GenerativeComponents: Going with the Flow
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GenerativeComponents: Going with the Flow



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Industry News
GenerativeComponents: Going with the Flow
by Susan Smith

In November, 2007, Bentley announced its trial program for generative design in architecture and engineering, which included a no-charge 90-day subscription to GenerativeComponents – Bentley’s generative design software – and a Web 2.0 community “space” for users to learn and share ideas about this new approach to design.

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Abstract produced by Ricky Titus in Generative Components
What is GenerativeComponents? GenerativeComponents (GC) is an associative and parametric modeling system used by architects and engineers to automate the design processes and accelerate design iterations. Created by Dr. Robert Aish, former Bentley research scientist, GC gives designers and engineers creative ways to explore alternative or unusual building forms without manually building the detail design model for each scenario. It also increases their efficiency in managing conventional design and documentation.

I’ve followed the progress of GC for many years, and found it unique in that it was brought to market differently than other software products. It also epitomizes the quest to bring parametric modeling capabilities of 3D solid modeling into architectural design, but with greater fluidity and fluency than 3D solid modeling. Not surprisingly, designers and architects who wanted more freedom in design than the traditional CAD interface allowed inspired GC. They were responsible for shaping the product very early on in its life, and have continued to shape and define it. The SmartGeometry Group, a non-Bentley group of users, was formed to continue research and create architectural design with GC.
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BishopsGate Tower, designed using Generative Components, copyright Kohn, Pederson, Fox Associates


According to Huw Roberts, Bentley’s global marketing director, GC has grown “from a great partnership between a software company and users of software in a way that I really haven’t seen any other example of in the market.”

GC is definitely different. For those designers whose view of design is as a set of relationships and a series of decisions that build on each other, GC could be easy for them to pick up. GC training is now available in a growing number of universities, architectural and engineering schools all over the world.

The generative design virtual community site offers training, materials, samples, and the opportunity to connect with others who are using GC, as well as Bentley support and training personnel.

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Multiple Truss created using Bentley Generative Components - Lars Hesselgren

“With the changes occurring in architectural and building designs, the notion of designing conventionally - whatever that means to someone - isn’t sufficient anymore,” explained Roberts. “Designers, contractors, engineers are looking at issues in terms of building performance, sustainability, new materials, new methods of construction, new geometries, new relationships between the programmatic elements of the building, and they really want the computer to be their partner in that process, rather than just a documentation tool or something automated. What’s exciting about GC is that’s exactly what it does. It’s a way the user can partner with a computer to deal with the issues that are important to them and to connect them to the geometry and the design model they’re making in a very flexible, iterative way. It allows them to re-explore issues and change their mind and not be limited by what is hard coded into the software.”

According to the press release, “GenerativeComponents uniquely preserves and exploits the critical relationships between design intent and geometry. Users can, for instance, dynamically model and manipulate geometry, apply rules and capture relationships among geometric features, and define complex forms through concisely expressed algorithms. By virtue of GenerativeComponents’ extension of Bentley’s MicroStation environment, the resulting generative designs can flow through to detailed production and fabrication without information loss.”

In contrast, building information modeling (BIM) is designed to help users with the predictable requirements of building design, i.e. coordinating all drawings, and elements of the design. GC can be a valuable addition to the BIM model because it can address the part of the design that is not anticipated or hard wired into the system.

Roberts said that GC most commonly drives the BIM model, but it can be approached either way. Many architects will have a really good understanding of parts of their structure in BIM, and will be dealing with the big issues first. For more specifics, GC can be added in.

Dubbed the “Father of GenerativeComponents” by many such as Lars Hesselgren, Dr. Robert Aish was instrumental during the formative years of GC. During the last couple of years, once GC moved out of the research division into Bentley’s commercial software development process, Aish’s focus shifted to the people using the product, learning what their experiences were, and enabling a dialogue between them and Bentley. Dr. Aish has now left Bentley to join Autodesk.

Thousands of people now use GC, according to Roberts, led by such notable architectural design firms as Arup, KPF, Foster and Partners, and Morphosis. Architectural programs at universities such as Penn State, Yale, Architectural Association at Columbia also include GC in their curricula.

Where once GC may have seemed a somewhat elite tool, it is now offered free to every MicroStation user who is on the Bentley SELECT program. A “Discovery” subscription and trial program are designed for those who don’t have MicroStation.

“Many people using it use other systems,” noted Roberts. “It can easily be taken into systems such as AutoCAD and CATIA and used there.”

There is a youthful exuberance and sense of possibility about GC. For architects and designers who want to try something new, GC is very appealing because of the price point. It can be easily added to whatever you’re already working on, and you don’t have to buy MicroStation or learn any other program, you can just add it to your workflow.

GenerativeComponents and related websites:

Generative Design Virtual Community Site 
Bentley Generative Components website
Generative Components website
Smart Geometry Group
The Great Escape

Top News of the Week

GSA now includes a bi-directional link between Revit Structure and GSA. With this Revit users can transfer model information between Revit and GSA with minimal loss of data:
http://www.oasys-software.com/products/structural/gsa/revit.shtml
Options are accessed from the External Tools menu within Revit Structure including:
-Export a Revit model to GSA
-Update changes made in GSA back into the Revit model
-Update changes made in Revit back into the GSA model
-Create a new Revit model from GSA

Dexter + Chaney will exhibit several new functions in its Spectrum(TM) Construction Software at World of Concrete/Technology for Construction at the Las Vegas Convention Center January 22-25. The company will demonstrate the product at its new trade-show booth (#S13139), which emphasizes the Spectrum marketing theme, “Many Tasks/One Goal.”

Announcements

Michael R. Hough, 65, of Avon, Conn. died December 25, 2007. Michael worked for the Federal Highway Administration and The Maguire Group before co-founding the A/E/C SYSTEMS show, a worldwide tradeshow for the design and construction industry. Michael was a founding member of the Society of Independent Show Organizers (SISO) and has lectured and written extensively on the various aspects of producing tradeshows, including authoring two books, The Profitable Tradeshow and its Second Edition. He went on to become a business consultant and private investor.

I worked for Mike Hough for a number of years, as editor of A/E/C SYSTEMS Computer Solutions Magazine. I enjoyed that association very much and always valued Mike’s matter-of-fact, frank way of dealing with issues and his sense of humor.

From AECNews: A/E/C SYSTEMS co-founder George Borkovich remembers: “Mike was the most influential person in my professional career. When no one else would step up to fund my idea for the SYSTEMS show, he recognized the importance of the subject and provided the cash to make it happen. Together we launched the first show in 1980, me handling content and him marketing and promotion. We remained partners on it for 17 years, before selling the business to Penton Media in 1997. I will miss him.”

Live distance learning courses from the Bentley Institute are led by experienced instructors via the Internet, and provide full interactive participation. You'll perform hands-on exercises, get real-time assistance from the instructor, and earn professional learning units accredited by IACET or the GIS Certification Institute.

New classes are regularly added to the schedule. For information on other courses and dates please contact Lauren Yurciw at 1-877-522-6287 X4456 or by email: Email Contact

The Open Design Alliance (ODA) announces the launch of its newly enhanced member portal and website at www.opendesign.com.

The new website delivers enhanced user experience and communication for the CAD community, ODA members, potential members, and the press. The CAD community and those interested in using DWG and DGN data can find details about the ODA, its mission, and related CAD topics discussed in white papers and press releases. Links to the latest press releases are available directly on the home page to also benefit the press. Potential members will find a comprehensive list of current ODA members and details about new membership, including membership applications.

Accenture has opened an Innovation Centre at Oracle's U.K. headquarters in Reading to accelerate the development, delivery and commercialization of innovative business solutions based on Oracle technology.

Newforma, Inc., a software company addressing the project information management (PIM) needs of the design and building industry, announced today that representatives from BNIM Architects, LMN Architects and Mackey Mitchell Architects will present “Approved as Noted: the Benefits of Adopting an Electronic Submittal Process,” at 1:00 p.m. Eastern time, January 31, 2008, in a live webcast.

People

Deltek, Inc., provider of enterprise applications software for project-focused organizations, announced that Taylor Macdonald has been appointed Vice President of Worldwide Channels and Sales Alliances. In this position, Macdonald will be responsible for managing and developing Deltek's global channel and sales alliance operations. Macdonald will report directly to Deltek's Executive Vice President of Worldwide Sales, Carolyn Parent.

The Oracle Applications Users Group (OAUG), the world's largest user knowledgebase for Oracle Applications, announced it has hired Mike Levin as its new executive director. Levin will be responsible for implementing OAUG's goals and objectives as established by the organization's board.

Kevin Settlemyre, a leader in the sustainable movement in the US’s Northeast, has been appointed by Integrated Environmental Solutions (IES) Limited to head up its North American operations, which are headquartered in Boston.

IES is not a typical software company, its international Consulting arm works side by side with project teams to provide detailed simulation analysis and develop innovative design solutions. While its integrated suite of building performance software the opens new doors to high performance green design.

Nemetschek North America congratulates VectorWorks user Raymond Beeler Architect PC for winning three American Institute of Architects (AIA) awards for its work on two library expansions. The company was awarded a 2007 AIA Westchester/Mid-Hudson Chapter First Honor Award and a 2007 AIA Long Island Chapter "Archi" Award for the Syosset Public Library Expansion.

The firm also received an "Archi" Award commendation from the AIA Long Island for its Baldwin Public Library Expansion.

New Products

Version 6 of the RISA-3D & RISAFloor link with Revit Structure is now available from RISATech for download. This is a full two-way link which means you can start modeling in RISA-3D or RISAFloor and send the model to Revit Structure. You can also model in Revit Structure first.

This bi-directional capability offers complete flexibility in the design process by allowing the engineer to decide where to start modeling. Visit their website for more information and to download this new link.

Solix Technologies, a leading provider of Enterprise Data Management Solutions used by large enterprise customers to manage business critical data, announced that the Solix Enterprise Data Management Suite (Solix EDMS) supports the Oracle® Database 11g, including the Total Recall and Partitioning options.

Altima Software launched an innovative software product for AutoCAD users to manage design data with search, compare, archive and file navigation capabilities: Everest Professional. Focusing on productivity, this new product will improve work flow and provide designers with more time for creativity.

Neilsoft announced the launch of CADiSON, an object oriented solution for Plant Engineering. The CADiSON suite of products is the technological leader in integrated Plant Design and Engineering. This comprehensive solution encompasses P&ID, 3D Piping, Electrical and Control Technology.

Around the Web

Is Prefab Fab? MoMA Plans a Show  by Robin Pogrebin, January 8, 2007, The New York Times (registration required) - To many people the term “prefab housing” calls to mind trailer parks. Yet lately prefabricated houses — built off site and then delivered largely complete — have become fashionable at architecture schools and among an upscale segment of the housing market. They pose a considerable design challenge.

Oracle to buy BEA for $8.5 billion by Dawn Kawamoto, January 16, 2008, CNET News.com

Events

World of concrete 2008
Date: January 22 - 25, 2008
Place: Las Vegas Convention Center
Las Vegas, NV USA
With more than 900,000 net sq. ft. of exhibits occupied by 1,739 exhibitors, and professional registrants of 91,628, World of Concrete 2007 was the largest show in its 33-year history! This year, WOC 2008 promises to bring you an even bigger and better show with all of the production equipment, handling tools, trucks, the latest technologies, 90-minute and three-hour seminar programs, indoor and outdoor events & demonstrations, resources and valuable information for the concrete and masonry industry professionals.
San Antonio VectorWorks User Group Meeting
Date: January 22, 2008
Place: 427 Greenwich Blvd
Seidel + Associates, Inc, San Antonio, TX USA
There will be a VectorWorks UG meeting at office of "Seidel and Associates, Inc." Time: 6:30pm Contact: Email: don@seidel-inc.com
Autodesk® Revit® Architecture Workshop
Date: January 22, 2008
Place: greensboro, NC USA
Work hands-on for two hours with Revit Architecture software and see how to reap the competitive advantage of building information modeling (BIM). Your competitors are doing it—shouldn’t you be doing it too? Our workshop will introduce you to the ways in which Revit Architecture helps you get back to doing what you love—designing buildings. Discover how to work holistically in a mirror of the real world, rather than with isolated elements such as floor plans, sections, and elevations. Experience Revit’s parametric change technology in action—watch as any change you make, anytime, anywhere, is automatically coordinated everywhere in your project, in model views, drawing sheets, schedules, sections, plans, you name it. Everything stays coordinated, consistent, and complete—and you can get back to the pure love of design.
Streamlining Your Proposal Phase
Date: January 22, 2008
Place: King of Prussia Center
630 Freedom Business Center, 3rd Floor, King of Prussia, PA USA
In this exclusive event, Synergis Director of Infrastructure & GIS Solutions, Bill Frederick will be discussing the use of Google Earth satellite imagery within the AutoCAD Civil 3D environment. Gain an understanding of the following and experience how Google Earth tools are invaluable to your 3D design models:
  • Bringing Google Earth Imagery into AutoCAD Civil 3D
    Take a virtual trip to your project site and get a good feel for the surroundings. Easily find, research, and review prospective sites on Google Earth and then simply pull in the images into AutoCAD Civil 3D using the available utility tool.
  • Creating Surfaces in AutoCAD Civil 3D from Google Earth Point Data
    Turn your data into detail! Use the GIS Data Importing Module to incorporate GIS data into AutoCAD Civil 3D. Simply create digital elevation models and conduct initial surface analysis.
  • Simplifying the Initial Design Phase
    Ease the creation of your designs by utilizing features found in AutoCAD Civil 3D. Give yourself the ability to quickly review, evaluate, analyze and edit multiple designs to help meet your client demands.
  • Multiple Versions of a Preliminary Plan
    Create multiple versions that are all updated automatically as changes are made. Various modeling capabilities available in AutoCAD Civil 3D, give you the ability to simplify the process.
  • 3D Visualization = High Impact Proposals
    Impress clients and planning commissions with live interactive fly-throughs that show aerial tours of a project and its environment. Gain a better understanding of how to use 3D visualization as an effective communication tool.
Autodesk® 3ds Max® 2008 Workshop
Date: January 22, 2008
Place: Denver, CO USA
Work hands-on for two hours with 3ds Max software and see how to render such photorealistic design visualizations that your clients and colleagues will literally be at a loss for words. It’s a fact that nothing communicates your design concept to colleagues and clients better than a virtual image. 3ds Max 2008 transforms the creative process. Experience your designs with rendering and animation tools that enable you to see how everything—sun, sky, shadows, people—interact with your building both inside and out. And you can work seamlessly—designs developed in AutoCAD Architecture and Revit Architecture link directly to Autodesk 3ds Max 2008.
Go Green with BIM in VectorWorks Architect
Date: January 22, 2008
Place: 130 Sutter Street
Suite 600, AIA San Francisco, San Francisco, CA USA
Learn how you can integrate building information modeling (BIM) technology into your workflow to create sustainable designs without missing a beat. Join us at the AIA San Francisco on Tuesday, January 22, to find out how from local designer and LEED consultant Michael Heacock. You’ll earn 1 AIA/CES credit for attending. What: BIM and Sustainability with VectorWorks Architect Guest speaker: Michael Heacock, Associate AIA/LEED AP Sponsors: VectorWorks, The Architect’s Newspaper Food & drinks will be provided. Michael Heacock, a pioneer of green building projects in California and beyond, will present an overview of BIM technology in VectorWorks Architect. He’ll illustrate opportunities to integrate sustainable design components and information through sample projects. He’ll focus on presentation and production drawing, emphasizing efficient workflow and best practices with VectorWorks Architect. VectorWorks representatives will also be on hand to answer any questions you may have. RSVP: By January 18th to Theresa Eckels at teckels@nemetschek.net or 410-290-5114, ext. 728. When: Tuesday, January 22 6-6:30 pm reception, 6:30-7:30pm presentation
Autodesk® 3ds Max® 2008 Workshop
Date: January 23, 2008
Place: Tampa, FL USA
Work hands-on for two hours with 3ds Max software and see how to render such photorealistic design visualizations that your clients and colleagues will literally be at a loss for words. It’s a fact that nothing communicates your design concept to colleagues and clients better than a virtual image. 3ds Max 2008 transforms the creative process. Experience your designs with rendering and animation tools that enable you to see how everything—sun, sky, shadows, people—interact with your building both inside and out. And you can work seamlessly—designs developed in AutoCAD Architecture and Revit Architecture link directly to Autodesk 3ds Max 2008.
New York VectorWorks User Group Meeting
Date: January 23, 2008
Place: 520 8th Avenue, 20th Floor
3Form, New York, NY USA
This presentation will explain the concepts of Workgroup Referencing in Vectorworks. Rick Bernstein, from Three Dimensional Technology, will show how it provides a mechanism to move information from one document to another in a very sophisticated workflow. Time: 6:30pm Contact: Email: vwnyug@ifarchitect.com
Autodesk® 3ds Max® 2008 Workshop
Date: January 24, 2008
Place: Virginia Beach, VA USA
Work hands-on for two hours with 3ds Max software and see how to render such photorealistic design visualizations that your clients and colleagues will literally be at a loss for words. It’s a fact that nothing communicates your design concept to colleagues and clients better than a virtual image. 3ds Max 2008 transforms the creative process. Experience your designs with rendering and animation tools that enable you to see how everything—sun, sky, shadows, people—interact with your building both inside and out. And you can work seamlessly—designs developed in AutoCAD Architecture and Revit Architecture link directly to Autodesk 3ds Max 2008.
Autodesk® 3ds Max® 2008 Workshop
Date: January 25, 2008
Place: Chicago, IL USA
Attend a Free Autodesk® 3ds Max® 2008 Workshop in January. Work hands-on for two hours with 3ds Max software and see how to render such photorealistic design visualizations that your clients and colleagues will literally be at a loss for words. It’s a fact that nothing communicates your design concept to colleagues and clients better than a virtual image. 3ds Max 2008 transforms the creative process. Experience your designs with rendering and animation tools that enable you to see how everything—sun, sky, shadows, people—interact with your building both inside and out. And you can work seamlessly—designs developed in AutoCAD Architecture and Revit Architecture link directly to Autodesk 3ds Max 2008.
Autodesk® Revit® Architecture Workshop
Date: January 25, 2008
Place: Chicago, IL USA
Work hands-on for two hours with Revit Architecture software and see how to reap the competitive advantage of building information modeling (BIM). Your competitors are doing it—shouldn’t you be doing it too? Our workshop will introduce you to the ways in which Revit Architecture helps you get back to doing what you love—designing buildings. Discover how to work holistically in a mirror of the real world, rather than with isolated elements such as floor plans, sections, and elevations. Experience Revit’s parametric change technology in action—watch as any change you make, anytime, anywhere, is automatically coordinated everywhere in your project, in model views, drawing sheets, schedules, sections, plans, you name it. Everything stays coordinated, consistent, and complete—and you can get back to the pure love of design.
Underground Construction Technology (UCT)
Date: January 29 - 31, 2008
Place: Atlanta, GA USA
Welcome to the 14th Annual Underground Construction Technology (UCT) International Conference & Exhibition! UCT 2008 is your passport to the only event focused on the underground utility construction and rehabilitation markets. UCT is entirely dedicated to providing the industry with a forum for dialogue and education concerning all things underground – both trenchless and traditional methods.
Autodesk® 3ds Max® 2008 Workshop
Date: January 31, 2008
Place: Omaha, NE USA
Work hands-on for two hours with 3ds Max software and see how to render such photorealistic design visualizations that your clients and colleagues will literally be at a loss for words. It’s a fact that nothing communicates your design concept to colleagues and clients better than a virtual image. 3ds Max 2008 transforms the creative process. Experience your designs with rendering and animation tools that enable you to see how everything—sun, sky, shadows, people—interact with your building both inside and out. And you can work seamlessly—designs developed in AutoCAD Architecture and Revit Architecture link directly to Autodesk 3ds Max 2008.
BALTIMORE HOME BUILDING AND REMODELING SHOW 2008
Date: February 1 - 3, 2008
Place: Baltimore Convention Center
MD USA
The 10th annual Home Building and Remodeling Show is a consumer home show held at the beautiful Baltimore Convention Center located in the heart of the inner harbor of Baltimore, Maryland.
Autodesk® Revit® Architecture Workshop
Date: February 1, 2008
Place: Omaha, NE USA
Work hands-on for two hours with Revit Architecture software and see how to reap the competitive advantage of building information modeling (BIM). Your competitors are doing it—shouldn’t you be doing it too? Our workshop will introduce you to the ways in which Revit Architecture helps you get back to doing what you love—designing buildings. Discover how to work holistically in a mirror of the real world, rather than with isolated elements such as floor plans, sections, and elevations. Experience Revit’s parametric change technology in action—watch as any change you make, anytime, anywhere, is automatically coordinated everywhere in your project, in model views, drawing sheets, schedules, sections, plans, you name it. Everything stays coordinated, consistent, and complete—and you can get back to the pure love of design.
Autodesk® Revit® MEP Workshop
Date: February 1, 2008
Place: Omaha, NE USA
Work hands-on for two hours with Revit MEP software and see how to reap the competitive advantage of building information modeling. Your competitors are doing it—shouldn’t you be doing it too? Our workshop will introduce you to the ways in which you can use the intuitive, straightforward design process made possible by Revit MEP. Discover how the software treats information in terms of the entire building, linking all mechanical, electrical, and plumbing systems within the building information model (BIM). You’ll see how you can get timely feedback on a project’s MEP scope, schedule, and budget; increase coordination through parametric change management; and reduce time, errors, and redesigns by communicating a realistic representation of a building’s MEP engineering systems to your client.
Autodesk® Revit® MEP Workshop
Date: February 8, 2008
Place: Dallas, TX USA
Work hands-on for two hours with Revit MEP software and see how to reap the competitive advantage of building information modeling. Your competitors are doing it—shouldn’t you be doing it too? Our workshop will introduce you to the ways in which you can use the intuitive, straightforward design process made possible by Revit MEP. Discover how the software treats information in terms of the entire building, linking all mechanical, electrical, and plumbing systems within the building information model (BIM). You’ll see how you can get timely feedback on a project’s MEP scope, schedule, and budget; increase coordination through parametric change management; and reduce time, errors, and redesigns by communicating a realistic representation of a building’s MEP engineering systems to your client.
Autodesk® Revit® Architecture Workshop
Date: February 8, 2008
Place: Dallas, TX USA
Work hands-on for two hours with Revit Architecture software and see how to reap the competitive advantage of building information modeling (BIM). Your competitors are doing it—shouldn’t you be doing it too? Our workshop will introduce you to the ways in which Revit Architecture helps you get back to doing what you love—designing buildings. Discover how to work holistically in a mirror of the real world, rather than with isolated elements such as floor plans, sections, and elevations. Experience Revit’s parametric change technology in action—watch as any change you make, anytime, anywhere, is automatically coordinated everywhere in your project, in model views, drawing sheets, schedules, sections, plans, you name it. Everything stays coordinated, consistent, and complete—and you can get back to the pure love of design.
The 2008 International Builders' Show® and nextBUILD's™
Date: February 13 - 16, 2008
Place: Orange County Convention Center
Orlando, FL USA
nextBUILD™, formerly tecHOMExpo, features leading-edge home building technologies to give buyers the sophisticated homes they desire, and give builders an edge in the market.
We've got everything you need under one roof. More than 1,900 exhibitors will showcase their latest products and services at the IBS. The Show will also feature almost 300 education sessions or programs designed to help you stay current on industry trends and issues.

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