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AIA: Exhibit Report 2: Bentley and GenerativeComponents (GC)

Bentley Steals the Show with GenerativeComponents Focus – Software Works under Boot Camp on Macs – Allowing Designers to Explore GC Technology in Architecture


Bentley this year used the AIA show promote their GenerativeComponents technology. Although this technology is not brand new the company did announce at the AIA Convention a special new subscription program just for GenerativeComponents (GC) called: GenerativeComponents Discovery Subscription program.

This program includes a one-year subscription to GC, plus online learning and support services to help users accelerate their use of the software. The GC Discovery Subscription is available to new users for 250.USD in the United States. Pricing outside the US varies and folks must contact Bentley directly for this information.

GenerativeComponents – What It Is

Bentley’s GenerativeComponents software is a distinct software program that interoperates with other BIM and CAD software as well as Bentley’s own. Naturally it works most intimately with Bentley’s own software tools for architects and engineers, but if you use Revit, ArchiCAD or other BIM solutions there is absolutely no reason technically that you cannot integrate Bentley GenerativeComponents into your design workflow.

GenerativeComponents is designed for creative output by designers in architecture or engineering firms. It is most like an advanced parametric modeling system but it goes much further than that. It is the first parametric system to apply the power of symbolic math. Sophisticated form-making is possible using advanced mathematics, yet designers do not need to start from a mathematical starting point.

Rapid iterative design using fine or rough numerical or formulaic input can be invaluable in many complex building designs and GenerativeComponents allows architects and engineers to define the relationship between each component in a GC design. As these parametric-based relationships scale out across an entire design an architect can make small input changes that cascade throughout the design allowing one to freely explore design alternatives without having to manually remodel the entire building.

Bentley makes a point in their literature that GenerativeComponents is “not like SketchUp, where your seven-year old could pick it up and model a dog kennel in an afternoon” GenerativeComponents does require some training in order to maximize your abilities with the software.

Thus far GenerativeComponents is being utilized by some of the brightest and creative firms in the world, including Foster & Partners, Arup, KPF, and by leading universities such as MIT, Cambridge and Bath University.

GenerativeComponents on the Mac

GenerativeComponents’ software code is a typical C+ based application but it does have .Net hooks in it and a Windows-based interface. Built around Microsoft’s development platform Huw Roberts, AIA, of Bentley informed me that a native Mac version of this software isn’t likely in the foreseeable future. However, Bentley GenerativeComponents does run fine under Apple’s Boot Camp (dual boot Windows/Mac) software arrangement with Intel-based Macs. He was unsure of how it would work in a “virtual machine” on a Mac using VMware or Parallels. Architosh will be evaluating that scenario soon.

You can learn more about GenerativeComponents at Bentley’s website.

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