François Denis

François Denis

ir. arch. François Denis is a PhD researcher interested in the BIM process and use within the Belgian Construction Industry. He started his PhD research under the supervision of prof. dr. ir. arch. Niels De Temmerman. His research focuses on the development of a BIM protocol and Augmented Parametric Components for transformable structures, supporting the sustainable life cycle management of buildings. He obtained the degree of "Master of Sciences in Architectural Engineering" at the Université Libre de Bruxelles (Bruface / ULB-VUB) in 2014. In january 2015, he received a PhD grant from the Agency for Innovation by Science and Technology (IWT).


PhD research

Protocol for Augmented Parametric Building Information Modelling Components

Date2015 - ...
SupervisorNiels De Temmerman

The construction industry, like other industries, has adopted digital technologies such as Building Information Modelling (BIM) to improve process efficiency and collaboration between industry stakeholders. However, the use of these technologies induced the development of digital exchanges, which could be complex to integrate in a segmented industry, especially if they are not supported by rules. However, in Belgium, contractors, architects and engineers are using it without any standardised exchange protocol leading to models that are simply not useful to share.

The definition of a generic BIM protocol allowing collaboration between the actors of the construction industry is a need but also an opportunity to integrate sustainability, by material and component life cycle management. Therefore, this research will be focused on two main objectives: an improvement of the collaboration and model sharing between the different sectors of the building industry and an improvement of the life cycle management through BIM components (information management).

Those two main objectives will be reached through three main deliverables. First, providing a BIM protocol presenting guidelines on the BIM process with the specificity of the Belgian industry will ensure efficiency and quality. Second, the development of a typical component identification data sheet defined by specific parameters (geometrical, physical, technical but also interface with other components) will allow to structure and implement information within a BIM interface and thus, provide improved embedded information. Third, the development of Augmented Parametric Building Information Modelling Components compatible with the BIM protocol will provide an improved use of that embedded information.

This research is of use to designers, contractors, building managers and owners allowing them to produce better components with an improved collaboration protocol. The information generated and managed by the software will allow to reduce waste, improve material management during construction and operation but most of all allow an informed reuse of components at the end of the building’s life.

Master’s thesis

Tool for Augmented Parametric Building Information Modelling for Transformable Buildings

Date2013 - 2014
SupervisorNiels De Temmerman

In past times, the architects and the designers had their imagination and their sketches as only tools to create and represent their projects. Since the invention and the development of computers, computer aided drawings/design tools had been introduced and used by many designers has representation tools. However, those tools are working as a “virtual” drawing tables where one can represent his idea through lines, surfaces or volumes.

With the development of three dimensional tools for NASA and aeronautics, the idea of having a tool that uses defined objects instead of lines slowly came through. Thereby, the software became able to store data and “understand” the model as well as represent it. This is the beginning of Building Information Modelling (BIM), a kind of software as well as a process, on which the model relies on data.

However, the developments in computer science and its democratization also generated another movement of designers that used computer code to generate a shape or a model. Instead of using a pen to represent his design, the designer had to script the mathematical relations that were defining its shape. With time, the scripting interface became easier and new ways of scripting such as visual programming had been developed. The main concept of Parametric Design (PD) was to define geometries through scripting.

On one hand, Transformable architectures or conceptual shapes are generally designed using a Parametric Design process that allows to model the way they are moving, adapting, rotating or to optimize a shape. But on the other hand, the industry is in constant need of information that complement the drawings of the project. Therefore, Building Information Modelling use is increasing and even becomes mandatory for public works (United Kingdom, USA). However, BIM and PD appear to be quite different in their process and use. Thereby, there is a need to establish a working methodology that would allow the designer to benefit from PD, BIM and also from the added value of their combination.

During this thesis, Dynamo is used to bring Parametric Design into the whole Building Information Modelling process in order to enhance the benefits of this combination as well as the limitations. Some practical guidelines, as well as some methodological information on how to share information from BIM to PD, are also provided. The concept of integrated approach which consist in thinking the design, the construction and thus the “virtual” construction as a whole, would allow to manage those processes. Indeed, the designer has to develop his project in the virtual environment as he was virtually building it within the tool. Thereby, components and sub-components should be developed and their relationships, or the way they are connected, should be designed. This integrated approach also lead to a kind of hierarchy into design that the designer has to respect in order to improve the potential of his model and his tool as well as his design (design to dismantle, 4D-design).

The combination of PD and BIM could lead to better informed design on which the information embedded into the software is not only used to identify elements or give information about the material but also to help the designer in taking decisions or considering alternatives. The true added value of the combination would be at all the stages of the conception, elaboration and refurbishment of the building.


Best BIM-related research presentation at the Digital Construction Brussels


Title of the presentation:
Building Components' Networks - Using networks to analyse reversible buildings

Tractebel Engie "Work in my shoes" challenge


Participating Universities:
Centrale Paris
Imperial College of London
Ecole Polytechnique de Bruxelles (ULB)

Bruface Commencement Ceremony - Special Award - Immobilier – ANIXTON Award


Awarded to the student having completed his/her Architectural Engineering Master and achieved the best Master thesis in the Real Estate field.
Thesis: "Tool for Augmented Parametric Building Information Modelling for Transformable Buildings"