Week 6 // Slides and Grasshopper

This week, I created slides for my water park and then learned the very important Grasshopper tool.


First, the slides. I found creating them to be a fun challenge. To create two of them, I started out by creating a line from the top of the diving tower to the water level of the pool. I then used the Spiral tool to create the curving of the slide itself. I found the tool to be relatively easy to use, by inputting top and bottom radius and the number of turns I wanted. I also had to create a starting straight part of the slide so that the slide would not collide with the stair tower. For this I drew a simple line then used the Blend tool to join the two into an acceptable curving shape.

For my first slide, I created a funnel shaped pool with three turns circling inward. I was really happy with how easy this was to make. I first created the spiral, then used a CPlane placed along the edge of the diving tower. (I used my simplest tower to create these then moved them into place on the other diving towers.) I then created a very simple cross-section of the slide, using the Interpolate Crv function (with OSnap off) and then the Mirror and Offset command to create a closed curve. I then used ArrayCrv and arrayed it 7 times along the spiral funnel. I also turned all the cross sections a bit to create an even stronger inward sense to the slide, using the Gumball tool. Using Sweep1 I then swept all of the cross-sections with a rebuild of 100 control points (to ensure the best accuracy) to create this slide.

spiral slide

I wonder about supports for these slides – they do not seem grounded in the space, and I wonder if going back and creating supports will be something we do.

Next, I created my next slide by using the Spiral tool in a similar way as above. I chose two turns and a larger bottom radius then top radius. Then I created a slightly different looking cross section – I wanted a hybrid between a tunnel shape and a half circle shape for my tube, so I created a U that almost closes at the top, again with Interpolate Crv. I think it would be a really interesting slide to go down. I used the same system as above to create the slide, although I did try to Loft them… It did not work at all.

bad loft slide

Actual slide:

freeform pool

Finally, I decided to try something different by creating a snaking slide. I used the Interpolate Crv along the X – plane to create a long snake curve. I then turned it so that it extended from the diving tower to the water. I then decided to do a tunnel slide, using the circle tool drawn on a CPlane at the edge of the diving tower. I then used ArrayCrv along the snake curve, and then again used Sweep1  again to sweep the tool. I then Offset the surface, instead of the original cross-section, then joined all the geometry together.

I decided to use this for my rectangular pool, however it was originally too long, so I used the Gumball tool to shorten it a bit. I found that this preserved the curvature better than trying to restart with a more angular curve.

rectangle pool

After my slides were done, I moved on to learning Grasshopper. I found following the tutorials relatively simple, and creating the shelves was fun. I like how easy it is to make so many versions of a basic idea.

What is Grasshopper?

Grasshopper is a graphical algorithm editor tied to Rhino V5 3D modeling tools. It is a program for parametric modeling. Programs are created by dragging components onto a canvas. The outputs to these components are then connected to the inputs of subsequent components. Grasshopper is used mainly to build generative algorithms. Using Rhino, a user can create geometry and tie it to functions in Grasshopper, which can then be edited to create repetition of elements which can be manipulated through the functions to have different thicknesses, deepness, etc.

To create the shelves, I began by creating base geometry, which was the shelf depth and then legs and supports. Using different functions, you then add thickness to each of these curves and manipulated them using “number sliders” so that you can manipulate the thickness, distance between, and number of shelves at any point. Curves that were created in Rhino and then associated with the Grasshopper file can then be manipulated, which also manipulates all of the extrusions created in Grasshopper so that it looks uniform. After “baking” the geometry, it becomes active in Rhino. I created a shelf for the corner of a room, with an angular form.


I am interested in how this tool will help my architecture – it sort of contradicts everything my studio professors have been saying about making things just extrusions of curves. However I do believe it will be very helpful in iterations and repetitive geometry within architecture.


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