BY FAEZEH ENSAFI
Parametricism turned into a radically new episode when computers were involved. Unlike many assumptions, Parametricism cannot be defined within architecture, visual arts or design. The term “parametric” was first introduced in mathematics across disciplines to describe factors which determine a series of variations. It was primarily practiced by Antonio Gaudi who mastered this medium analogously through manual computational engineering and revealed Parametricism’s extraordinary potentials in creating curvilinear geometry; closest as it can get to nature, a geometry architects crave for. With the invention of first parametric software, the famous Sketchpad by Ivan Sutherland in 1963 Parametricism started an evolutionary path, approaching its current digital state. In much the same way Gaudi sought to design by manually setting parametric equations, Ivan Sutherland in 1963 initially used TX-2 computers to speed up parametric equations which he called “atomic constraints” in manipulating relational geometric forms. The first parametric software as a tool for design was release by PTC (Parametric Technology Corporation) in 1988. Development of software design and programming directly affected progression of Parametricism. Programs specifically written for designers and architects including AutoLISP, Maya Embedded Language (MEL), Rhinoscript, Grasshopper, GenerativeComponents (GC) and MAXScript are suitable for geometric problems for they contain built-in functions that create and edit geometric entities, and because they are linked to computer-aided design and visualization systems (like AutoCAD, Rhino, Microstation and 3ds Max) (Jabi, 2013, p. 179). BIM software includes compatibility to link design process to fabrication and constructional engineering processes which as a whole creates the possibility to build any form within the limited budget and time. The latest coding program for design is DesignScript designed by Dr Robert Aish from Autodesk. It has some similarities with GC and Grasshopper but it goes beyond the visual association of parameters, with the aim of creating hybrid and universal programming language that focuses on solving design problems. It’s been predicted that as the areas of BIM and parametric programming mature, we well witness the arrival of design-specific languages that contain built-in knowledge of design elements and processes.