Monday, June 7, 2010

Generative Design

I am quite new to Generative design, I started exploring general principles only couple of weeks ago. You can find lot of descriptions “what is” generative design. At the moment I like most the one from Lars Hesellgren :

“Generative design is not about designing the building – Its’ about designing the system that builds a building.”

My main motivation is not only pure interest in design and architecture, but also couple of Scia Engineer customers interested in data exchange with Rhino. They are using Rhino not only as direct modeler, but as form-finding and geometry generating tool as well. To allow that, couple of interesting plug-ins are available within Rhino. From general Grashopper3D , several specialized applications are available such as Kangaroo or Geometry Gym structural plug-ins. Rhino can be also used along with other software like Forten or FormFinder.

When using more design and analysis tools to achieve final result, data exchange plays a significant role in overall BIM process.

For existing Rhino and Scia Engineer users, plug-in which is able to directly export useful structural model geometry can save lot of time and effort in any phase of the project.

Geometry Gym Structural plug-ins already supports direct data exchange with structural design programs such as Oasys GSA, Sofistik or Space Gass. As addition to direct data exchange, it is possible to use standard SDNF file format.

What seems to be very promising for the future, is planned support for IFC file format. This will allow all software companies benefit from generative design available within Rhino. For Scia Engineer, which already supports optimization tools such as Autodesign, “what-if” generative design exploration might help to produce not only more challenging structures, but also cost-optimized, environmentally-friendly and sustainable building projects.

Generative Design in Scia Engineer

For Scia Engineer, there is no plug-in or scripting tool such as Grasshopper 3D available.

But Scia Engineer supports variety of data exchange formats, including native XML file format. On the top of SOI, which stands for Scia Open Interface, various .NET applications are created for different data exchnage – Etabs, SDNF, Tekla. These .NET applications use SOI to generated XML file, that Scia Engineer is able to import as standard project.

For internal testing, different test scenarios are used. You can consider those testing examples as generative design examples for Scia Engineer – geometry is not defined by list of nodes and beams, but all geometry is generated using algorithm instead.

This is not something that is available for all customers at the moment. It’s just demonstration, that using .NET and SOI, it is technically possible not only to import geometry, but also generate geometry based on any algorithm written in .NET.


Jon Mirtschin said...

SOI sounds very interesting, and potentially makes it very easy to implement a SCIA version of the Rhino Plug-in. Wonder if it's possible for me to get access?

Nice post, thanks for the references,


Peter Žalman said...


thank you for your feedback, I will contact you with additional info about SOI.