During the Smartgeometry Conference in Copenhagen a week ago, Huw Roberts, AIA and Makai Smith, both of Bentley Systems, spoke about the company’s involvement with the conference, its software such as Generative Components and a bit about its future.
Huw Roberts AIA is an architect who has been with Bentley for many years now. He has a deep understanding of practice and its many forms and orientations. He also understands the many challenges all AEC firms face in a global economy where practice is increasingly complex and often geographically dispersed.
During his talk he mentioned that Bentley is the world’s largest software company dedicated to all of the AEC market. Bentley has a diverse product portfolio that goes far beyond building design and engineering to civil and plant design, facilities and more. They are the world’s number one software company for structural engineering solutions. And the company’s annual revenue is now at half billion US dollars.
One of the more interesting things Huw said was that Bentley spends up to 20 percent of its annual revenue on research and development. And Generative Components is not actually apart of that figure. Generative Components, he said, is actually free software and therefore is placed outside those figures. Certainly there is ongoing R&D for GC as well but there was no mention of a dollar figure.
Why GC? Why Smartgeometry Conference?
Huw explained that the company is invested in advancing Generative Components because as a product it aligns with the company’s overall visions for innovation. And Bentley is interested in “open information…sharing data.” And the types of projects and problems firms around the world are facing and using GC to solve critically inform Bentley’s full line of software solutions. Generative Components dovetails with Bentley’s software for architects and engineers and Huw noted that going forward it will continue to inform and impact the development of other products.
Huw said the company is doing “syndicated development” projects, whereby Bentley works in a co-op way with major firms or institutions in addressing new challenges through software. Today the company is working on a $24 billion ultimate integration project. And this summer the company will be introducing something they call Model Documentation.
Generative Components is advanced 3D software for design that goes beyond just complex geometry creation or solving. It enables designers to capture and define relationships, set up rules and algorithms, and iterate using numerical methods and rule-based interdependencies.
In a slide Huw showed a building with a complex steel frame holding up a skylight system. Bentley created an algorithm that addressed two inter-related issues and setup a relationship. One issue was that of energy loss (heat gain/loss) through the skylight, while the other issue was that of steel weight. The last issue affects cost directly for the structure. The first issue affects operations costs. How do architects design so that they can solve both sets of problems simultaneously? (see image 01)
Huw said these are the types of problems the technology in Bentley’s product suites address, and will continue to address in more complexity.
Finally, Smartgeometry is something Bentley has been very proud to be involved in and sponsoring for many years. The conference frames and addresses many of the most technically challenging AEC problems in the world, using the latest computational research and practice methodologies. GC is a key component tool for those participating in Smartgeometry.
Next page > Makai’s Talk, Future of GC