased value to architects and owners.  With computational design, SGH can rapidly and cost-effectively evaluate options.


At SGH, we use computational design tools to collectively consider geometry, logic, and performance, and tackle design challenges involving a combination of these across multiple technical disciplines.  We focus on the following tools for our projects:

  • Rhino or Revit for geometry
  • Grasshopper or Dynamo for logic
  • Millipede/DIVA/in-house C# scripts for performance attributes

With these tools, we can help the architect and owner explore layouts and form with helpful feedback at critical design stages.  We can assist the project team with design and construction phase solutions, such as the following:

  • RAP: Rapid Analysis for Planning.  Building masses and voids with real‑time steel framing sizing to allow tracking of multiple parameters, such as total steel weight, maximum foundation loads, facade area, etc.
  • RAY: Daylighting.  Determining illuminance levels and glare potential and often combining this with parametric studies of facade shading devices and layouts.
  • RAD: Rapid Automated Drawing.  Production of large numbers of similar, but unique drawing files for projects with many pieces, such as wooden trusses or precast components.

SGH has applied these approaches to a variety of projects, including the following:

  • Optimization of steel framing layouts and automated sizing of cantilevers for facades
  • Panelization of geometrically variable building facades
  • Structural optimization of pile layouts for multiple pilecaps and production of associated drawings
  • Volumetric form generation for reinforced concrete structures at the conceptual design phase
  • Computational modeling of steel reinforcement in standard and non‑standard concrete projects
  • Design and optimization of geometrically variable formwork for efficient construction of reinforced concrete structures
  • Structural analyses of geometrically complex art installations and sculptures