Generative Design

The future of CAD

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For most designers, computes are tools that are most useful at the last part of the design process.  Few w0uld dispute their usefulness at detailing, rendering  and in helping in the fabrication the design. However, computers are of very little use  in the early conceptual stages where design practice is firmly routed on the paper. Sketching is fun easy and fast. Its a good way to explore possibilities. Can computers do the same ? Can computers sketch ?

Like most manual sketches, it has low levels of details. But it need not be, because computers can now represent design artifacts as though they are real. CAD files now carry sufficient details to realize them as products and rendering quality makes the designs almost  real.  So, for the first time we now have the capability to have before us many different design possibilities in realistic form. This was not possible before. Because this was not possible, design exploration practice evolved differently. Sketches were done with low levels of detail focused on important aspects of the design. Details were added gradually. Detailing reacquired enormous amounts of investment, and therefore not viable in states where the design was still evolving. This has changed. BIM and other design technologies enable the automation of detailing. Soon generative design will enable hi-detail realistic sketching. But will designers change their practice ? That’s unlikely for now.

It is now possible to have accurate representation of multiple possibilities at much higher levels of detail than ever before allowing designers, engineers and marketeers to make much more informed decisions. The representations are of such hi-quality that they can be sold online before they are even made. This is already happening. Companies like zazzle sell over 4 billion virtual products – that do not exist, but will be made and shipped once the order is received. Generative design will allow consumers to be real looking products. It will allow clients to explore with the architect  many realistic solutions instead the final design that the architects now present.

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Written by Sivam Krish

November 20, 2009 at 8:24 am

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