Autodesk Hints at New Generative Design Tool for CAD, CAE and BIM

Wouldn’t you know it, you sit down with those industrial designers to look at layouts for your new office space, and nothing looks good.

You get two, maybe three layout options and each appears as if it ignored your inputs more than the last.

Your office layout can make or break your company’s productivity, morale and ergonomics. Yet we never seem to spend that much time optimizing these spaces.

Autodesk knew that with the opening of its new office in Toronto, Canada, it could do better. The result was its generative design tool, which can be big news, not just for BIM, but for CAD, CAE and many other design tools.

Don’t believe me? Look at the results from Autodesk’s internal pilot project.

“Our project was to create computer code, take information from all concerned parties, synthesize that feedback into requirements for algorithms, and generate office layouts,” said Gordon Kurtenbach, head of Research at Autodesk.

At the very first meeting with Autodesk’s research team, the team gave Kurtenbach eight basic office designs for the space. He said, “That’s great—this is much more than the three I’m used to getting!”

“No, no, no,” replied the research team, “These are just representations of the family of designs. We generated 10,000 possibilities and selected these from that.”

An architect’s job doesn’t change much between the two meeting examples. They still need to recognize what the customer needed, code that into industrial design concepts, and then come up with the best designs to meet the customer’s criteria. The software merely augments this process by coming up with thousands of design options for the architect to choose from, rather than the architect coming up with a handful of options.

Now, multiply this concept to the design process in general. Think of what could be generated.

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