Generative Design in a Post-Covid19 World

Updated: Jul 23

If you are anything like me you experiencing nausea and fatigue of COVID-19 in the media, and are tired of hearing terms like "This is the way things are now" and "This is our new normal". That said because I'm tired of it, doesn't necessarily mean it's going away... at least not any time soon. Further in the book Disrupt You from Jay Samit, he communicates the difference between a disruptor and everyone else is that they see a problem as an opportunity. This has challenged my own stigmas that I have and forced me to think through how to we see problems as opportunities in the context of COVID-19 and AEC. It certainly isn't helpful that so many projects have been put on hold. That said, isn't that what we do as design technologist? Don't we thrive on problem-solving, and trying to find solutions?

With states opening back up, and businesses needing to operate under certain guidelines. There need to be certain regulations that need to be taken into account. One such example is conferences and exhibit hall layouts. This is one area that is near and dear to my heart as I was just informed that my neighbor who is a conference coordinator was just laid-off given all her conferences were canceled this year. Autodesk University which most of us present or attend at some capacity this year is all online. But what if it didn't have to be?

As a point of reference the Autodesk University class "Generative Design for Architectural Planning" Danil Nagy and Lorenzo Villaggi show a case study of designing the Autodesk University Exhibit hall. One of their main goals in their generative design solution was to "Maximize Buzz and Exposure" meaning the convergence of groups of people.

Image Credit Autodesk University - Generative Design for Architectural Plannning

Obviously this is a great goal in 2017 in a Pre-Pandemic environment, however is not necessarily conducive for where we are in 2020 when Covid-19 cases are on the rise. So if we're to start entertaining the idea of allowing conferences and exhibit halls to start occurring, what are some metrics we would have to take into account? This is exactly what we wanted to explore with our client TVS Design. One such metric was to infer a generative design for one-way isles for booth traffic. That said we need to take into account egress, and can't have too long of an aisle, so we also implemented shortcut paths for people to navigate the halls faster. The algorithm is able to be fed an exhibit hall perimeter, and explore the metrics of

  • Booth Depth

  • Booth Length

  • Path Width

  • Booth Count

The next steps will be to start applying a heat map to simulate congestion at bottlenecks and optimize the minimum amount of exposure.

This idea is still in the very early concepts, but we are excited to be teaming with the team at TVS Design on this project.

The next example would be restaurant layouts. We wanted to explore Generative Design for table layouts. In this example, we wanted to maximize tables that have a spacing of 6'-0" apart, that have maximized views to the windows but minimize congestion of travel to doors and bathrooms. In the below example we applied the new Revit 2021 Generative Design tools with the help of Dynamo to help us solve the problem.

These are just a few example projects that we have been working on recently that we wanted to share with you. We are excited about the possibility that some of these solutions bring to architects, engineers, and contractors, and didn't want to keep it to ourselves.

In conclusion, I want to challenge all of us including myself to find the silver lining in this new environment and see what opportunities we can create to help solve these problems. This includes all of us bringing more collaboration in our industry and leaving the world better than when we entered it.

Do you have a project or idea you want to use Generative Design for? Don't be shy! Reach out to us, and lets chat about it!

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