Updated: May 3
(Ammar Taher & Darragh Jones)
Welcome Ammar! Do you want to quickly introduce yourself and your role at OMRT?
Yes I am a product owner and also a computational developer. I’ve been at OMRT for three and a half years now! I mostly work with our own in-house design tool that we use to do anything relating to design and geometry within OMRT. Whether it be the overview and massing all the way down to the details.
And the other part of your job is computational developer? So you’re spending a lot of time developing buildings with computers?
Yeah you summed it up. Computational development is when you try to use your architectural or design experience together with your programming skills, so that you automate the design of the building. The more automation used, the more efficient the process becomes.
So this is the secret behind OMRT’s fast designs?
More or less yes! It’s the architecture/automation duo that makes us quick and effective.
Having been here three and a half years, Ammar is one of the original OMRTers
Where did you first encounter parametric technology yourself? Was it at university?
This goes all the way back to my bachelor’s degree in Egypt. It was 2012, more than 10 years ago now! A friend of mine told me about a workshop that was taking place on Grasshopper. It was a 2 week program and that sparked some interest in me. But then the funny thing is what happened when I took the cool new technology I had learned, and implemented it at the university in Cairo...
They loved it?
Not at all! They had no idea what I was doing, and I got a really low grade in one of the classes. They wanted things traditionally! I showed them the future and they were not impressed. I think I even have an example of my first ever design created with parametric design. Something I was really proud of, and then - bang - they slapped a 5 out of 10 grade on it!
I think that's a perfect example of the resistance that we and a lot of other paradigm shifting companies face. We still have more educating to do!
Yeah it was a shame. The reaction from the professors almost pushed me away from the technology. But luckily I was already converted, and they couldn’t stop me! I continued to study up on Grasshopper on the side. This really helped me in my path to getting into the masters, without which I would never have come to the Netherlands and found OMRT.
Behind the scenes on OMRT's technology
Do you sense the mood is changing on this?
Yes, people are slowly becoming more aware. There are now some schools in Egypt now teaching the parametric methods with Grasshopper. It’s definitely part of our mission as OMRT to continue to educate those who are still not converted. These technologies of computational design are even used in other industries: boats, shoes, fashion. Nike is one example. I even used the Grasshopper/Rhino combo myself to design some furniture. That’s how I designed my first ever chair!
The innovative Nike Free, utilising parametric design
Nice that you can make the tech practical, even for a personal project. One last thing: it sounds like you’ve almost transitioned from an architect to a software developer. Would you recommend this path for a young architect?
That’s not an easy question to answer. Everyone is different. We still need both. The OMRT solution will never replace traditional architects. So we will always need the traditional creative architect to define the concepts and humanitarian aspects of architecture.
But on the other hand, the new computational architecture style is rapidly growing to help these traditional architects. And we need more of these people to help the traditional architects, and to make them come to life faster. So it would be nice to give some clear advice, or to say that everyone should be a computational architect. But it depends on the individual in question, both can be very good careers.
Nice response! There's definitely plenty of opportunities in both paths. Thanks a million Ammar, I really enjoyed this conversation!
Me too, thank you!
If you're curious to learn more about OMRT or parametric design, feel free to reach out to us here