001 Proposal for a Generative Design System

Proposal for a Generative Design System



The current problems in Architecture are those of depleting energy, resources and environment.

Construction is one of the main contributors to these depletions.

The response to depletion can be through the use of Virtual Reality.

This could create new environments within another existing environments for any user.

The environment and its products would be interactive, generative, emergent and evolutionary in nature.

Any space, volume, experience could be created and shared via. existing communications.

Manufacturing would become the production of virtual, unlimited environments in any location.



‘Generative Design’

‘Generative design is a design method in which the output – image, sound, architectural models, animation – is generated by a set of rules or an Algorithm, normally by using a computer program. Most generative design is based on parametric modelling.’

Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Generative_Design



The stages of a Generative System are.

There is an existing environment of constraints.

A random population is created as Generation 000 in the environment.

The environmental constraints determine the survival or death of each individual or the population.

Those individuals with characteristics most suited to the constraints survive and reproduce to create a new generation.

Each generation is then mutated due to evolving environmental constraints.



To write a code to produce a graphic form requires additional training and time.

If a Computer Aided Design system is used to produce the graphical input and output then the existing algorithms that are built into the software can be used and accessed by a simple click of a mouse on an icon.

Generative forms can then be created by repeatedly loading, morphing, replacing and sequencing each graphic form produced.



Activate the Computer Aided Design Programme.

Open a new file and create a grid of squares on layer 0. Say 10 x 10 squares.

Lock the grid of squares in place to avoid it being altered.

Create an animation sequence using a number of scenes and layers equal to the number of squares for the length and width of the grid.

Link each scene to its layer 1 to 1, 2 to 2 etc and also the preceding layer.

Scene 1 links to Layer 1 and only has layer 0 and layer 1 visible.

Scene 2 links to layer 2 and has layer 0, 1, 2 visible.

Scene 3 links to layer 3 and also has layer 0, 1, 2, 3 visible.

Do this for the 10 scene, layer sequences.

Save, update each scene as this is set up.

Save this file as an ‘Arena1’ sequence.


Open a new file and create a cube of the same dimensions as one of the ‘Arena’ grids.

Turn the cube into a component and give it a Name of Gen000 and a Definition Name of Gen000.

Create an array of separate cubes as an animation sequence to match that of the scenes and layers of the 'Arena1' file with one cube in the sequence on each layer.

Save this file as a ‘Life Form 001’ sequence.


Create more ‘Life Form’ component animation sequences in a similar manner.

Save each file as an individual ‘Life Form’ sequence.


Open the ‘Arena1’ file with the grid of squares on it and import the ‘Life Form 001’ array animation sequence file of the cube.

Ensure that all of the 'Life Forms' are on separate layers and are not acting as one component.


Run the animation.


The cube moves across the grid with each scene and layer change.

This animation represents the life span of each individual cube and the movement of the whole population of cubes for a generation.

At each scene or layer the output can be examined as a stage in the lifespan of the cubes.

Save this file as an ‘Arena1’ and ‘Life Form 001’ sequence.


The full grid of squares of the ‘Arena’ can be populated in this manner.

The ‘Arena’ file and its associated ‘Life Form’ files can be placed in any location or rotated, distorted, scaled, transformed in the x, y or z axis.


Examine the outcome.


Select those components from the new generation that you want to retain.

Copy it and place it outside the 'Arena'.

Make the copy of the retained component unique.

Give the copy of the retained component a new name of Morph1.

Retain its unique Definition Name.



Mutate the copy, 'Morph1' of the retained component in some way using the C.A.D software.

Randomly replace, using the C.A.D. software the 'Gen000' components with 'Morph1'.

Save this file as an ‘Arena1 Morph1'’.



The original outcome can be run through addition Morph generations by selecting those components from the new generation that you want to retain.

Copy them and place it outside the 'Arena'.

Make the copies of the retained component unique.

Give the copies of the retained component a new name of Morph1, 2, 3 etc.

Retain its unique Definition Name.


Repeat until the desired outcome is achieved.


Other Forms of Arena

Alternative arena shapes can be formed to vary the topographic environment of the Generative Algorithm.



Results are as indicated in the images attached to this web page.

Animations of each Generation can be outputted as well as still images of each life span as they move through all the scenes and layers in each animation sequence.



Google Sketchup 8 2010 Original Google Product Free version.

Plugins for Sketchup 8 2010 Original Google Product Free version.as listed with relevant authors from http://www.crai.archi.fr/rld/plugins_list_az.php

 Ian K Whittaker ARB RIBA

16/01/2016 onwards

912 over 3 pages

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