Generative Design

The future of CAD

Why Generative Design means different thing to different folk ?

with 2 comments

In the few years that I have been talking to people about generative design, I sense an increasing divergence. ” Generative Design ” – seems to mean different thing to different people. 

1. Big Boys and Girls – with white/silver hair leading big firms. They got the vision thing sorted.  The vision comes from them.  CAD tools and methods are used to realize their vision. Most of them use Generative Components, building in geometric intelligence into models – so that changes can be made as they design.  These firms have teams of engineers using analytical software to optimize the performance aspects of the buildings. They know to do that well. In short, they use CAD more cleverly than the rest – for purposes other than drafting.

2. Spring Chickens – in school and just out of school category. Greatly excited by new possibilities around CAD. Mostly exploring funny forms and new ways of scripting using Grasshopper – without having to write code. They are great experimentalist, too excited about what they are doing to stop and think. They are happily   drunk and sunk in the world of new possibilities. The future of generative design is most certainly in their hands.

3. Cotton Whoolers – Mainly academics of the established type, living in the proverbial cotton wooled world – where theories, peer recognition and publications matter, where the disconnection to the real worlds is seen with some merit. Some of them, regard practice with disdain. They operate above the level of software programs and do understand generative design in its highest level of abstraction. Many of them understand the key issues well. But the children whom they teach however, have now run away – to play with the toys that give them greater satisfaction.

I have intentionally left out the software vendors – for they have been for long pursuing those that buy CAD. They  innitally persuaded  designers to drop their drafting boards (not that it was easy), moved them from 2D to 3D CAD and from 3D to BIM , with remarkable success. But the success and stability that the CAD world, that we once enjoyed is now disturbed.  Smaller players are stealing the show. There is now great dynamics and strategic differences in their approaches – that will determine the future of CAD. But, I will leave that as a subject for a  future article.

Now, the three categories I have outlined, appear to be independent of each other. They have helped create what we now call “Generative Design” .

The next blog article will be about the first category. How the big boys and big girls helped change the game of CAD.

Written by Sivam Krish

December 9, 2010 at 1:01 am

2 Responses

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  1. Hi Sivam,

    Great post. However, I would argue that you missed a small group of people that are interested in generative design. I call them ‘Old Dogs Learning New Tricks’ and I fall into that category! I most closely relate to the ‘Spring Chickens’ description without the advantage of youth! Thanks.


    Mark Loomis

    December 18, 2010 at 5:39 pm

  2. […] way of doing this, be this from social networks, taste in music, carbon footprint… creating generative mechanisms where the customer can create without the time intensive acquiring of technical or […]

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