Generative Design

The future of CAD

Generative cells

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A few moons ago, I had the pleasure of visiting the lab of Jon McCormack. In the vast campus of Monash University, I was surprised to find it located with in the department of computer sciences; I had expected it to be within the  department of architecture. I had known of Jon’s work as I had seen online – some of his beautiful generated rendition of unique Australian native flowers that grace the landscape that I now live in. But, what I found was far more interesting.

His research student Benjamin Porter demonstrated some interesting work that mimics the embryonic development of chicken limbs. A fascinating area of research that had long intrigued me. It demonstrates how cells without over all process control can form complex geometries orchestrated by a symphony of chemicals released in a coordinated sequence.Developmental biologist now understand the  diversity of life forms in terms of the exquisite variations of this orchestration.

Generative Design in its most complex form happens at the embryonic stage. It is here, that biological design processes display their mastery and their magic. This  is rarely understood or appreciated by those who indulge in the variations of design created by tweaking a few parameters (like the stuff that I indulge in) in late stage design. It is only recently, that I realized the limitations of parametric design. It is only in the early stages of design that entire worlds of design possibilities are truly open for exploration. It is only at this stage that Generative Design can realize its full potential. Jon and his team are on its track.

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Written by Sivam Krish

October 9, 2010 at 1:28 pm

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