What is Computational Design?

29 September 2021All, Computational Design, Digital Transformationcomputational design, Design, innovation



Computational design represents a paradigm shift in the way we think and work. Every facet of the AEC industry will eventually be affected by it, and some have called it the “defining moment” of this decade.  

Historically, designers have drawn on their experience and knowledge to solve design problems. However, in a digitally-powered world, we have increasingly interconnected data we can put to use in enriched intelligent design processes. Thus, a designer can now use software to instruct a computer to solve design problems (creation, fabrication, interaction, analysis) faster and with more options. In computational design, the design is computed for you.

While the definition of computational design is evolving, specialists describe it as an algorithmic problem-solving methodology that uses digital capabilities to set values and develop solutions.

Computational design involves four steps:

  1. Algorithms – creating step-by-step instructions to solve a problem
  2. Decomposition – breaking a design into smaller parts
  3. Pattern recognition – looking for similarities, trends and patterns
  4. Abstraction – focusing on what’s required to solve the problem and ignoring what’s not necessary

For a look at trends in computational design by an industry expert, you can access Anthony Zuefeldt’s Applied Software webinar “Emerging Industry Trends in Computational Design” on demand.

Through this problem-solving methodology, the building industry is beginning to diminish some of the largest, most pressing challenges companies face, while transforming existing processes.

Through the use of computational design, your company can benefit in these ways:

  • Increase your return on investment by automating repetitive tasks.
  • Focus on designing better solutions for your customers.
  • Remain agile in finding the best design solutions.
  • Simulate designs for analysis.
  • Accomplish more with less.
  • Take on larger and more complex projects.
  • Generate more revenue on a per-project basis.

There’s a multitude of trends occurring in computational design, and the pace of change and innovation in this facet of the building industry is extraordinarily high. As processing power grows, so do our capabilities to perform computationally intensive tasks. Increasingly sophisticated computing methods allow for more powerful tools to be added to the building design process. Computational design is becoming more and more effective and valuable.

Two of the emerging trends revolve around generative design and parametric design, which are subsets of computational design. They will be covered in detail in forthcoming articles of this blog series.

As the building information modeling process matures, and companies are looking for new and different ways to differentiate their services, using computational design for enriched design analysis is moving to the forefront. When incorporated into a business strategy, this can give companies a much-needed competitive advantage.

As an alternative to walking the path of computational design alone, you can partner with a company like Applied Software and its dedicated team of industry experts, who are focused on progressing the practice and pedagogy of computational design. They are already working with companies across the entire spectrum of the building and manufacturing industries developing and executing strategic roadmaps that are key to implementing and evolving computational design.

Computational Design can help you achieve better business outcomes through productivity gains, efficiency increases and overall better designs.

Applied Software is pleased to announce its Computational Design Roadmap Workshop. If you are committed to developing operational strategies around computational design, this workshop will enable you to partner with Applied Software in your journey. Using a comprehensive evaluation process, Applied works in lockstep with you to formulate your objectives and strategies for critical business outcomes.



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