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Thornton Tomasetti’s Digital Wind Tunnel app based on the SimScale API — enabling architects with simulation in the cloud.

Thornton Tomasetti applies scientific and engineering principles to solve the world’s challenges — starting with their customers. Whether they are focusing on the design, construction, and performance of buildings or expanding into new disciplines, Thornton Tomasetti never limits themselves, applying their expertise to all types of projects across a range of industries.

The Challenge

Breaking The Mold of the Traditional Simulation Workflow

Many AEC companies are following a traditional model where architects and designers request simulation studies from analysts and simulation experts, which can mean an inefficient process with communication overhead, long iteration cycles, and bottlenecks on both simulation experts and on-premise software licenses and hardware.

API design workflow manual process simscale

Thornton Tomasetti started innovating years ago within their CORE Studio R&D Department by developing in-house tooling suited for smooth and easy workflows for architects and designers. While this was a big step forward, there was still potential in making CFD easier to set up and more robust, and with managing compute resources and data.

To watch our on-demand webinar and workshop, Design Buildings Faster by Harnessing the Power of the Cloud, check out this page.

automated simulation workflow with rhino and grasshopper using the simscale api integration

Thornton Tomasetti was an early adopter of the Pacefish® LBM solver that powers the novel pedestrian wind comfort (PWC) offering in SimScale’s workbench available through standard web browsers. The PWC tool allows for quick evaluation of a building or masterplan’s wind comfort and safety aspects, enabling transient CFD analyses an order of magnitude faster than traditional on-premises CFD software. This gave Thornton Tomasetti the capability to iterate their designs quicker and at earlier stages of the design process.

simscale workbench supporting thornton thomasetti pwc project through cloud-based cfd analysis

While the PWC feature within the SimScale workbench addresses robustness and computational resource concerns, it still did not fully bridge the gap to the existing in-house workflows and tooling like CAD software used by architects.

Learn more about our API integration capabilities, and how SimScale can automate and customize your workflow with scalable simulation.

How They Solved It With SimScale

Wind Analysis Through API Integration

SimScale offers robust simulation capabilities for wind studies in the cloud, with all the benefits in cost efficiency, scalability, and zero maintenance. Thornton Tomasetti was already a customer and using the SimScale PWC feature via SimScale’s standard web browser interface, the workbench.

One requirement the workbench did not satisfy was a seamless integration into existing tooling and workflows. To that end, SimScale developed its API: a programming interface that allows external software to leverage SimScale’s software stack for geometry handling, meshing, simulation, and result processing.

To watch our on-demand webinar and workshop, Design Buildings Faster by Harnessing the Power of the Cloud, check out this page.

Based on SimScale’s API, and Rhino and Grasshopper, Thornton Tomasetti developed a digital wind tunnel app that is both parts of the accepted and well-working in-house tooling, and offers a robust and zero-maintenance cloud-solution for CFD.

The Results & Next Steps

Continued Collaboration  

A designer or architect can now use the Digital Wind Tunnel app to set up wind studies themselves, including parallel studies. The app includes run time and cost estimation as well, just as the workbench.

api programmatic automation simscale

Future ideas include further automated result post-processing steps, and connecting result data from SimScale to further structural simulations in software like ETABS.

Our SDKs are available through our Github page, including examples for Python and C#. For making API calls, API access through our Enterprise plan is required.

Have an idea for an integration or app or would like to become a development partner?

Have you considered the potential a cloud-based simulation platform could bring to your organization? Learn about SimScale