Parametric Design and Buildings – The 6 Ways Technology Will Change Architecture

Parametric design is slowly becoming an inseparable part of architecture. But property development may need it too. Will smart machines take over the industry? Let’s find out.

Property development can’t go far without architecture. A good property developer can always find a perfect piece of land to develop on. But it would amount to nothing without an architectural touch.

Developers will need someone who can design an ideal structure for that particular plot of land. Only then can the proprietor bring it to life.

However, times are changing and so is the role of an architect. To adapt to modern times, architecture needs to embrace modern tools and computer technology

Luckily, this is nothing new for architects. After all, their architectural designs and focus have evolved throughout history.

For instance, renaissance architecture emphasised aesthetics. On the other hand, the industrial revolution called for robust and efficient structures. As we can see, architecture always adapts to the zeitgeist.

Today is no different. The emergence of new technologies can reshape the future of architecture. New design concepts have even started to come up with more or less success.

But one technology threatens to become a centrepiece of the future:

Parametric design.

In simple terms, parametric design is a process where you input design “parameters” into a design tool. Those parameters now act as constraints for your potential structure.

The tool processes these parameters and generates the best possible structure using those values. Then, the architect makes adjustments to the structure to explore a myriad of shapes and creative options.

Parametricism is becoming prominent on a large scale all over the world. Architects are utilizing technology to create more and more efficient and magnificent structures.

Computational design principles have the potential to redefine the future of architecture as we know it.


How Will Parametric Design Change Architecture?

There’s no doubt that parametric design is already changing architecture, and this is just the beginning. Here are some of the key changes that parametricism brings to the table.

#1 – It Combines Aesthetics with Efficiency

For a long time, the laws of nature limited the architect’s imagination. Over the centuries, a number of artists managed to go against the grain, but it was never possible on a large scale of any sort.

It simply used up so much time to turn a visually captivating building into an efficient structure. It took a lot of trial and error, time, and effort of many. Such an endeavour was almost impossible in the past with these limitations.

However, computers have allowed architects to quickly solve their design problems. Check out any modern parametric structure. You’ll notice it doesn’t follow any concepts of symmetry and  it defies traditional shapes.

In the future, parametricism can solve spatial issues better than any engineer or architect. At the same time, architects can add their visual touch by tweaking the design tool.

Therefore, the end product can be a blend of maximum efficiency and artistic touch.

#2 – It Accelerates Design Ideas

When you input particular parameters into the design tool, it will abide by these rules in coming up with possible designs. This allows you to find the best possible solution for every corner of your potential structure

Thus, there’s so much more in parametricism than just twisting your structure for the sake of it. You can input the parameters inside the model of the structure and quickly sort out every room.

For example, you can design a restroom in accordance with the structure’s shape. Input parameters into the program and you’ll get multiple design ideas. If you manage to sort that out quickly, you can move on to the more appealing aspects of the design.

#3 – You Shouldn’t Confuse It with “Style”

You’ve noticed the word “parametricism” being thrown out here. It’s a term that describes an architectural style that uses parametric technology.

And you may indeed notice obvious similarities in parametric structures. It’s mostly because of their uncanny design, which seems out of place compared to its surroundings.

But that’s just one part of the story.

For example, property developers around the world are starting to embrace parametric tools, too. Not because they want to develop unusual structures, but because it allows them to utilize space.

Parametric tools can become a staple of property investment. By utilizing every centimetre of your investment, you can turn a mediocre piece of land into a beautiful, efficient structure and development.

That’s why it’s not only an artistic “trend” but also a technological step forward.

#4 – Allows a Complex Design Process (No More Repetition)

With most parametric tools being cloud-based, it’s easy to transfer data from one user to another. This provides an easier exchange of data and allows the formation of multiple design teams.

This affects the entire design process in multiple ways. Most notably, with the invention and rise to prominence of Building Information Modeling (BIM).

As you know, the Australian government is an early champion of BIM. It is a system where multiple teams work together in creating a building or other structure. It consists of multiple levels, from programming to construction and operation.

This process has the potential to end repetitive tasks and move away from traditional tools. It allows you to automate countless tasks that you would otherwise spend a lot of time on.

But on the other hand, designers will need to adapt to various new potential tasks.

#5 – Utilizes a Ton of Data in an Instant

The possibilities of parametric architecture are limitless. What previously took weeks, months, or years before now only takes a few minutes.

Imagine you need to design an office building. 

First, you need to think of the client’s requests as well as the possibilities. Then, you need to take into account natural laws that may prevent a particular design. Or laws affecting the durability of the building, including materials and other elements.

But with an AI system, you just need to know the initial parameters. The computer will do everything for you on its own.

Many say that these tools are the architect’s programming language. By playing with particular parameters and adding data, they come up with shapes and forms that weren’t possible before.

Within seconds, you can create countless different outputs using previous and new data.

Not to mention you can make new tools to suit your needs.

For example, you’re building a tower in a city where it’s mostly cloudy. How would you test the amount of daylight at a particular time of the year?

With these tools, you can do it in minutes. Simply simulate the situation with the appropriate parameters and you’ll get your answer.

#6 – Architecture Will Adapt to “Smart Cities”

A lot of experts are afraid that AI will gradually take over architecture jobs. Although that’s a viable concern, there may be a different path for an architect.

Instead of focusing on a certain structure or neighbourhood, a team of architects may have to plan entire cities. With the evolution of technology, entire cities are becoming individual systems of their own.

Parametric architecture may play a crucial role in making these smart cities work. This will present architects with another task. They may need to plan out the entire system of structures, instead of one at a time.

In a way, this is already happening. For instance, Alphabet (Google’s parent company) is looking to turn a Toronto district into a smart micro-city.


What’s Next for Architecture?

The fears of AI taking over an entire industry are premature. However, there’s no doubt that it is increasingly more common in architecture.

It’s up to the architects to embrace the new technologies and adapt to modern times. In a way, parametric technology allows them to focus on the things that matter.

If they utilize all available tools, they will have a platform with which to further evolve. Whatever the future brings, it’s going to be exciting to be a part of.

And what about you? Are you ready to welcome parametric design with open arms? 

If you want to be part of the future, you should try Archistar. The platform contains everything that you need to get ready for the future.

Our parametric design generator uses AI to create a ton of potential designs. Use the 3D modeling engine to create your own parametric models. Utilize every centimetre of your development property and maximize its value. 

If you like what you’re hearing, schedule a live demonstration of Archistar and take property development to a new level.

The 4 Ways That Generative Design Will Make an Impact in 2020 and Beyond

Generative design is the future of engineering, architecture, and property development. Learn how the process can revolutionise these industries.

By now, it’s clear that technology has redefined the way we do most things. Manual work is increasingly getting replaced by automated processes. And with this, people can focus instead on the more meaningful tasks.

Modern solutions are key to success in property development, particularly with respect to the design aspect. You can stay efficient and competitive through the use of the most advanced platforms.

In recent times, generative design has emerged as a trend that promises to remake many industries. It presents a great opportunity that engineers, architects, and designers might want to take advantage of.

You’ll find, in this article, a description of the impact that generative design is going to have on engineering and manufacturing. Before that, however, it’d make sense to learn what this new technology is in the first place.


What Is Generative Design?

Design has always required manual labour.

An engineer consults product specifications to come up with multiple potential designs. They make use of drawings, CAD designs, and similar tools to envision the designs.

Now, imagine if you could just tell a program what you need and it would then proceed to generate the most suitable designs.

That’s what generative design software does at a glance.

Generative Design is a process of design exploration. Through generative design software, designers or engineers input their design goals. This includes parameters like materials, performance requirements, spatial needs, cost constraints, and manufacturing methods.

Using artificial intelligence, the software allows you to input the size, materials, strength, and other variables. The software can automatically create as many as thousands of designs that meet the input requirements.

The program is smart enough to explore manufacturing options and criteria that might have escaped your attention. This is part of how generative design can make the design process more efficient, and significantly more so if you consider the iterative capability.

At the same time, it can also unlock many opportunities.

However, it’s important to distinguish this technology from other methods. In particular, those that feature similar elements but are much more restricted in terms of applications. Some examples include lattice optimisation, topology optimisation, parametric design, and more.

None of the above technologies can create entirely new designs for you. Rather, they only improve particular aspects of existing designs. In contrast, generative design offers a wide range of possibilities and acts as an extension of the designer’s abilities.

Generative design can take manufacturability into account, which is not the case with most optimisation techniques. A generative design program can drastically reduce the need to go back and forth between testing and redesigning.

Because of this ability, the technology is applicable in more than just design. Its use extends to some of the key aspects of production.

It’s not for lack of reason that many predict generative design will become an indispensable tool in engineering and manufacturing. Let’s have a look at how the design process can contribute to the two disciplines.

1. Material Reduction in Manufacturing

Proactive companies are already reaping the many benefits of generative design. And one of the most important is a significant reduction in materials used. Depending on the material, this can result in significant direct savings.

Even if the material does change, using less amounts of any material will always cost less than using more.

One of the companies that have adopted generative design is Airbus. They used it to redesign the interior components of the A320 aircraft.

The new designs required much less materials and the redesigned partition now weighs 45% less. Besides the costs savings for both manufacturer and customers, the lower weight also reduces jet fuel consumption and, with it, the carbon footprint.

Similarly, materials handling company Claudius Peters will be saving thousands of euros on every clinker cooler produced with it.

Of course, the reduction in materials used impacts more than company financials.

We’ve mentioned the lower fuel consumption of lighter aircrafts, but using less materials on its own already has a highly positive effect on the environment. The Earth’s resources are already limited, but their productions require energy consumption and carbon emissions.

For example, Airbus expects to lower carbon emissions by 465,000 tons annually with the new parts. This is the same as taking 96,000 passenger cars off the roads.

By leveraging generative design software, companies are working towards long-term sustainability. They can help protect the environment and provide better compliance with the ever-stricter environmental regulations.

2. Part Consolidation

Generative design also allows for consolidation, in the sense that existing multiple-part assemblies can potentially become single-part products. The result would be a more efficient manufacturing process.

In addition, part consolidation facilitates the better use of warehouses, as well as a more streamlined supply chain.

A great example is evident in what General Motors did with its seat brackets. With the aid of generative design, GM managed to turn an eight-part bracket into a single-part bracket. Happy with the platform’s potential, GM has started to apply it to other processes as well.

3. Process Optimisation

Besides manufacturing, generative design can make a great difference in the process of property development. It simplifies many of the requisite operations in drastically reducing the design-build time.

Van Wijnen, the Netherlands’ leading design-build company, has seen massive improvements in processes with the help of generative design. With it, the company’s time to market went down to three weeks from a previous high of six months.

How was that possible?

First and foremost, the company digitised 2D drawings using 3D modelling. This allowed them to aggregate the designs that engineers and architects came up with. The designs are now digital models the company can use to identify discrepancies.

It then developed a modular housing concept with hundreds of unique components. These are each configurable in numerous ways for a wide array of options.

Furthermore, the company is now able to standardise all modules and components by their unique codes and prices. Of course, this greatly benefits new clients who are looking to build a house.

Van Wijnen ended up with a simpler yet more capable process, thanks to its generative design software. They are now able to serve more clients and pass on the cost savings.

4. Custom-Made Retail Products

The retail industry is always under a lot of pressure.

Retailers must keep up with changes in customer needs and habits just to survive. Those who wish to do better than survival would have to constantly find new ways to meet customer needs and to do so better than the competitors.

From great customer care to delivering a good experience, retailers can attract and retain customers with a number of tactics. However, the ability to offer custom and personalised products is the key trend that retailers must follow.

Creating such products can be costly and time-consuming in the traditional assembly line approach.

But not with generative design.

Just look at Adidas. The company’s goal is to deliver perfect shoes to all buyers. Aside from the customary size and fit, the shoes would also have to conform to the user’s arch, knee limitations, and running style.

To make this happen, Adidas turned to the power of 3D printing. The company is already mass-producing customised 3D-printed midsoles. It plans to keep going down this road until it can serve up personalised products effortlessly.

As global creative director James Carnes puts it:

‘We have a really aggressive plan to scale this. We are scaling a production. The plan will put us as the (world’s) biggest producer of 3D-printed products.’

A Wealth of Opportunities

You may have to go back awhile to find a new technology as impactful as generative design software. It has the power to streamline the design and manufacturing of any products.

Besides, the promised reduction in materials used and related costs can be outstanding. Leveraging generative design can benefit the users, their clients, and the environment as a whole. Since the concept is relatively new, you can be an early adopter and gain an advantage over your competitors. We can also expect major improvements in the future.

And if you’re looking for a tool that uses generative design to the fullest, Archistar can be an excellent choice.

Among the many useful features, the 3D building generator can create stunning designs in short order. Of course, the platform is smart enough to take all regulations into account to come up with fully-compliant designs.

Please schedule a demonstration if you’d like to see Archistar in action.