After the invention of computers, human beings have seen their ability to calculate and perform multiple complicated tasks at a time. Now in the 21st century, technology helped to get the whole world at our fingertips through the internet. The application of computers has influenced architecture in a significant way and the use of computers using certain algorithms is called computational design. Through computational design, we can create complex geometry using a mathematical approach and hence play with possibilities through parameters and constraints. In the contemporary age of computational architecture, the computational design helped architecture to reach a new height and is called Parametricism 2.0, which can be defined as “Parametricism with the parameters that matter” as introduced by P. Schumacher of ZHA

Here are the benefits of computational design in the field of computational architecture:

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Beijing New Airport Terminal Building by Zaha Hadid Architects ©www.deezen.com

1. Precise drafting and better representations of AR/VR | Computational Architecture

In the traditional way of handling a project, a big proportion of time is done in drafting and making construction drawings. For a large project, lots of drawings and detailing are hand-drafted and that requires large studios, many draftsmen with time and money. Now with the development of computer drafting software helps in fast drafting and performing the repeated task in just a few clicks, saving lots of time, space, and energy.

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Hedrich-Blessing Photographic Studio, view of the drafting room, 1942, Albert Kahn Associates, Ford Motor Bomber Factory, Willow Run, Michigan, Gift of Federico Bucci ©Chicago History Museum

With the development of computation in the architecture field, 3D modeling and visualization software play an important role. Today the architectural representation is not limited to 3D models and views only but has developed into Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality technology. It helped the architects and visualizers to better model and render and also the client to better interact with the space he/she wants.

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Using VR technology in presentations. ©www.urban-hub.com

2. Creation of spectrum of possibilities using algorithms

A computer is a machine that understands machine language, software engineers help to code or set the algorithm of the machine in a way so that any human can interact with the machine in human language and not 0 and 1. So, setting specific algorithms or writing codes can help in the development of the results we expect. This way of thinking and designing in the computer helps in the development of multiple possible forms based on the parameters and constraints provided. So, with this result, one can develop aesthetically pleasing complex forms and also digitally fabricate them.  

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Form finding through Kangaroo visual coding. ©www.iaacblog.com

3. Ease of documentation at various levels | Computational Design

A project must be well documented so that one can learn from the mistakes previously made or can refer to the project’s information if required or help in the maintenance of the project. With the help of computation, one can store the project information in a systematic directory and also find the information in a well-sorted manner.

4. 3D printing at various scales

One of the important uses of 3D modeling is 3D printing. The shapes and forms which can’t be modeled with hands can be modeled in one click using 3D printers. 3D printing nowadays has been widely used in various scales and different sectors of architecture. 3D printing helped in constructing an experimental structure, installations, construction of houses, and many other fields. 3D printing in the architectural construction field is in the developing phase and few construction companies have started its use.

3D Printed House ©www.theengineer.co.uk

5. 3D scanning and ease in surveying | Computational Architecture

Surveying of lands and terrain is an important job that is done for the site where construction will take place. With the help of 3D scanning and imaging technology, it helps to get survey data more precisely and also carries more information with it. Sometimes due to harsh climatic conditions or very rough terrain lots of errors may appear but with the help of drones with AI can accurately do the surveying of the site.

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Drone used in scanning of topology ©www.wingtra.com

6. BIM integration

BIM is a process that is different from the traditional way of building construction. It’s more efficient and helps in a better connection between different professionals working on the field and the client. The computer plays an important role in integrating all the works, communication, and documenting simultaneously. The computer also helps in synchronizing the works done on the field with the project schedule.

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Use of BIM at different stages of a project ©www.autodesk.com

7. Enable different types of Simulations | Computational Design

Simulations are a great way to analyze the designs and improve them in a significant way. There are many types of simulations we work on such as structural simulations, wind tunnel simulations, earthquake simulations, green building and energy simulations, etc. Structural simulations are done by structural engineers to analyze the loads on each member of the building and find out any defects in design. Wind tunnel simulations are used to check air pockets created at high altitudes for skyscrapers and green buildings and energy simulations are used to check the thermal information about the building on the site. These data help the designers to create effective solutions and solve the problems before construction.

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Wind analysis of a structure’s elevation ©www.iaacblog.com

8. Better project management system and risk analysis

Project Management and scheduling software play an important role to keep a check on progress and synchronize with the schedule made previously. With the help of a computer, the estimation of building costs and the possible risks can also be detected before construction.

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Digital project management system ©www.proofhub.com

9. Introducing robots and AI in architecture | Computational Design

Robots and AI is a bit new in architecture but it is in the development stage. Many forms of robots and the use of AI-based mechanisms are around us and we are living with these technologies. Robotics arms are used for 3D printing and fabrication of form and AI mechanisms are used to achieve a high-quality error-free design in a shorter time. 

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Use of robotic arms to digitally fabricate objects at University of Stuttgart ©www.archdaily.com

10. Intelligent Building Management Systems | Computational Architecture

The Intelligent Building Management System is being widely used in skyscrapers and high-rise apartments to manage the building service systems, energy consumptions, and other aspects of the building. This technology is helping the building to be more sustainable, reduce maintenance costs, and providing a better lifestyle to the user of the building. 

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Intelligent Building Management system ©www.ekeindia.com

These are the few fields where computational design has helped and given architecture a new dimension. As we move towards the future, the computer will help us in the betterment of human beings and transforming our lifestyles. 

Author

Souktik is a creative architecture student with a passion for architectural designs. He loves to research extensively on every field and shares his thoughts through visual illustrations. He is also an honest, kind-hearted person and an all-rounder.

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