The Things We Make – Part 1

I started doing what I do today as a hobby.  Today, making things is the core of Proving Ground’s business. However, it would be a misreading of our motivation to think that making apps, plugins, and models are our end game. These are a means to an end.

The tools we make and use are a blip on the radar compared to the lasting impact we can have on the process of making a better built environment. We make tools because they allow us to see the problems we face just a little bit differently… and maybe they allow us to turn a problem completely on its head.

We make tools because they allow us to see the problems we face just a little bit differently… and maybe they’ll allow us to turn a problem completely on its head.

LunchBox has been freely available for years and is the most downloaded tool for Dynamo and one of the most used plugins for Grasshopper. While I can see basic stats like downloads and installs, I only ever get a hint at what people might be using it for. Often I wonder how many buildings and projects teams have been impacted through the provision of a simple plugin: Is their project workflow more efficient? Has the design process been improved? Was a better building created?  I would like to think so. We like to make things at Proving Ground. I hope our industry friends are able to make better things as a result.

This summer, we expanded the team with a group of design interns to explore ideas with us. Kristen, Charles, and Elizabeth are working on making new tools, prototypes, and datasets that help us explore solutions to real-world problems and concepts. Along the way, they are battle testing LunchBox, Conduit, Rhynamo, and a whole host of other computational design tools out there.

Over the next few weeks, I will be giving you a peek behind the curtain on the things we are making together.  I hope you enjoy it!

Urban Constraint Modeling


It is projected that by 2050, nearly 70% of the worlds population will be living in urban environments.  Cities are being built faster than ever before but are they being informed by the right data? We’re working on tools that allow designers to map constraints and get real-time feedback on important metrics using a combination of LunchBox and Conduit.

Computational Code Meets the Building Code


What if the building code was another database integrated into our BIM tools? This prototype establishes a workflow between Revit elements and the International Building Code to study occupancy requirements facilitate the creation of life safety plans.

Feedback Loops and HUDs


Analysis tools and iteration are allowing us to measure develop data-rich models and get real-time feedback on performance criteria. We are looking at ways of combining Conduit with analysis tools, such as DIVA, to gain insight into analysis results.

Understanding What We See


What are the measures for a good user experience? From stadiums, to hospitals, the consideration for sightlines are essential for many planning decisions. We are taking a look at using algorithmic techniques to better understand sightlines. For this study, we developed a new ‘isovist’ tool for LunchBox for Dynamo so designers can measure sightlines in their Revit models.  The new isovist component is available in the latest version of LunchBox for Dynamo.

What kinds of tools have you made that impact how you think about buildings?  Let’s discuss…

Are you interested in making tools with us?