Generative designs abc

With architectural design, there is not a single goal one is trying to pursue, there is no answer. For example, in the case of a home intervention, it can be crucial to have a good amount of open space and a good view. but also the return on investment and the value generated through multiple rental areas could be an added value.

Thanks to the so-called generative design, it is possible to optimize the management and structuring of the complexity generated both by the parameters related to the quality of the project and by comparing many topics, which often impose conflicting priorities and interests, through a precise definition of goals.


What is generative design

ONE semi-automated generation process of design solutions based on a predefined set of rules and the contextual assessment of the parameters regarding the quality of the project, which makes it possible to have tools available to simulate the best scenarios and optimize choices.

Generative design can theoretically be used for any design process, but its productivity in architectural design is higher in the technical-economic feasibility phase. A typical example could be the choice of volume in terms of the best ratio between built-up area and usable area.

This is how generative design works

To designerFirst, it’s up to task of setting goals and constraints related to the projectthrough specific software and deployment of a range of data starting from the administrative urban constraints, performance, cost, technologies.

At this point is computer analyzes all through algorithms and generates thousands of scenarios whereupon the various performances are highlighted.

That designer in this process it is not passivebecause it has the task of evaluate the different alternatives and if necessary change the initial goals and limitations to focus on the end result as much as possible.

From then on, the computer evaluates the new information and goes back to work.

Basically there is one strong synergy between customer, designer and “machine”: Together, through a series of steps aimed at defining in an increasingly specific way what the final product should be, human instincts and algorithms are able to bring the best solution to light among all those generated.

Here it is the creativity of those who design is encouraged thanks to the notion of an incredible number of possibilities that allow customers and designers to explore and experiment with unexpected and unusual possibilities.

Generative design also offers other benefits. For example, from an economic point of view, because the simulations are performed in the very first phase of the design, thus avoiding costly changes in the subsequent phases.

The crucial thing in the design is strike the right balance between creativity and control. The generative approach uses sophisticated interactive tools to accelerate and amplify the idea phase by using digital technology to explore creative and entrepreneurial processes.

The result is achieved precisely from a strong synergy between the idea of ​​the designer, who acquires an incredible power of evolution through the digital tool, and the boundaries that the context imposes through precise constraints and parameters within which this creative flow would seem completely uncontrolled and free , he is forced to stay.

That generative design it therefore has nothing to do with the design of a building but withdesigning a system to design a building or a building system. Basically in generative designthe goal is the process and not just the result.

This means that the designer’s attention is primarily focused on the process, even before the final product: the new challenge then is to control the process to achieve the best result, choose from a huge range of options the one that best matches the original concept.

The question is: what is the best possible realization in relation to the conditions of the general context?

The designer’s abilities and creativity relate to reading and interpreting the generated results.

In practice,The algorithm must be controlled with full knowledge of facts. The designer must have the sensitivity to understand how best to orient it. This is the desirable cooperation between man and machine, intelligent and profitable.

Generative designs abc

Generative design application workflow.

Intervention in Milan for a neighborhood architecture

As part of an order for one housing intervention in Milanrelating to the construction of a completion building block, consisting of several buildings, on behalf of a property development company, DVA has decided to use generative design as a support to deal with the myriad limitations arises both from the customer’s needs and from the area’s special conditions.

By providing the software with predetermined goals, such as solar energy potential, program profits, costs, green space, apartment carvings, and related typological blends, it was possible to generate countless building and ground layout options.

First, the regulatory constraints check its compatibility with each design scenario.

This also includedorientation of buildingsthat Heights maximize for buildings and access position on the go, as well as developers’ needs and project goals, including a set of rules to set right typological mix in the cutouts of the flats and their distribution in the various floors and buildings.

That was them then defined constraints and parameters like cost limitL ‘space optimization internal and external, ie sustainability requirements environment (eg calculation of the orientation of the facades and the best sun exposure).

In this way, innovative scenarios were opened up involving the study of form, performance, efficiency, sustainability, comfort and any other aspect considered relevant to the intervention.

In addition to one 3D rendering of the scenariosit was possible to see a whole range of significant data for screening and optimizing the hundreds of evaluated scenarios, such as for the GFA project, the efficiency parameters, the total number of accommodation places and the percentages of each type.

The goal was just that to be able to evaluate, downstream of the optimization processwhich scenario best suits the customer’s needs, paying attention to the fact that the convergence of one parameter may affect the achievement of another and so on.

Among the benefits of the generative approach to design is the ability to see complexity not as an obstacle to the designer’s idealistic and creative action, but as an opportunity to be exploited to his advantage for the purpose of seeking architectures that are more responsive to the ever-changing conditions. of our time.

The modular building system for residential construction

In the field of technological innovations, it is possible to highlight two main macro-research areas that can have a significant impact on the design and construction of residential architectures. In the early stages, the massive use of generative process allows you to explore innovative formal codes that result from the relationship between formal generation and performance optimization; in the construction phase, there is a focus on the idea of ​​a modular building system, with off-site production, which can develop and change over time. Not only. A solution for a real estate product that can be copied elsewhere and at a different time, and that can be adapted to new and different compositional, dimensional and functional needs.

This second option was explored as part of a contract for the design of one modular building system for the construction of residential buildings, developed in collaboration with the client company, which produces and assembles prefabricated steel components for construction.

Modular building system for residential buildings achieved through a generative design process

The core of DVA’s research wasintegration of generative design tools and their assimilation with production methods, aimed at achieving the quality of buildings and respecting environmental, economic and social inputs. The integrated calculation through the design tools, combined with the best prefabrication strategies, can guarantee the synergy to improve the quality of the spaces you live in, as well as the optimization of timing and construction costs, to achieve sustainability. social and economic aspects of the project.


This text is an excerpt from the publication “Living in the city. The value of the project in dialogue with the developer” © 2021 DVA DVision Architecture Srl

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