Make Your Own Rules with Generative Architecture

Mar - Apr 2016

Make Your Own Rules with Generative Architecture

by Phil Bernstein, Vice President for Strategic Industry Relations, Autodesk


It has never been easy to work within the confines of complex geometry, especially when designing something with a sinuous form. An example of an architect that took on the challenge before the digital age is Frank Lloyd Wright, whose Guggenheim Museum was groundbreaking in scope and ambition.
Twenty years after the construction of the Guggenheim Museum, personal computers came along and it became easier for any architect to generate geometry. In fact, not only could architects generate traditional Euclidean geometry, but computers also made it easier to design and create complex and out-of-the-box ideas for any product—be it a building, a mechanical component or a consumer good.
Today, technology is reinventing how things are created—even geometry itself.
If you can dream it, you can build it
With the excellent digital technology available today, architects do not have to use a computer to draw geometric shapes. They can simply tell the computer what should be generated.
For example, if an architect designing a house has the following request from a client, “I want four bedrooms and a big living room on a triangular-shaped site.” The architect might draw four bedrooms as four squares and then arrange them in different configurations. But what if he could instruct the computer to generate around 25 different compelling alternative floor plans for this house based on the above constraints that were laid out, such as:
• No bedroom with an area of less than 100 square feet
• All bedrooms are adjacent to one another
• Every two bedrooms share a bathroom
• Bedrooms are on an upper level and public spaces on a lower level
• The building does not use more than a certain amount of energy
• Sunlight in the dining room in the morning, and in the living room in the afternoon

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