Print this page

Parametric Engineering Course


Parametric Engineering at Imperial College London with Arup and Simply Rhino


The Parametric Engineering course with Arup and Simply Rhino at Imperial College attempts to show the benefits of parametric thinking in the field of Engineering.
It is an eight-weeks long, hands-on, evening class on the Grasshopper3D platform for Rhinoceros3D and its structural and physics simulation plugins (Karamba, Kangaroo, Salamander) specifically for the practice of Engineering. At the end of the course, you should be able to create entire parametric models such as a stadium or a bridge on Grasshopper3D and use plugins to create creative loops between the model and live feedback from simulations.
The course will be taught through practice and theory by award-winning structural engineers, architects and software developers and will only be open to those in full time academia, there are no commercial places availableAll free of charge places for Imperial College Students / Staff have now been allocated.
The course takes place on eight consecutive Tuesday evenings from 6-8pm and commences on Tuesday January the 26th, 2016.
This course is open only to those in full time Academic Employment or Students in full time Education. Course prerequisites and joining details follow the course details below.

Please note this course is now full, thanks to everyone for their interest. 


Arup: Case Studies of Parametric Engineering

Left Image: Tennis roof - The structural model of a Tennis stadium roof by Paul Jeffries.  A Grasshopper definition is used to generate complete analysis and BIM models.                                                                                                                                                                                                   Right Image: The parametric workflow of the ArcelorMittal Orbit by Paul Jeffries. The diagrid geometry was produced algorithmically based on a guide curve and a few simple parameters. All Images © Arup.


Course Outline:

Week 1 (26/01/16) - Intro to freeform modelling on Rhinoceros 3D, the NURBS modelling software, we will look at the interface and the different tools.
Delivered by Sean Cowell, assisted by Rhino3d trainer 

Week 2 (02/02/16) - Continuation of week 1 followed by introduction to different geometrical concept in Rhino3D, we will look at the NURBS Curve and surface as well as meshes and the crucial differences between them. Resources to learn tools.
Delivered by Sean Cowell & Arthur Mamou-Mani, assisted by Toby Clark

Week 3 (09/02/16) - Introduction to the parametric plugin Grasshopper3D for Rhino, we will look at the interface, the parameters and how to import data, create 3Dpoints, lines, we will also give an overall talk on parametric thinking.
Delivered by Toby Clark, assisted by Vincenzo Reale & Arthur Mamou-Mani

Week 4 (16/02/16) - Flat lists, Data Matching, Curve Domain Analysis and Vectors - We will look at how data flows from one component to the other and how grasshopper understands it. We will explain the properties of curves and the concept of vector mathematics.
Delivered by Vincenzo Reale, assisted by Conor Black & Arthur Mamou-Mani

Week 5 (23/02/16) - Introduction to Data Trees, Matrices, Graph Mappers - We will explain how data can be manipulated through the use of data tree and you will create your first project, a Shukkov-like tower.
Delivered by Paul Jeffries, assisted by Vincenzo Reale & Arthur Mamou-Mani 

Week 6 (01/03/16) - Advanced Data Trees, Surface manipulation. We will further our understanding of data through the creation of complex components on surfaces and using different tools to manipulate data trees and access specific items within a complex branched list.
Delivered by Conor Black, assisted by Paul Jeffries & Arthur Mamou-Mani

Week 7 (08/03/16) - Physical behaviour in objects. Karamba/Kangaroo Plugin session  - We will introduce our first plugins from the rich community of Grasshopper plugins online; Karamba is a structural simulation plugin allowing to extract bending moments from an assembled model and Kangaroo is a physical simulation plugin allowing to simulate physical behaviour such as gravity and springs.
Delivered by Daniel Piker, Vladimir Marinov, Will Pearson, assisted by Toby Clark & Arthur Mamou-Mani

Week 8 (15/03/16) - Introduction to the evolutionary solver Galapagos to optimise parametric models and the further application of that to structural simulation through a plugin like Salamander. This conclusive session will be your opportunity to present what you have done with the software.
Delivered by Daniel Piker & Paul Jeffries & Will Pearson, assisted by Conor Black & Arthur Mamou-Mani

(Please note all Course Instructors listed are Subject to Change).


KASC Stadium Design by Arup Associates

Left Image: KASC Stadium by Arup Associates. A fully parametric stadium, incorporating bowl design, roof and facade. Completed on site in 2014.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     Right Image: KASC Stadium by Arup Associates. Roof designed with modular truss units and linked to analytical programsRight Image: KASC Stadium by Arup Associates. Roof designed with modular truss units and linked to analytical programs. All Images © Arup.



Course Contributors

Toby Clark, Toby is an Associate at Arup in the Facade team. He has worked both in the United Kingdom and the Australian offices for Arup. As a former member of Arup’s Advanced Geometry Unit (AGU), Toby is used to working on complex geometrical projects and utilizes the latest 3D modelling techniques and software to help interoperability and coordination between the various disciplines and teams. He has extensive international experience working with leading architectural practices on a wide range of projects. He is one of the coordinators of the Arup internal parametric training courses.


Vincenzo Reale, Vincenzo is a structural engineer and an architect. Having worked with several contemporary architectural and design practices, including Zaha Hadid Architects, Antony Gormley Studio and Emergent Architecture, he currently holds the position of structural engineer at Arup Building Engineering in London. He is also teaching assistant at Landscape and Urbanism master programme at the Architectural Association, unit master at AA visiting school Jordan and accredited trainer of several parametric courses for engineers at the Arup University. He has developed a particular skill in the design of projects with geometrically complex structural forms, merging the structural engineering practice with advanced 3D modelling, parametric design techniques and scripting.


Paul Jeffries, Paul is a structural engineer and software developer who has worked for Arup in London for eight years and who has taught courses on parametric design at the Architectural Association Design Research Laboratory for the past six.  As well as the typical duties of a structural engineer, his work involves research on computational design techniques and the development of the tools necessary for their successful integration into real project workflows. He has worked on a large number of projects involving complex geometry, including the ArcelorMittal Orbit and the Sagrada Familia, and created design software that has been used on hundreds of Arup projects throughout the world.


Conor Carson Black, Conor is an Architect and specialist in digital design in the Arup Facade team. He teaches architectural coding techniques at the Bartlett School of Architecture for the Adaptive Architecture & Computation MSc course. Currently working as a complex geometry specialist on projects at Arup such as Mexico City Airport, Oman Botanical Gardens and Abu Dhabi Airport.


Vladimir Marinov, Vladimir is a structural glass engineer in Arup façade Engineering and works closely with other Arup groups providing support and advice for a range of engineering problems. His areas of expertise include design and detailing of specialist glass structures, light-weight steel structures and parametric design. He has led the design of and engineered high-profile and award winning projects around the world.


Daniel Piker, Previous experience includes work with Arup Advanced Geometry Unit (AGU), currently with Foster & Partners plus McNeel & Assoc. Daniel is the developer of Kangaroo which is a Live Physics engine for interactive simulation, optimization and form-finding directly within Grasshopper.


Arthur Mamou-Mani, Arthur is an Architect ( and a lecturer at the University of Westminster in London ( He has been working with Simply Rhino for the past four years, giving Grasshopper3D workshops to prestigious design and engineering companies including Heatherwick Studio and Foster + Partners as well as many leading academic bodies such as the Architectural Association School of Architecture and UCL-Bartlett. Arthur also gave numerous talks including the TEDx, 3DPrintShow, ShapeToFabrication and the Develop3D Conferences.


Sean Cowell, Sean’s background in CAD goes back over 20 years, his main experience is in Architecture plus M&E Services Industries.  Sean has been a Certified Rhino Instructor since 2006 and delivers the Simply Rhino Introductory classes. Sean is well known to the many hundreds to have come through our Level 1 Day or Evening Classes and those who he has privately trained on site.



Arup Project: Garden Bridge by Heatherwick Studio
                       Images: A combined definition with Heatherwick Studio to optimise the soffit geometry, and explore options for the internal structure. Custom mesh generation of the soffit for export to analytical programs. All Images © Arup.



Course Prerequisites
  • Ideally all applicants should having a working knowledge of Rhino, having attended our Certified Rhino 5 Level 1 Class and/or our certified Grasshopper Level 1 class would be ideal or some months of working experience would be extremely useful. Should you book a place and have no previous experience with Rhino you risk not keeping up with the group. We will give priority to those with experience with Rhino
  • We expect all attendees to be present at all eight sessions, the course will be fast moving and this will leave little time for repeating material
  • It is expected that all attendees will be willing and able to carry out additional tasks related to the project between course sessions, this will be essential to achieve the desired course objective


Course Cost
  • The price for a place on the course is £80 + VAT
  • There are no commercial places available; it is open only to those in full time academic employment or students in full time education
  • Please note if accepted on the course we will need to see ID proof of your academic status before your place on the course is approved
  • We expect the course to be over-subscribed and completing the application form will not guarantee you a place
  • The course is free of charge for Imperial College Students / Staff but please note all these places have now been allocated


Course Application

This course is now full - thank you to everyone for your interest. We hope to run similar courses in the near future.


Course Location

The course will be taking place at Imperial College London on the South Kensington Campus.

Applicants who are successful in securing a place will be given full course joining details. 


If you require any further information then please contact us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Arup: Mexico City Airport by Foster+Partners

Arup Images: Variable node | Purlin design for complex airport roof | Facade gridshell structure  & Rainfall simulations by Conor Carson Black. All Images © Arup.


  • 67374
  • Last modified on Wednesday, 03 February 2016 17:43