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architecture, engineering & Construction

Generative Design FAQ


What is generative design?

Generative design is a collaborative design process between humans and computers. During this process, the designer defines the design parameters and the computer produces design studies (alternatives), evaluates them against quantifiable goals set by the designer, improves the studies by using results from previous ones and feedback from the designer, and ranks the results based on how well they achieve the designer’s original goals.

What is generative design used for?

Generative design is used to provide practitioners the ability to quickly explore, optimize, and make informed decisions to complex design problems. Think of generative design software as an assistant that helps with creating, testing, and evaluating options. 

What goes into a generative design process?

Generative design allows for a more integrated workflow between human and computer. This workflow involves the following stages:

  • 1. Generate

    This is the stage when design options are created or generated by the system, using algorithms and parameters specified by the designer.

  • 2. Analyze

    The designs generated in the previous step are now measured, or analyzed on how well they achieve goals defined by the designer.

  • 3. Rank

    Based on the results of the analysis, design options are ordered or ranked.

  • 4. Evolve

    The process uses the ranking of the design options to figure out in which direction designs should be further developed or evolved.

  • 5. Explore

    The designer compares and explores the generated designs, inspecting the results based on their original criteria.

  • 6. Integrate

    After choosing a favorite design option, the designer uses or integrates this design into the wider project or design work.


Why is generative design important?

According to Technavio, the global architectural engineering and construction market is set to grow at a CAGR of 11.8% during the period 2017-2021. Increasing labor shortages add more complications. Recently, the USG Corporation and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce reported that more than half (57% of contractors) want to employ more workers in the next six months but are challenged by availability and cost. Budgets, schedules, and build quality are all challenged as a result.

Keeping up with this demand and delivering cost-effective, sustainable results requires new ways of working and the adoption of new technologies. There’s simply more work than can be done with current methods and size of the workforce. That means technologies that enable the automation of design and construction processes aren't just a nice to have—they are a requirement to compete and deliver on the number of projects needed around the world.

How do you get started with generative design?

Get started with Generative Design in Revit, a new feature now available through the AEC Collection with Revit 2021. Now you can quickly generate design alternatives based on your goals, constraints, and inputs to give you higher-performing options for data-driven decision making.

Generative Design in Revit is available in Revit 2021 to all users with a subscription to AEC Collections, as well as EBA customers. Assign users through Autodesk Account and then access the feature through the Manage tab in Revit. Single-product subscribers running Revit 2021 can access and build on the code through Dynamo for Revit and use it to create custom design studies using Revit data and geometry.