When Computer Aided Design (CAD) software first became popular 40 years ago in the architecture, engineering and construction (AEC) industry, it was slightly misleading — it didn’t actually ‘aid’ in the design of buildings; rather it merely replaced the act of manual drafting.
CAD software has come a long way since then, and with generative design and artificial intelligence now making its way into the mainstream, today’s CAD capabilities would be unrecognisable to AEC professionals from four decades ago.
Generative design and artificial intelligence enable the computer to do the heavy lifting in generating thousands of design options, all based on pre-defined goals. This enables AEC professionals to create high-quality buildings and infrastructure when faced with time and cost constraints.
Pre-defined goals improve results
For generative design to work, defining the project’s goals are imperative. By clearly defining what the goals of the building are, the AI-powered generative design process can rapidly produce alternative designs in a fraction of the time it might take a human brain to develop just one or two. This improves the chances of finding an optimal solution, based on the design goals, while also giving back time in your day to focus on other important tasks.
One of the most well-known examples of this is the gridshell roof of Singapore’s Jewel Changi Airport. The complexity of the geometry and the time it would have taken to manually model each possible scenario would not have been possible, but by using generative design the engineering team was able to develop many alternative building forms to realise the final plan.
Generative design can also open up new avenues in sustainable building design. The demand for sustainable buildings is on the rise, with AEC professionals now increasingly committed to making buildings that are environmentally friendly and resilient. Generative design enables AEC professionals to explore proven design strategies, such as passive design, to maximise a building’s efficiency while also experimenting with and implementing new, low-carbon materials into the build.
Futureproofing for AEC professionals
It’s clear that generative design provides immense benefits for AEC professionals by pushing the boundaries of architecture, freeing up time to work on other tasks, and enabling more sustainable design. But while generative design has been around for many years, historically it has been seen in the realm of expert programmers only.
Despite generative design being extremely powerful in solving design challenges, it typically requires coding know-how and an understanding of special terminology. However, advances in software have resulted in easy-to-implement software plugins, such as Autodesk’s Generative Design for Revit, which provides AEC professionals with the ability to work from templates and define design goals. By simplifying the generative design process, the technology is democratised and provides more opportunities for non-technical AEC professionals to learn and use generative design.
As the software has advanced, so too has hardware. An end-to-end solution is required for AEC professionals to take full advantage of generative design, as not having the right hardware to run the software can extend the time needed to run the generative design process.
Faster, more powerful PCs are now available to take advantage of generative design. HP’s Z by HP portfolio has been designed with high-performance at the core. Z by HP devices are put through rigorous testing to ensure they run efficiently and reliably, all when running computing-intensive workloads like generative design. Computing-intensive workloads can also be power-hungry, but the Z by HP portfolio has been designed to use less energy without sacrificing performance.
AI-powered generative design is just the first step for the AEC industry. As AI and other technologies are increasingly integrated into the built environment, designers who stay on top of current technology developments will be well-positioned to thrive in the future. Taking the first step into AI and generative design is no longer a nice-to-have, but a must do.
To learn more, visit: www.hp.com.au/aec