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Bentley’s GenerativeComponents – a panel discussion

Tuesday, October 27th, 2009

An impromptu panel discussion was held at the end of one architectural track session at the Be Inspired Awards and Symposium a couple of weeks ago. The panel was comprised of Richard Priest, architectural software engineer for Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios, winners in the category Innovation in Structural Engineering, Oliver Plunkett, civil and structural engineer director, BDP, finalists and Andy Shaw, architect, head of advanced digital modeling and Paul Hunt, Hopkins Architects Limited.

Huw Roberts, Bentley: Some practices have a specialist team doing GenerativeComponents (GC) – is it better if you can get it absorbed into the practice of the teams?

Response: It’s changing the dynamic for who’s driving the design. You used to get guys out of college who could just draw, now you’re getting them who can actually design to the project. It’s an emerging way of working, it’s generational, with more senior people who have more building experience moving on. It’s giving young practices an opportunity to emerge. I think it’s removed tension. The young are intimately involved and driving options that may seemed not possible. Before they would come in and just draw someone else’s design (in the old days).

You’re using GC to achieve purpose not just a cool shape.

Roberts: How do you think this technology is changing abilities?

Response: Before you had one best guess, now you can fine tune it, within practice, you can’t get away with doing extravagant, must make it rational and efficient, making sure design can work.

Huw Roberts: Clients wanted to explore progressive design – how has technology helped you convince the client that you’re helping minimize their risk?

Response: If you model something in 3D you can’t fudge it. It’s a virtualization of the building process that as designers, we should be doing.

GC forces you to be very precise, the 3D model is your digitai prototype. If your virtual model is working a lot of clients get more confidence that it can be built.

The word “Prototype” makes it sound like it’s more correct, than the word “model.”

Huw Roberts: Are you sharing analytics with client?

Response: Yes, you can prove C-values, shadows, they are easiest to quantify, room temps are more difficult to quantify, etc. They know what they’re getting.

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