April 02, 2012
Bentley SmartGeometry Conference 2012 Report
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Susan Smith - Managing Editor

by Susan Smith - Managing Editor
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First on the agenda for the Symposium on Day Six, was Enric Ruiz Geli, an architect and visual artist, director of Cloud-9 Studio, which won the WAF Award for the World’s Best Building of the Year 2011 with Media-ICT, in Barcelona. Media-ICT is the product of Cloud-9’s project based research model for practice that is responsible for net 95% CO2 reduction through its innovative structural and material systems.

Ruiz said that one technology will not be able to handle the load of global warming. “Do we want Kyoto to be signed by countries? Do we want 20 percent lower emissions? We can do buildings at 72 percent performance.  If I do 90 then you will be doing 20 percent. Smart technologies are cheap.”

The building that won the award produces a cloud of nitrogen, 70 percent nitrogen, “going to 92 we increase density, heavy particle of nitrogen, in 30 minutes it goes from 0.2 energy usage. Consumption of nitrogen is $3,000 a year. There are around 500 sensors, and track movements.”

He said they do a net zero building with market costs. “We do it using parametrics, efficiency, and we need to know about nitrogen, and geothermal.”

Ruiz described the elBulli Foundation: a restaurant that changed into a pilot project of sustainable architecture in a national park. It is located where the Pyrenees meet the sea. Environmental and habitat issues abound. The restauranteur is “the best chef in the world,”  working with Cloud-9 Studio.

The setting is shown as a 3D scan of people, water, sand, and trees. Ruiz said “Don’t look at environment as an image but as a 3D performance. There is full control of every leaf of that landscape.” They are placing sensors to map salinity, particles, performance of particles, getting CO2 levels, thermal, sun, and architecture in this map of particles.

This map of particles is just the beginning, says Ruiz, as the end result is quite surprising in a connect-the-dots way, allowing the ecosystem to have a say in how the buildings are built and how the buildings may respond. “We are connecting trees and buildings using sensors, so trees are saying to buildings what to do. Who’s the boss – the trees – we’re coming to empathy.”

Other speakers lent credence to the marriage of materials science, structural design, art and architecture and included Robert Hull, Head of the Materials Science and Engineering Department, RPI, Manfred Grohmann, professor of Structural Design at Kassel University and founder with Professor Bollinger of Bollinger+Grohmann, and Perry Hall, visual artist and musician, responsible for art and installations in museums across the U.S. and Asia.


Streaming video of all the presentations will be made available at SmartGeometryConference.com/2012 by Bentley Systems, primary sponsor of SmartGeometry 2012.”

Bentley’s “Material Conflicts” cluster investigated, quantified, multi-objective, multi-discipline optimization in order to tune building performance.  This means that they set up feedback loops that hook a building information model to key measures of performance, such as energy analysis using AECOsim Energy Simulator and structural analysis using STAAD, coupled with search algorithms to quickly generate and evaluate alternative designs in GenerativeComponents.  This cluster leveraged distributed simulation in the cloud to run the analysis quickly and take advantage of parallel computing.  While the cluster’s tools are at the cutting edge
of computational design research, the work was directly useful for solving the difficult problems AEC professionals face every day:  designers are often asked to choose from competing scenarios by choosing what tradeoffs should be made.  Bentley’s cluster looked at new tools that help them do this better and faster. Read more<

STAAD, AECOsim Energy Simulator, AECOsim Building Designer, and cloud based processing - and GenerativeComponents were used in 8 of 10 clusters. Bentley's GenerativeComponents (GC) is free and can be obtained at

Top News of the Week

Autodesk, Inc. launched the company’s 2013 portfolio of design, engineering and entertainment software, including the latest design and creation suites. The suites provide expanded toolsets and new automated suites workflows for building, entertainment, engineering, construction, infrastructure, product, plant and factory design. The 2013 design suites connect the desktop to Autodesk 360, a cloud computing platform that enables customers to dramatically improve the way they work by providing the ability to store, edit and share their designs and access virtually infinite computing power anytime, anywhere.

Autodesk, Inc. unveiled its new 3D design and engineering software portfolio for manufacturers, offering a complete set of integrated and interoperable suites and cloud services to simplify design, visualization and simulation workflows from product development through delivery.

Autodesk, Inc. announced its 2013 software and services for building design and construction, civil infrastructure, and plant design professionals. Enhancements for Autodesk Building Design Suite 2013, Autodesk Infrastructure Design Suite 2013 and Autodesk Plant Design Suite 2013, together with expanded cloud services and improved collaboration and data management tools, are aimed at helping design, engineering and construction professionals address today’s business challenges with enhanced Building Information Modeling (BIM) workflows.

Autodesk, Inc.announced the 2013 versions of its Digital Entertainment Creation (DEC) software and suites, used by leading artists working in film, game development, television and advertising. The new releases improve consistency and interoperability between applications, making it even easier for artists to take advantage of powerful new and enhanced creative features.


Cambashi, announced that Peter Thorne, managing director, will present an international business update on April 12 at 4 p.m. during the COFES 2012 Conference (Congress on the Future of Engineering Software) which is being held April 12-15 at the Scottsdale Plaza Resort in Scottsdale, AZ.

Deltek, Inc. announced that it has been named a finalist for the 2012 Helios Apollo Awards, the premier awards program for recognizing employers in the Washington metropolitan area that excel at promoting employee growth and development as an integral part of their organizational culture. Deltek is one of six finalists in the Pente category that recognizes top performers among the region’s largest employers.

Bentley Systems, Incorporated announced that it has donated a selection of 24 Bentley software products, including MicroStation and ProjectWise, to Engineers Without Borders - USA (EWB-USA). The products will be available for use by all of EWB-USA’s 12,000 volunteer members – most of whom are university students – to help them design, engineer, and construct essential infrastructure in emerging economies throughout the world. Bentley Corporate Foundation Officer Carol Rieg presented the donation to EWB-USA members last week at the 10th anniversary of the EWB-USA International Conference, held in Las Vegas, Nevada, USA. The volunteers will access
the software through Bentley’s STUDENTserver self-service site, which will enable them to download, at no charge, current and future versions of the software as well as training and technical support. In addition to MicroStation and ProjectWise, EWB-USA volunteers will have access to WaterGEMS, WaterCAD, Bentley Map, and Structural Modeler, among other offerings. This is the largest donation Bentley has made to EWB-USA in its five-year relationship with the organization.

Research and Markets has announced the addition of John Wiley and Sons Ltd's new book "BIM in Small-Scale Sustainable Design" to their offering.

This work is the leading guide to architectural design within a building information modeling (BIM) workflow, giving the practitioner a clear procedure when designing climate-load dominated buildings. The book incorporates new information related to BIM, integrated practice, and sustainable design, as well information on how designers can incorporate the latest technological tools. Each chapter addresses specific topics, such as natural ventilation for cooling, passive solar heating, rainwater harvesting and building hydrology, optimizing material use and reducing construction waste, and collaborating with consultants or other building professionals such as engineers and energy

New Products

Autodeskrecently released Buzzsaw Mobile for Android to Google's Play Store, bringing the awesome cloud-based project sharing functionality of the corporation's original Buzzsaw service to the palm of your hand.

For those unfamiliar, Autodesk's Buzzsaw service essentially provides cloud-based sharing for design projects and files, allowing project stakeholders to sync and view designs, 3D models, and other relevant assets with ease. Until recently, however, Buzzsaw sync was only supported for desktop and iOS devices.

You can find the full AECCafe event calendar here.

To read more news, click here.

-- Susan Smith, AECCafe.com Managing Editor.

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