- Project plans
- Project activities
- Legislation and standards
- Industry context
Last edited 28 Apr 2020
Generative design (or algorithmic design) is a design technique that takes a predetermined concept and quickly applies repetition to generate numerous possible solutions. Akin to traditional methods such as brainstorming or ‘napkin doodling’, generative design does not necessarily require technology, but in recent years, computers have often been used to speed the application of algorithms and refine the process.
Generative design is not a new theory. Its origins are not clearly documented, but it has been used since the 1970s as a way to approach complex design situations.
The demand for innovative solutions to design challenges has accelerated its adoption in architecture and construction. Improvements in affordable technology have also contributed to the growth of this design approach that can explore numerous possibilities in a relatively short period of time.
Generative design typically uses computer aided design (CAD) software to build on a basic concept and output a stream of (possibly unconventional) alternatives. The designer then inputs predetermined requirements and parameters into the program to improve the set of possible results and generate different designs more in line with feasible approaches. These results are then evaluated in a way that allows the designer to discard concepts that don’t work and generate an optimal solution.
The process includes the following steps:
With CAD-based version of generative design, the application of algorithms is automated, but it is up to the designer to evaluate the computer generated results and decide on the most precise option.
 Related articles on Designing Buildings Wiki
Featured articles and news
Discover the Winchester Mystery House.
Priorities for rail in the Midlands and the North.
Examining renovate-operate-transfer arrangements.
Proactive measures to secure property during extreme times.
Safety guidance from BSI released; comments requested.
Scour can make river currents structurally damaging.
Indoor environmental quality looks at air quality and other wellbeing factors.
A procurement method associated with Public Private Partnerships.
Infrastructure can use digital technology to encourage human growth.
Robotics and the construction industry.
ECA comments on CLC's three-phase recovery plan.
Their diplomatic and architectural history.
The origins of the six volume series.
Built to defend British waters, only to serve as pirate radio stations later.
Wellbeing to influence mix of home and office based working.
An introduction to cobotics.