Generative Design: It's not just for breakfast anymore


When I was growing up, entertainer, Anita Bryant, was featured in an ad campaign for Florida orange juice where she exclaimed: "Orange Juice — it's not just for breakfast anymore." I was reminded of this by a story I saw in Wired Magazine:

Read the Wired story

Project Discovery is our project to use generative design to configure our new office space on MaRS. The MaRS location in Toronto brings together educators, researchers, social scientists, entrepreneurs, and business experts under one roof. Using generative design allowed the team to juggle tons of variables and individual employee preferences with regard to:

  • Adjacency - "I need to sit by that guy because we work together often."
  • Work style - "I like only a little bit of light and want my office to be relatively quiet."
  • Buzz - "I like to see people come and go, so I can be where the action's at."
  • Productivity - "I want to avoid any distractions at my desk."
  • Daylight - "Wouldn't it be great if we could maximize the amount of natural light so we can reduce our carbon footprint?"
  • Views to the outside - "Let's maximize exterior views from desks and circulation paths."

So although generative is often envisioned as a technology that produces an optimal product design given a set of requirements, it's actually a multi-variable problem-solver that can be applied to a variety of complicated dilemmas or predicaments. Generative design is actually the process of defining high-level goals and constraints, and then using the power of computation to automatically explore a wide design space and identify the best design options.

Generative design — it's not just for product design and manufacturing anymore.

Widening cloud-computing's utility is alive in the lab.