Marionette Monday: 5 Reasons to Adopt Algorithmic Modeling

Posted by Rowena Winkler on 3/26/18 11:34 AM  |  4 min read time

Still not fully convinced that Marionette, the algorithmic modeling tool for Vectorworks, is for you or your firm? Look no further. Here are five reasons you should try Marionette — complete with a real-world example to demonstrate one of our most powerful product features.


Perspective plan. Image courtesy of Principle Architecture.

The Case

Principle Architecture is a six-person firm that scales up as needed.

Despite its small size, the team's work delivers a huge impact. Based in Vancouver, the Principle Architecture team strives to embrace the city's "culture of wood" through their designs. They were recently tasked with designing an exhibition that celebrates this culture — with a project deadline of only five weeks’ time.

Reason 1: Teach Yourself This Handy Tool
Marionette is based on Python scripting, but you don’t need to be a skilled programmer to use it.

PA_VT Nurbs Modelling.jpg

NURBS modeling. Image courtesy of Principle Architecture.

Jean Dières Monplaisir, intern architect at Principle Architecture, was able to learn Marionette in a short timeframe with the help of both Geoff McBeath, their Vectorworks service provider, and the Vectorworks Forum. Even though Dières Monplaisir had scripting experience with Grasshopper, he found it helpful to learn Marionette by focusing his efforts on a specific project.

Reason 2: Save Time with Automation

Marionette is the perfect solution for designers who are constantly fighting tight deadlines.

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Construction details. Image courtesy of Principle Architecture.

When Daniel Irvine, intern architect at Principle Architecture, saw that there would be several moving pieces for this project, he needed a tool that would resolve each change as the design evolved. With Marionette, he could focus on his creative vision for the exhibit and not spend as much time on construction documentation or accounting for unexpected adjustments. 

Reason 3: Customize While Being Flexible

Want to add a specific feature, like a NanaWall, to your design? Marionette can help you customize your work by building specific objects for your project.

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Construction sequence. Image courtesy of Principle Architecture.

Principle Architecture’s design consisted of a series of large “tree trunks” built from wooden posts and beams. With the help of Marionette, the firm was able to automatically adjust these components with each new change, such as reshaping the skin.

Reason 4: Keep Up with Constant Change

Designing for clients shouldn’t happen in a vacuum. With Marionette, you can keep everyone updated, while ensuring each change is correctly documented.


Exhibit concept plan. Image courtesy of Principle Architecture.

As they approached their five-week deadline, the Principle Architecture team found themselves missing some information needed to complete their deliverables. Because of this, communication with all players involved was especially crucial. Marionette helped alleviate this problem. By simply re-running scripts as the circumstances of the project changed, the firm was able to proceed with their work without having to redraw or rebuild everything from scratch.

Reason 5: Impress Clients with Powerful Presentations

Need to present deliverables to show progress? Use Marionette to gain your client’s trust.


Exhibit traffic plan. Image courtesy of Principle Architecture.

Principle Architecture was able to quickly create visualizations to communicate every change that was made to the client. This process kept the firm accountable, while allowing their client to give thoughtful feedback — a workflow feature that, in and of itself, was priceless.

Want to know more about Principle Architecture’s experience with Marionette?

Read the Case Study Here

Topics: Project Highlight, Tech Tips and Workflows

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