Massing: Part 1 of 5: The Basics

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Massing: Part 1 of 5: The Basics

Postby Revit Zone » Tue Mar 30, 2010 9:52 pm

Reproduced from the "old" Revit Zone Web Site, this article is based on the pre-2010 interface- but you may still find it of interest.
Any questions, just add to the end of the thread ;)

This is the first in a five part series on the massing function built into Revit. These five articles will explain the basics of the massing editor and (by a step-by-step practical tutorial) will show you how to use this facility to create a concept massing study for an office building and then how to add building elements (walls, floors, etc) to those mass elements.


When first starting out with Revit, it is very easy to get used to the idea that you just start placing building elements such as walls, doors and windows and build up your project from there.

But Revit can assist you from the very start of the design process. That is, before you know where the walls will be, before you know what type of windows you are going to have or where they will be placed. It can help you at the concept stage.

Revit does this by the use of two key features. The Massing Creator / Editor and The Building Maker. Massing provides a set of tools to let you quickly create 3D massing elements which in turns lets you develop a conceptual design from a truly blank canvas. The Building Maker then handles the translation of these generic massing elements into building components such as walls, doors, windows, etc. Because these two components of the software are inherently linked, there is a dynamic relationship between the original mass elements that you create and the corresponding building elements that Revit produces from these. This allows you to subsequently go back and adjust the massing element and Revit will make a corresponding adjustment to the associated building component (Note: This is not truly automatic, but the use of the Related Hosts and Remake commands make it virtually so) .

Mass elements are created using the Mass Editor. The Mass Editor can be accessed in two different ways. The first is to select File>New>Family from the pull-down menus.

mass_01_01.jpg (29.15 KiB) Viewed 2240 times

Then select Metric Mass.rft as the Family Template (Note: Depending on the libraries you have installed, your mass family template may be labelled Mass.rft)

mass_01_02.jpg (88.59 KiB) Viewed 2240 times

The other way to open the Mass Editor is directly from the Massing Design Bar, by selecting Create Mass.

mass_01_03.jpg (25.61 KiB) Viewed 2240 times

Apart from creating your massing elements from scratch, you can also load in any number of pre-defined ones from the Mass Family Library. To do this select File>Load from Library>Load Family and then select the Mass Folder.

mass_01_04.jpg (34.73 KiB) Viewed 2240 times

At any point in your project you can quickly turn the visibility of all massing elements on or off by use of the Show Mass button on the View Toolbar.

mass_01_05.jpg (20.42 KiB) Viewed 2240 times

If you wish to work with mass families that are unique to a particular project you should create these as In-Place Mass Families. As stated above this is done by use of the Mass Design Bar and the Create Mass button.

So let's create some mass instances...

OK, so we know what massing elements are, we've talked about about the different methods of either creating a new one or loading an existing template mass- so let's crack crack on and make some!

Make sure you have a new, clean Revit file open.
Ensure Level 1 view is selected
Select Massing from the Design Bar.
Select Create mass from the Menu Bar and type a name for your first massing element.

mass_01_06.jpg (26.92 KiB) Viewed 2240 times

You will now see that the Design Bar has changed to Massing Creator / Editor.

mass_01_07.jpg (32.6 KiB) Viewed 2240 times

Now select Solid Form > Solid Extrusion. This will put you into Sketch Mode, ready to start sketching the profile of your massing instance. Lines will already be selected for you, so you can just dive straight in and sketch the outline that you will proceed to extrude.

You have access to all the standard line tools (circle, rectangle, trim, etc). Also notice that there is a Depth type-in box to the left of the line commands that lets you set the height of the extrusion.

Before you start drawing your profile, set the height of the extrusion you are going to create to 20000 (20 metres)

mass_01_08.jpg (8.33 KiB) Viewed 2240 times

Now use the Rectangle button and draw a rectangle 21000 x 5000. This is the footprint of our extrusion.

mass_01_09.jpg (5.46 KiB) Viewed 2240 times

Now select Finish Sketch on the Design Bar. The lines forming your footprint will turn black to confirm that the sketch has been turned into a extruded mass.

mass_01_10.jpg (8.31 KiB) Viewed 2240 times

If you now switch to the default 3D View, you will see the mass instance in all it's glory! It should look like the image above.
The mass we have just created will be the main body of our office block. Now lets add another extruded mass to form a feature to the office block. Return to the Plan View (Level 1) and repeat the Mass Creation process again to add a circular extrusion to the bottom right hand corner of the plan. Make sure that your circular footprint overlaps the corner of the rectangle you previously created. make the radius of the circle 3000mm.

mass_01_11.jpg (14.14 KiB) Viewed 2240 times

We want the height of this extrusion to be 23,000mm high- that is 3,000mm higher than the main office building. Because we have already started sketching the profile of the footprint we don't have access to the Depth type-in box along the menu bar. However, we can access the same parameter by opening the Extrusion Properties box and entering 23000 into the Extrusion End type-in. (See below)

mass_01_12.jpg (24.59 KiB) Viewed 2240 times

Click Finish Sketch to complete the creation of the circular extrusion and then click Finish Mass to tell Revit you have finished creating masses. View both masses in the 3D View. They should look like this......

mass_01_13.jpg (28.79 KiB) Viewed 2240 times

If you hover the cursor over each of the masses, you will notice that they are two seperate elements. We will now joint them together into a single mass.
Select the Join Geometry command from the menu bar

mass_01_14.jpg (4.65 KiB) Viewed 2240 times

Select each of the two masses in turn. After you select the second mass you will notice that Revit joins the two together and erases the overlapped portion. You mass should now look like this....

mass_01_15.jpg (26.78 KiB) Viewed 2240 times

In Part 2.....

We will look at how we can add Floor Faces to our Mass and then automatically add Floor elements to those Faces. We will also look at how we can easily make adjustments to the original mass instance and get Revit to update the Floor Faces and Floor Elements to reflect those changes.
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