Rusticated Stone Blocks

You just got this great new renovation project! The building has a beautifully rusticated base that you must show in your renderings. Why on earth would you want to show that much detail for a renovation you ask? Hmm, maybe because your building is landmarked and you have to express the building in a rendering exactly as it appears in real life. How in the blazes would I get all that detail into a flat surface?

Can’t I just use a bump-map in Revit to get the same effect? Can you lift a 20 lb weight and get the same result as lifting a 50 lb weight? Of course not! So follow along, and let’s learn how to knock the socks off the landmarks preservation commission, your boss, and your client!

I’m going to start with a plain old wall in Revit with a thickness of 1′-6″. Create a new Revit family by going to the R button > New > Family. Select the Generic Model wall based template. The file will open and you will be presented with typical wall with a 6″ thickness. Should you adjust the wall thickness to match yours? The answer is no because we are going to make a block family that could be used on any wall thickness, so lets test our skills now and keep the thickness different.

Navigate to the Placement Side elevation. Your screen should look like the image below.

Placement Side Elevation

Go to the Create tab >Void Forms > Void Extrusion. You will now be in sketch mode.

Create Void Extrusion

Before the getting gets good, click on Set Work Plane under the modify tab. The Work Plane dialogue box will pop up. Next to the radio button name, chose Reference Plane: Wall Edge as the reference plane, and hit OK (see below). This ensures that the family will always be based off of the wall’s surface, no matter the thickness.

Select Work Plane


The rusticated block in our example will be 2′-0″ x 1′-6″. Select the pick lines tool and change the offset value to 1′-0″.

Pick Lines Offset


Hover over the center reference plane in the center, and add a line to both sides of the reference plane. Add a dimension from one pink sketch line, the center reference plane, then to the other pink sketch line. Click the EQ symbol to change the dimensions to EQ/EQ. Then dimension from one pink sketch line to the other pink sketch line. It should read 2′-0″.

2' EQ EQ


Select the 2′-0″ dimension, go up to the options bar, and select Add Parameter next to label. Type Width under the name and hit OK. Your 2′-0″ dimension will now read: Width = 2′-0″.

Add Parameter


Go back to the pick lines button, and change the offset to 1′-6″. Hover over the Ref Level line so that you see a dashed line above and click.

Bottom Line


Now change the offset value back to 0′-0″ and click on the Ref Level line again. But this time, make sure to click the lock button next to the offset value. Use the trim tool to trim the four lines into a rectangle.

Trimmed Rectangle


Select the aligned dimension tool again. First pick the pink sketch line, then select the Ref Level line. Click away to finish the dimension. Select the new 1′-6″ dimension, go up to the options bar > Label, and click on Add Parameter. Type Height  into the Name field and then hit OK.

Height Parameter

Go back to pick lines, and change the offset value to 1/2″. Hover over a pink sketch line, but make sure the mouse is slightly towards the inside of the rectangle. You will see the dashed line appear on the inside. Now press tab so that all of the pink sketch  lines highlight, and you see a continuously dashed line on the inside of the rectangle. Click to place the lines.

Pick Lines


You should now have 2 sets of lines that look like the image below.

Offset Lines


Change the extrusion end to 1″. You can really make this value anything you want. Just ask yourself, how deep do you want the “cuts” to be. Just remember that, the first cut is always the deepest.

Extrusion End

Finish the Sketch by clicking on the green check. Please note that we do not need to dimension the 1/2″ offset because since we used the pick lines from an already existing set of lines, Revit will automatically create the relationship and lock in the 1/2″ offset. Wow thanks Revit! However, if you run into problems adjusting the size, then you will need to dimension every 1/2″ (4 times) and lock it.

Go to the 3D view, and under the Modify tab, select Cut.

Cut Geometry Tool


Select the wall, then select the void extrusion. Your wall is now cut.

Cut Wall


Save the family with a cleaver name and bring it into your project by clicking on the Load into Project. Place it anywhere on your wall you wish to rusticate and have at it! It even works great around windows and doors!

You will find that corners don’t always work out for you, so here is my work around:

  1. Don’t place the first block at the exact edge; align it with the edge, then move it out and inch or so.
  2. Try adjusting the wall joins (miter or butt).
  3. When you copy the corner block, you will get a notice that the element was deleted. To fix this, just MOVE the corner blocks into place, then COPY it back to the spot it came from.
  4. You can move and copy multiple rows into place to speed things along.

Here is a look at the finished product:

Finished Rustication

If you really want an extra punch, you can use the paint tool and paint the inner surface a darker color to accentuate the shadow lines.

Rusticated Stone Blocks