Generative design is something we often associate with manufacturing or product development, but an interesting session from Autodesk University 2018, presented by Kean Walmsley, a Platform Architect & Evangelist with Autodesk Research, shows how AEC projects are also pushing the boundaries of generative design.
What is generative design?
Generative design is the process of defining high-level goals and constraints, and then using the power of computation to automatically explore a wide design space and identify the best design options. Walmsley compares it to the “…the idea of designing like nature. In the sense that it’s using Darwinian theory to whittle through solutions and come up with a variety of designs and decide which make the most sense for a particular design problem.”
The genesis of generative design in AEC
In his session, Walmsley explores how generative design first evolved in a research setting to support architecture projects such as the design of the new Autodesk offices in the MaRS district of Toronto – the first large-scale example of a generatively-designed office space – and the Alkmaar Residential Neighborhood urban generative design project in the Netherlands.
How can you leverage generative design for your AEC projects?
Walmsley also explores the technologies that are available outside of research that allow today’s AEC teams to take advantage of generative design. For example, two tools – Dynamo for Revit and Refinery – allow AEC professionals to start working with generative design workflows.
Dynamo is an open source visual programming interface that lets you customize a building information workflow. Refinery, currently in beta (although you can sign up here), is an AEC generative design tool that lets you quickly explore and optimize designs made in Dynamo.
In the AU session, now online, Walmsley explains how you can implement generative workflows by driving Dynamo with Refinery.