Três Irmãos skyscraper design


Buildings beautify our environments, however, high-rise buildings otherwise called skyscrapers give our environment a remarkable shape. This is the same as what we intend to do with the Três Irmãos skyscraper. This is our first of its kind and an in-house project that brought a lot of hurdles our way. As it demands, many complex projects as this require experience combined with sophisticated technologies to bring along their development. BIM as a paradigm shift in the AECO industry has helped open doors for creative designs like ours to be brought to life. In this post, we would bring highlights on the processes involved in developing this remarkable edifice whose abstract location is at the coast close to the RJ Santos Dumont airport in Rio De Janeiro. Also, we intend to share our knowledge gotten from this project via an online course for BIM enthusiasts to apply; this is coming soon and registration can be done via the link below;


There are two mountains around the shore environment of Rio De Janeiro. These two mountains are seated side by side on the earth like two brothers. The goal of our skyscraper project was to make the Três Irmãos skyscraper the third brother amongst the already existing mountains.


Bringing this bright idea and awesome project to life doesn’t come easily. It took time and required sketching sessions to investigate the various possible solutions. The inspiration came from looking at the rocky green shape of the landscape of Rio de Janeiro and its interaction with the harsh tropical sun. More information about the schematic sketches can be found on our website via this link;

Just after having a clear picture of how we intend to achieve this project, we moved to the next stage where we digitized our design concept. The digital tool used is Rhinoceros 3D. Inside Rhino, we created a conceptual geometry in 3-Dimension (3D). We created the external shell that defines the overall geometry of the skyscraper. Major features of the geometry include; mountain-like form, cracks on the sides to enhance daylighting in the building, a foyer with open spaces from the first to the seventh floor, and a crown at the zenith of the building.


The complex shape of the skyscraper posed a challenge in creating a Building Information Model for the edifice. This we could not do manually with out-of-the-box tools in any BIM compliant software package. Hence, we ventured into design computation and automation using Dynamo for Revit. The workflow is explained below;


The workflow from Rhinoceros 3D to Autodesk Revit is such that the model data from Rhino was mined into Revit using Dynamo as a funnel. A useful Dynamo package for this workflow is Rhynamo. Geometry surfaces, lines, poly curves, meshes, and boundary meshes can be brought into Dynamo for Revit using the Rhynamo package. After this was done, the whole automation process in Revit was kickstarted.


The imported geometries from Rhino into Dynamo were basically used to create the Native Revit elements of those geometries and all these were achieved in Dynamo for Revit. Slanted structural columns around the external shell are a wonderful case study of this workflow as it was the most complex of all the workflows. This is because the external shell geometry is kind of wavy and requires that the columns adapt to their surface. This consumed a lot of computing time and power because so much mathematical solutions were adopted. An example is the Sine and Cosine sinusoidal wave concept. This was very useful in adapting the slanted columns to the shell surface.


The exterior pillars (structural columns) were designed to take up slanted shapes based on the façade geometry. We would discuss from concept to design, how we modeled the slanted exterior columns.

The structural columns in every edifice serve as load-bearing elements and as well transfers vertical loads to underlying supporting structures.


Another analysis conducted to integrate the skyscraper with its environment were the various studies available within the environmental studies of buildings. The resourceful technology that we utilized was Grasshopper for Rhino. And the packages used were the tools developed by Ladybug tools (

Radiation analysis, Illuminance, luminance, and daylighting analysis studies were major studies conducted on the skyscraper. 


To achieve sustainability and comfort in a built environment, solar radiation analysis on building projects is very important. We are working towards a sustainable building with our skyscraper project.

The major tools used for analysis are #Rhinoceros3D, #Grasshopper as the visual programming tool and Ladybug as an extension.


Ladybug imports standard EnergyPlus Weather files (.EPW) into Grasshopper and Dynamo. It provides a variety of 2D and 3D interactive climate graphics that support the decision-making process during the early stages of design.

Ladybug also supports the evaluation of initial design options through solar radiation studies, view analyses, sunlight-hours modeling, and more. Integration with visual programming environments allows instantaneous feedback on design modifications and a high degree of customization.


In photometry, illuminance is the total luminous flux incident on a surface, per unit area. It is a measure of how much the incident light illuminates the surface.

As we carry out a study of this daylighting parameter on typical floor levels of our skyscraper project at different times in a year, we intend to understand the nature of incident light rays on typical floor levels and the effects of the skyscraper facade on the overall luminous flux entering a floor.

It is important to note that accurate weather data for the project’s location (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil) was used for this study. Weather data is extracted from the ladybug’s EPW website;

From the daylighting studies done on the 21st of March, it is observed that the incident luminous flux at 12 pm midday greatly exceeds that at the start of working hours (9 am). It dramatically decreases towards the end of working hours (5 pm) but at an intensity greater than that during the morning.
This analysis is similar for other study months (21st of June and 21st of December).

Comparing daylighting study values for the illuminance parameters during each study month, it is observed that at 9 pm, the floor receives the highest luminous flux peak during June. At 12 noon, the floor receives the highest luminous flux peak during June, and at 5 pm, the floor receives the highest luminous flux peak during December.

A number of factors affect the luminous intensity on the floors of the skyscraper; some of which are the facade cracks which increase the amount of light coming into the floors having the crack effects.

Another factor is the building orientation. The front facade of the skyscraper is oriented to the true north of the project’s location which receives more sunlight rays during mid-day (12 pm). The image below shows the Grasshopper script developed to run the daylighting analysis.

Above all the solar/sun path for that particular location greatly affects the amount of light entering each floor. For this project, the rear south facade receives lesser luminous flux because its orientation is opposed to the direct sun rays and solar path. Package used for Daylighting studies: Honeybee by Ladybug tools.


To close with this publication on this project, we thought to introduce realism to the interior space of the skyscraper. Virtual reality as a disruptive innovation has proven to be a useful tool over the years. It is a computer-generated simulation in which a person can interact within an artificial three-dimensional environment using electronic devices, such as special goggles (like Oculus®) with a screen or gloves fitted with sensors ( We created a VR scene of the office space on the 7th floor of the skyscraper. The technology used to achieve this is simlab. This software package has a composer software (SIMLAB Composer) that creates the 3D environment and a VR Viewer software (SIMLAB VR Viewer) for visualizing the VR environment/scene.