KAUST Breakwater Beacon


The following exercise aims to decode the design of a facade through the abstraction of its basic geometry and architectural composition using parametric digital tools in a 3D modeling exercise assisted by Grasshopper


KAUST Breakwater Beacon’s Interior

Picture from:


Picture from:


 Parametric design development 

The first step of the definition is to generate the hexagonal mesh using the Lunch Box plugin for grasshopper (see fig 01) and cull the non-hexagonal cells from the data. The list length is calculated for each branch of the Data Tree using the List Length component; the resulting lengths are tested against the condition X = 6 using the Evaluate component.

Grasshopper definition 01 (fig.A)

Next step is to generate the lateral faces of the hexagonal skeleton by scaling and translating the scaled curves according to the surface normals (see fig 04 – 05). An attractor point was setted from a point drawed in Rhino, to remap the distance values as scale factors from the Scale component. By changing the Domain values (Start and End) the minimum and maximum frame width is controlled respectively (see fig 06 – 07).

Finally, before Baking the model, Caps are defined within the main hexagonal structure, but they have six edges and for this reason they can’t be created

as a single surface without using the Patch component, and some curves must be flipped with the Flip curve component to prevent a twisted resulting face.

Grasshopper definition 03 (fig.C)

 Testing parameters in geometry

  • The hexagonal grid is created using the Lunch Box plug-in (


  • subdivide de surface created in Rhino (See fig.02) with the Hexagon Cells component (fig.01)
  • The thickness of the hexagonal grid main structure is being controlled by part 02 of the definition (see fig.03 and fig. B)
  • Generate the lateral faces of the hexagonal frustums.(fig.03)
  • Exoskeleton with thickness and scaled curves according to the surfaces normals.(fig.05)
  • Variation 01 controlled by an attractor point on top. (fig.06)
  • Variation 02 controlled by an attractor point on bottom. (fig.07)


3D modeling process

Grasshopper definition / preview



Video animation from baked definition – Rhino + Grasshopper


This exercise is part of the first assignment for the computational design studio.
Institute for Advanced Architecture of Catalonia
Faculty :  Aldo Sollazzo and Rodrigo Aguirre
Developed at MAA01 in 2017-2018
Student: Mario Alberto Espinoza