AEC Game Changers Recap: Iterative Design with Rabi Sidawi

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Rabi Sidawi, AIA, Applied Software Senior AEC Solutions Consultant, led the most recent AEC Game Changers virtual event series, and he moderated the discussion about “going through more, faster” while utilizing iterative design.

“Iterative design means different things to different people,” Sidawi began. “So let’s define what iterative design is. It’s basically a design methodology based on a cyclical process of prototyping, testing, analyzing, and refining a product or process.” He went on to explain that within iterative design, “interaction with the designed system is used as a form of research for informing and evolving a project as successive versions, or iterations, of a design are implemented.”

“Basically, we’re looking at testing and more testing and then looking at the most recent iterations of the design process. Then, we look at the changes and refinements,” Sidawi added. “And this is how we intend to ultimately improve on the quality and the functionality of the design. Interaction is paramount.”

A screenshot of a computer screen  Description automatically generated

How does generative design speak to iterative design? “One of the things that comes to mind immediately after talking about iterative design is generative design,” Sidawi said. “I think these two things can coexist side-by-side… They can support each other because iterative design is inherent within generative design. The key difference between the two methods is the automation process.”

Sidawi provided several examples of iterations of generative design, which he compared and which received a fair amount of interaction from attendees, especially from the civil engineering discipline. In Autodesk Revit 2021, there are three main modules:

  • Maximize window views
  • Massing studies
  • Workspace layout

Users can create a study and explore different outcomes based on different criteria. As the first version of generative design in Revit, Sidawi explained, “It has great potential. This is a developing technology.” As proof of that assertion, Autodesk just released a new version of generative design in Revit 2021.1.

Attendees discussed such topics as challenges for implementing design and the design process, how attendees personally defined iterative design, and some examples of iterative design they had seen in their industry or others. In addition, they discussed what the future looks like: what they would like to see.

Some of the challenges include shorter product development cycles, which raises questions about organizational design and resource allocation – will people be replaced by computers? Some people find the artificial intelligence design solutions “alien” or unsettling.

Photo by Autodesk

Integrating complex technologies with existing design and engineering processes requires some fundamental changes to the organizational structure.

What concepts need to be grasped in the near future? “I think if we can send a spaceship to Pluto and send a robot to Mars,” he said, “we can incorporate some of these design technologies into our current workflows to automate repetitive tasks. They just require acceptance from the design community to be able to open up to the possibilities.” 

Applied Software thanks you for your interest in the AEC Game Changers virtual event series about technologies that are empowering architects, engineers and contractors to achieve higher performance on modern projects. You’ve got the inside scoop on meeting the construction challenges of the next decade with innovation that’s transforming the industry today. Keep an eye out for future Applied Software events and webinars that may be significant to you and your company.

If you’ve caught a vision for how these game changers can transform your business, contact Applied Software today and talk to an AEC industry expert about innovation to help your business thrive.

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