SmartGeometry Conference 2009
by Kenneth Wong
Would the facade of San Giorgio Maggiore look different if Renaissance architect Andrea Palladio had been able to envision hundreds of permutations of the intersecting temples and classical porches? How would the altar look if he had been able to generate, with relative speed, thousands of alternative schematics for his columns and domes?
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If Palladio were still alive, he could explore these possibilities by joining the practicing architects, forward-thinking designers, and university researchers who recently assembled in San Francisco for the 2009 SmartGeometry Conference.
The conference hosts, the SmartGeometry Group, an international group of professionals who use computational and parametric approaches to design, maintain that "architectural design as a process should exploit the new potential available in computing."
Perhaps Palladio had committed to memory all the parametric formulas for the architectural components, but a few dozen plans might be the most he could afford to develop for each villa or basilica.
With vast computing horsepower, the chip inside a standard notebook computer could generate many more mathematical variations of the baroque arches and gothic domes derived from Palladio's own time-tested rules. Some of the derivative forms conjured up by the computer might well go beyond the scope of Palladio's own imagination.
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Dubai Towers Dubai, a cluster of skyscrapers planned for The Lagoons development in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, was designed by Thompson, Ventulett, Stainback & Associates using algorithm-driven design.
Image: Thompson, Ventulett, Stainback & Associates/ Bentley Systems
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Using GenerativeComponents software from Bentley Systems, it is possible to automatically generate forms such as a steel stair, based on predefined parameters and formulas.
Image: Jens Sauer/ Courtesy Bentley Systems
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