Architectural Semi-Submersible Design

I love the idea of taking the ultra-stable semi-submersible platform (used for drilling rigs) and creating outrageous designs on top of them. This one explores an architectural looking superstructure with a private central courtyard and expansive solar panelling on the roof tops.

So many possibilities…!

Modelled in both ICEM Surf and Rhino. Rendered with Maverick.


very good idea it’s so awesome…i want to live inside this structures


Thanks Fares!
Yes, I think living onboard would be a very special experience!


how is icem, compare to rhino?

i think you should specify your question a bit. icem is a highly specialized surfacing tool, which is as far as i read along more suited for this special task, which is also as i strongly believe probably the only area it really shines at.

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The special field, do you mean marine?


In essence ICEM Surf is a strict bezier patch modeller which will force you to create very clean surfaces. The downsides to this are that certain work flows can be a lot slower than with nurbs modellers, anything to do with circles needs to be split into 4 pieces and bezier patch modelling is very, very sensitive to where control points are placed. Very sensitive.

On the positive side you get beautiful surfaces which you can control and manipulate far easier than multispans. The match tool is an amazing beast of a command. I can’t model freeform without this now! So many things you can do while this command is active…
There are also the realtime sections and surface matching info which are priceless.

It crashes a fair bit too, so save often.

And you only have one undo, so focus your mind!

One warning - to get the best out if ICEM you really need to learn the techniques of bezier patch construction. There are many very specific techniques which in my opinion you will only learn from working in the Class-A dept of an automotive company. I was lucky enough to do this for a few years and learnt from some super talented bezier modellers. You just won’t get that knowledge from any where else I don’t think.

Another word of warning - you need to tweak your mind-set to understand that everything you create in ICEM is an approximation. So with every command you need to decide whether it’s within an acceptable tolerance or not. This adds time to the work flow.

A lot of stuff is just quicker in Rhino, for instance handrails and repetitive details. Also geometric patterns are quicker in Rhino. But good news is that you can exchange data easily between the two programs via IGES.

Do you need ICEM? - Only if your clients are demanding better quality highlights (reflections) across your surfaces or you have become obsessive about creating clean surfaces. But there’s a very high financial cost to pay for this…

@TomTom may have some further insights into this?


each time the discussion on (class A) and surfacing software fascinates me since
I’m a real obsessed with (class A) … these last months, I am totally focused on the modeling of objects, of all spells in complexity on rhino (such as 3.5 edge corners and flat or curved Y shapes) only with patches (single spin).
I testing the feasibility of high quality resurfacing in rhino.
compared to my experience, I am quite amazed and satisfied at the same time with rhino. (rhino 7) now has a tool to analyze the continuity between surfaces, that made my tests easier.
but I need someone who has experience in icem or other surfacing software from (class A) to tell me if my models qualify to be considered from (class A)
I know that the words (class a) is only a term that designates the quality of surfaces and transitions and reflections) only that…

cest very very little anyway !! :flushed:


Welcome to the ‘obsessed with class-a’ club Fares!

Another thing to realise is that everyone in the Class-A surfacing department have different levels of skill so output can vary dependant upon user. But there are basic standards which you’ve got to achieve. These can vary from company to company.

You’re also stuck in the middle of a triangle of trying to please - a) the Stylist/Designer b) the manufacturing engineer c) your boss who needs it done by last week…

Feel free to send me a model to look at. I’ll import it into ICEM, look at the highlights, run it through ‘surf check’ (for positional, tangency and mini edges check) and then finally triple scrunch it to within an inch of it’s life to show you how wobbly it is! Welcome to class-a! It’s a pretty tough job =)

I won’t analyse it for manufacturing feasibility though… :wink:

Thank you for such detail answer. Since you mention iges, is iges better than step?

In my little knowledge, Bezier curve is restrict on degree/order paring with count of control points. The degree must exactly equal to count of control points minus one. while for nurbs, you can have much more control points than degree, which may cause multi-span. Please let me know if I am wrong. @mcvltd Rob McPherson

ICEM Surf doesn’t export step, so the best option is IGES.

Correct. Each method has it’s advantages, so it’s good to learn both.

hi Rob .
thank you for the welcome in the club of obsessed. :joy:
I am very grateful for your service
I intend to finish all the tests on rhino3d.
then I’ll send you a file or two to review them.
otherwise at worst I would create a topic separately specifically to make some form available to all users who want to review them (even just out of curiosity)
I would like to know in the worst case. what is the percentage of the resemblance of the surface quality created with rhino compared to icem for example

that’s more than enough for me :wink:

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hi @mcvltd scrutinizing your renderings once more, other than the Helicopter Platform, is there a way to get in? :smiley: i am guessing it could be on the belly, but better somebody asks before it gets produces without doors :see_no_evil:


If you commission it then I’ll add in a really big door especially for you! :grin:

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:joy: :joy:

it seems to me it’s only for rich people
unless you have a helicopter

Ha! Yes, if you have to ask where the doors are then you can’t afford it! :wink:

…as a hint, there are four doors that open out onto the top of the floaters and then a further large door port-side in the green painted structure.

But yes, it wouldn’t be as elegant an experience as walking the passerelle of a conventional yacht!

Hi sorry I didn’t see that I’m mentioned in your answer . I was waiting for someone to answer you .
I read this article on the net .
the Bézier curve is a combination linear function of polynomial bases, whose coefficients are written as control points .
With this definition, the control points become “control handles” of the curve, that we can modify intuitively .
For a Bézier curve, the influence of the control points is global, that is to say that modifying one of the points changes the shape of the entire curve .
B-Spline curves were introduced to overcome some limitations of Bézier .
All first, to model complex shapes or to ensure continuity between several curves, the only solution is to increase the degree of the Bézier curves .
The B-Splines make it possible to keep a low degree, while facilitating the design of complex objects . Thanks to the use of node vectors, the control points of a B-Spline are localized.
Node vectors define the basic functions of B-Splines and in practice it defines the area of ​​influence of each control point on the curve. We give the definitions mathematics of these curves .
NURBS were introduced to generalize B-Splines, which are curves polynomial, and allow to present rational curves .
I think that the presentation of Béziers curves is less complex, these are curves with a single span (degree +1) with a variety of degrees like nurbs curves … except that there is no weight for the control points and no definition of nodes (uniform or non-uniform) … if I don’t say bullshit

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