Jonatan Schumacher epitomizes a generation that has grown up with technology, and he is implementing this long-ingrained technical familiarity to keep his firm on the cutting edge and pull his older co-workers into the future.
“He has a very unique set of skills,” says Robert K. Otani, vice president of Thornton Tomasetti and Schumacher’s manager. “This complex skill set includes geometry, engineering and architecture—that’s a rare combination of skills. It weaves what we do as engineers to architects and fabricators.”
Schumacher is working closely with design teams with software called Grasshopper, a scripting interface for architects and designers imbedded inside the rendering software, Rhino. Grasshopper makes Rhino parametric and gives Schumacher the ability write code using a graphical interface. Now, Schumacher can do in five days with Grasshopper what used to take two months.
“This software is a way to stay connected from inception to fabrication,” says Schumacher.
Otani and Schumacher agree the industry is becoming more integrated, allowing for a more rational, informed design before it ever leaves the architect. Though the process is streamlined, the demand is high and Schumacher is working hard. “I’ve been called a workaholic,” he says. “But I love doing this. It’s like a chess game.”