Category Archives: Value

Edvard Munch and Bad Monkeys

Original post at

There’s a building being built in Oslo right now. It’s going to be the new Edvard Munch museum and it’s a high profile project in Norway. It is designed by Spanish architects Herreros Arquitectos who have collaborated with local office LPO arkitekter. One of the guys organizing the construction process of the new Edvard Munch museum is Øyvind, and he’s a really nice guy. One of the reasons why I like him so much is that when he has problems with his building information modeling tools, he picks up the phone and calls the Bad Monkeys. Just like he did last year.

Last year Øyvind needed to coordinate the manufactured façade panels with the intended designed panels. The façade manufacturer Skandinaviska Glassystem (SGS) modeled all the panels for production in 1:1 (think LOD in Solidworks and the architects designed the building in Revit. Solidworks could export IFC that Revit could link, but the panel models were not referenced to the building coordinates because they were modeled for production.

Jakob, one of the brilliant engineers at SGS, exported 300 IFC files, barely covering the base of the building. Along with the IFC-files, which were totaling more than 1.5 GB, he mapped the placement and orientation of each part with Grasshopper and produced an Excel spreadsheet with file names, coordinates and vectors corresponding to each panel type’s intended location and orientation. Most of the IFC-files were repeated multiple times across the façade. For this small part of the building Øyvind needed to coordinate 3000 highly detailed façade panels with an already extraordinary amount of architectural, structural and technical BIM data. So he called us. Really nice guy.

Jakob Brusewitz at SGS mastering Grasshopper during a meeting with Øyvind and others.

I got Dimitar Venkov on board and we started working on a Dynamo based workflow. I’ll spare you the details, but in short we created one Dynamo script that grabbed all the IFC-files in a folder, mapped and copied them around by file names, coordinates and vectors, directed by the Excel spreadsheet. Dynamo then imported the IFC geometry and pushed it to Revit as Direct Shape elements, using the same type of geometry that Link IFC utilizes. Using this lightweight geometry was the only way we could think of bringing to Revit without melting all computers trying to work on the models.

Nice guy Øyvind Børstad from ÅF Advancia mastering Dynamo with his eyes closed.

All the imports worked perfectly, and even though we had to minimise any visual fidelity in the views showing the imported data (no anti-aliasing, no shadows, only Shaded with no edges, and so on), the project team could perform pretty high detailed quality assurance and coordination between the design and fabrication models.

If you want to be a nice guy, like Øyvind, give us call. We’ll make your computer fly and teach you how we do it.

Official site of the building:

Animation showing how the building is intended to be:

Autodesk show casing how local architects at LPO work with BIM: (You can see Øyvind on site at 2:19)

Close up of “Klumpen” – a 40 MB IFC file no bigger than a football.

Close up on one of the corners.

Revit model after import. 2950 highly detailed IFC imports, automated with Dynamo by Dimitar Venkov.

Øyvind and me at the top of the slip forming right before Christmas.


Bad Monkeys

I am a Bad Monkey. So is Julien. And Andreas. And Konrad, Dimitar, Adam, Brian and Marcello. Even Huyn is one although it’s hard to tell. We have a webpage. It’s at and is as volatile as we are.

I like being a Bad Monkey. I like having other Bad Monkeys watching my back. They do, you know. Every time I try to fuck up something in Dynamo, they pull me out of the failure and guide me on the right track. Every time I n00b around in Grasshopper, Konrad stretches his long arms over The Atlantic and points me in the right direction. Every time I challenge my geometry skills in Dynamo, Dimitar reaches out from his tree in Singapore and rains his magic on me. And every goddamn week when I try to do any type of generic computation or list manipulation, The Machine Himself Dynamo Grand Master Bad Monkey Andreas Dieckmann descends from the skies with his cape and shy smile to rescue me from certain doom.

One dark and slow morning a while ago Aleksandra came over to my desk and asked about the best way to number more than 600 rooms in the project we were working on. The coffee was still warm, and I already sensed it was going to be a good day. The way room numbering sequencing worked in France, where our project was located, related to both Level, Department and Grid location. That meant a room on Level 3, with Department ID 9 and located as the second room of that department between Grids 3 and 4 (read left-right, top-bottom) would receive the Room Number 3903-02. After some thinking I told Aleksandra that this could be automated with Dynamo and I could do it. My coffee hadn’t started cooling before I began worrying about my response. Even though all the data I needed was available in the Revit database, I had no clue how to do it. My first two tests were promising, but by the time I got around to iteration three and four I started thinking that I had to write each piece of data to temporary parameters, and then pull the temporary data from Revit and combine them in Dynamo to write one Room Number parameter.



Just after the morning with Aleksandra, I flew to Budapest to meet Monkeys Julien and Andreas. First thing they said when I laid my stress upon them was “Hell no, do this in a smart way by sorting all that data automatically”. “Okay….” I responded, nervously scratching hair that started to fall off.

The following week, less than 3 days before deadline, I woke up to a message that brought the biggest smile to my face and all my hair back. “Check your email. Andreas.” I rushed to work, grabbed a new coffee, opened his Dynamo script, copied the parts I was missing, ran the definition and watched in confused disbelief as all the hundreds of rooms got perfectly numbered according to all possible French rules. By that time Aleksandra had been putting her impressive Revit skills to better use on important design tasks, and I had all day to work on the facade, where I used Konrad’s free software for Grasshopper data linking and Julien’s free software for cutting thousands of Nested Families.




Download Andreas’ script if you want to try for yourself: RoomNumberingByLevelGridAndYPosition

The Bad Monkeys made a Snøhetta design much better. They made an owner’s building more complete. And they helped Snøhetta employees, including me, sleep at night. For free, during their spare time.

I think the Bad Monkeys are so awesome that I am embarrassed to say it. I’m thinking “Am I exaggerating how awesome what we are doing is?” I don’t think so.

Last spring Konrad sent me a book. He wanted me to read Adam Grant’s ‘Give and Take – Why Helping Others Drives Our Success’ after he saw a blog post I wrote about my former boss Christine on how we shared knowledge and content when we worked together. The book explains with astonishing examples and scientific evidence how people throughout history has benefited from helping others, with no or little regard for their own success or personal gain. After finishing the book, I felt more confident than ever that the future of the world holds great promise for all the beautiful people who help each other every day. The world will be shaped by the givers, not the takers.

I read another book last year, The Martian by Andy Weir. (Thanks Ian Keough and Matt Jezyk!) Hopefully without spoiling the story for anyone who has not read it or seen Matt Damon on screen, here’s a beautiful excerpt for the final pages:

“If a hiker gets lost in the mountains, people will coordinate a search. If a train crashes, people will line up to give blood. If an earthquake levels a city, people all over the world will send emergency supplies. This is so fundamentally human that it’s found in every culture without exception. Yes, there are assholes who just don’t care, but they’re massively outnumbered by the people who do.”


It’s pompous, I know. But it gave me goosebumps. Our group of monkeys grew from a community of people who enjoy helping others. I feel that we are a small part of a new connected world where people help each other regardless of business, discipline, department, company, country, culture or continent. Maybe we will realize that the old way of thinking about company knowledge as a secret asset that has to be safe guarded, hidden and protected will give way to an idea that every company, employee and client will prosper if we all help each other a little more.

Here’s a huge THANK YOU to the Bad Monkeys for being awesome. You guys rock.