23rd March 2024

Winton Guest House Overall

History

The Winton Guest House or WGH for short, is a famous architectural piece designed by Frank Gehry. The building it made of six disparate pieces with conventional geometry.

image credit: University of St Thomas

You can read more about the history of this building here.

Context

Apart from it's history and architectural significance, it's a great building to use for parametric design in Grasshopper. Because it has relatively simple geometry and a simple layout, it makes it ideal for learning how to model a real world building in Grasshopper.

Model Brief

Before we begin talking about how to create the model, we have got to understand all the pieces. This model is made of six buildings. We are going to label them, so that we know which building we are working with at any given time.

Here is the anatomy of this model.

Building Anatomy

image credit: Behance

Building Plan

This is what the plan view of the model looks like.

image credit: Frank Gehry – Winton Guest House

At this point, if you have some ideas on how to create this model. I recommend that you stop here and just get started without looking at my solution. It's important to act on your instincts especially if you have an inkling on how to start. Even if you're method turns out wrong later, the learning experience that you get will be so much deeper.

Solution Brief

When you're ready, you can take a look at my solution. It's a large script, so I have split the solution guide into four parts. Each part is focused on a unique workflow of the model.

Throughout each part, there is a script attached, so that you can still follow along per part. But if you only want the final solution, you can find it here :

Solution Tips

I recommend some tips to people as they work through this guide.

Don't follow my steps if it doesn't make sense

Because this building has 6 separate buildings, you can actually start from any building and work your way through the entire model. I start from the fireplace but you can start from other buildings too. Having created this model, I think I would have started with the Living Room instead.

So please, if you think my steps are wrong, explore other ways to start the model.

Using the world axis

I noticed that based on the plan view of the building, everything is off the world axis. I generally don't like to work with models like that because it makes vector operations more challenging. So I would rather use the world axis than the one displayed in the plan. I can always rotate them later if I wanted the "right" orientation.

Scale

I treated this as a modelling exercise so I didn't worry too much about getting the dimensions right. I just cared about getting the proportions looking roughly right. Since the model is parametric, we can always swap in the real dimensions later on anyways.