February 21, 2011
The Future of Design and the Overlap of Design and Computation
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Susan Smith - Managing Editor

by Susan Smith - Managing Editor
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“We're not trying to make a tool dominated process, we want thought process to be the central theme, and we complement that process,” said Aish. “What should be the influence of tools on design? It should have a positive influence but you should not know what something was designed with.”

Technology enables expressiveness. How do you get thoughtfulness back into design? He asked. “We intend for you to take the idea and the abstraction behind it, and want the technology to permeate the design. Tools are no substitute for the creativity of the user,” Aish said.

Digital craftsmanship is about writing your own algorithm, Aish advised, but first build your tools.


It was not clear what Autodesk products were being used to accomplish such efforts as Beesley's Hylozoic Ground or Canada's 2010 Venice Biennale for Architecture entry, but these projects may simply point the way for coming functionality.

Detail view of sensor lashes with shape memory alloy mechanisms, Hylozoic Ground Project, Canadian entry at the 2010  Venice Biennale

Hylozoic Ground, an immersive interactive environment that is part of the Hylozoic Soil Series of works, was presented by
PBAI, a Toronto-based interdisciplinary design collective associated with the
University of Waterloo, led by architect and sculptor Philip Beesley.

Hylozoic Ground is a Canadian experimental architecture that explores qualities of contemporary wilderness. The project will transform the Canada Pavilion into an artificial forest made of an intricate lattice of small transparent acrylic meshwork links, covered with a network of interactive mechanical fronds, filters, and whiskers.

Tens of thousands of lightweight digitally-fabricated components are fitted with microprocessors and proximity sensors that react to human presence. This responsive environment functions like a giant lung that breathes in and out around its occupants. Arrays of touch sensors and shape-memory alloy actuators (a type of non-motorized kinetic mechanism) create waves of empathic motion, luring visitors into the eerie shimmering depths of a mythical landscape, a fragile forest of light.

An example by Gregory Epps is RoboFold, which is a new way to effectively build cladding allowing for variation within defined parameters, so designers can build a facade with gradually changing geometries.

For some time we have seen well known architects using free form shapes which have been made possible by computational technology. Currently these shapes are difficult to design in a feasible, constructible manner. A company called Evolute from Vienna explores architectural geometry and how to give design control back to architects.

Sam Joyce at Buro Happold, doctoral candidate at University of Bath, showed work that demonstrated that engineering tools can be as flexible as those used to generate architectural geometry and can be complementary. He showed a set of illustrations, analyzing height and varying material in cellular form in a series of beams. A group of students were to optimize a design of a beam so that the person who won had the lightest beam for the heaviest load.

Buro Happold's SMART Solutions team uses optimized design for complex architectural, structural and environmental requirements.

Rene Ziegler of Waagner-Biro Stahlbau AG presented “Finding Repetition in Complexity: Design and Construction of Free-Form Building Envelopes in Steel and Glass.” He said that today building envelopes with unusual facades generate a lot of interest in modern architecture, and have become symbols of elegance and innovation.


While advanced design practice has been generally the province of advanced architectural and engineering professionals, the creation of DesignScript language will attempt to bring the capability to more people in the field.

Putting DesignCraft on top of AutoCAD is similar to putting 3D inside AutoCAD - the majority of customers are 2D CAD customers curious about exploring free-form shapes or analysis possibilities, who might otherwise never go out and buy a product to do that.

In the literature for the Symposium it was stated: "Programming skills are not required, but the attendee should have some insight into why algorithms have an important role to play in design, at a generative and evaluative level. More generally, to be curious about the future of design, specifically the overlap between design and computation.”

Top News of the Week

3D modeling software provider
Tekla launches BIM application for model-based collaboration. Tekla BIMsight is for everyone in the industry to share information for free. Now contractors, designers, architects, MEP detailers, fabricators and anyone who is interested can combine models, check for clashes, perform spatial coordination, and collaborate using Tekla BIMsight.


Preferred Systems Solutions, Inc. (PSS), announced that it has been named a Deltek Premier Partner. PSS offers implementation, consulting, support, training and customization services for Deltek Costpoint, Time & Expense, and Deltek GCS Premier solutions.


This Valentine's Day, in place of Cupid's Arrow,
Architecture 2030 unleashed the power of the pen to dramatically reduce greenhouse (GHG) emissions in the Building Sector. The 2030 Challenge for Products aims for the global architecture, planning, design, and building community, to specify, design, and manufacture products for new developments, buildings, and renovations to meet a maximum carbon-equivalent footprint of 30% below the product category average through 2014 - increasing this reduction to 35% in 2015, 40% in 2020, 45% in 2025, and 50% by 2030.

Autodesk, Inc. announced the expansion of its Clean Tech Partner Program to Japan. The Japan program marks the first step in a planned expansion into Asia Pacific. The Autodesk Clean Tech Partner Program provides Digital Prototyping software to clean technology companies, with the goal of accelerating innovation and addressing some of the world's most pressing environmental challenges.

Bentley Systems, Incorporated announced the launch of
STUDENTserver. This intuitive website offering is available at no charge to schools participating in the
Be Careers Network Academic SELECT Subscription program. STUDENTserver provides all students and faculty at these schools with easy, self-serve access to the same commercial-grade software used by leading architects, engineers, and owner-operators to design, build, and operate the world's infrastructure.



Microsol Resources Corporation, an Autodesk Gold Reseller serving the AEC market, is pleased to announce that Mr. Timothy S. Kramer has joined the firm as a BIM Specialist focusing on servicing the Mechanical, Electrical and Plumbing industry.

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