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Susan Smith
Susan Smith
Susan Smith has worked as an editor and writer in the technology industry for over 16 years. As an editor she has been responsible for the launch of a number of technology trade publications, both in print and online. Currently, Susan is the Editor of GISCafe and AECCafe, as well as those sites’ … More »

Autodesk acquires an architectural firm

July 25th, 2014 by Susan Smith

Autodesk recently made a very unusual acquisition: that of the architecture and design firm, The Living, owned by architect David Benjamin. This acquisition was made in order to create the new “first-of-its-kind” Autodesk Studio.

Autodesk Studio

Autodesk Studio

David Benjamin says: “This will enable The Living to do more of what we are already doing and ‘super-charge it.”

Mussels on the East River in New York used for tracking water quality.

Mussels on the East River in New York used for tracking water quality.

But what does it mean for Autodesk? Autodesk says that the Studio will create “new types of buildings, public installations, prototypes, and architectural environments. Together, we will be able to actively experiment and rapidly deploy these new design methodologies in the physical world and the built environment.”

The Living

Autodesk has apparently been working with The Living for several years on R&D projects in fields beyond architecture – including art, industrial design, aerospace, computer science, engineering, manufacturing and synthetic biology.

The Living is a very innovative company, that has created a number of futuristic designs that embrace technologies that use bacteria to manufacture building materials for example. Their application of design also addressing the environment and employing the natural world for tracking the environment.

One such project is a floating pier in the East River of New York that uses live mussels to track water quality. The mussels change color to denote good or poor water quality.

This goes beyond “biomimicry,” a science employed by architects that is the imitation of the models, systems, and elements of nature for the purpose of solving complex human problems. Architects use it to study the movement of animals and plants to come up with creative design alternatives.

Autodesk has been interested in furthering their architecture and design capabilities in the past year. The sponsorship of SmartGeometry this year is one indication that their energies are going in this direction. SmartGeometry was an offshoot of the Bentley Systems’ generative design product, GenerativeComponents (GC). The SmartGeometry Group is an uber creative group of high level architectural firms and university professors and grad students who use multiple design tools to challenge the traditional boundaries of architecture, space and materials, and thereby accomplish amazing research in areas of architecture or related studies such as material science.

It will be interesting to see what products and services evolve from this union, and perhaps whether it successfully serves to feed the generative design research at Autodesk.

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Categories: 3D, AEC, architecture, AutoCAD, Autodesk, building information modeling, infrastructure

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