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Hello, everyone. Time for our weekly roundup of articles at the intersection of building information modeling (BIM); artificial intelligence (AI); and the architecture, engineering, and construction (AEC) space.  Here goes: 

Even after her passing, Zaha Hadid continues to influence the world of design. The visionary architect and her team experimented with generative design as a way to optimize structural soundness in the design process. According to 3dprint.com, the Venice Architecture Biennale will feature a retrospective of Hadid's work, including a chair designed using parametrics and in conjunction with Stratasys. "Once the final design was selected, Stratasys was able to 3D print the chair as a single part. To demonstrate the generative design process, the chair includes gradations of color and opacity, ranging from transparent to opaque cyan, representing the chair's final structural performance." Hadid's chair also demonstrates how computational design methods can produce optimal structural strength with minimal material.


Front and back views of the Hadid chair. (Source: 3DPrint.com)

Also in the world of 3D printing, 3ders.org reports that Tennessee startup Branch Technology has announced it will be printing WATG Chicago's "Curve Appeal," the winner of Branch's Freeform Home Design Challenge. Unlike previous 3D-printed buildings, Branch uses a Cellular Fabrication technique which focuses on the inner framework: "Once 3D printed, that framework can be sprayed with traditional low-cost building materials like foam insulation and concrete to make a strong, hybrid structure." Construction is set to begin in early 2017, and the resulting home could signal a new era of durable, environmentally sound yet cost-effective structures. 

The impressively designed Curve Appeal house. (Source: 3ders.org)

The manufacturing of such structures is likely to involve at least some assistance from artificial intelligence, which is again raising concerns about how humans and machines will coexist. Bloomberg reported this week that Wall Street is largely shifting its strategy toward investing in firms and startups that will reassign what are now human-dominated tasks, such as advising and financial planning, to AI: "Squeezed by low interest rates, shrinking trading revenue, and nimbler technology-based competitors, banks are racing to remake themselves as digital companies to cut costs and better serve clients." The same phenomena are also being seen across broader industries as machines learn to do everything from lay brick to fine-tune MEP systems.

Meet your new coworkers. (Source: TrendHunter)

With or without AI, the benefits of computational design (CD) are catching on in design firms around the globe. While CD is still a rarity in MEP trades, Building Design + Construction reports, "A growing number of firms, including HDR, NBBJ, and Thornton Tomasetti, are investing in talent and training to advance their computational design capabilities." These firms, as well as others, are becoming increasingly aware of the value of CD in both time- and cost-saving potential. They cite rapid data analysis and the automation of repetitive duties as examples of how CD can streamline the design process. Not sure how to get started? BD+C also offers these tips on how to integrate CD and the pitfalls to avoid.


HDR team members reviewing the new computational tools at their disposal. (Source: BD+C)

If you are still amazed at everything that generative design can do (we understand), check out these images produced by Daniel Brown. Brown used a generative design program and drew from Middle Eastern architectural forms to produce fantastic and surreal photographs. Enjoy and have a great week!

Complex and lovely. (Source: Flickr)

Tags: Artificial Intelligence Architecture and Planning Virtual Reality

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