Contents -- #1

  • The Editor's ViewWelcome to INSIDER Xpresso
  • Special Report: Pondering the Impact of AI (artificial intelligence) in AEC Industries—the Wide View
  • emTech: Let's discuss how AI, AR, AAD, Robotics, 3D printing and more will transform the CAD industries.
  • The Briefing:  A breakdown of the biggest CAD and 3D industry news
  • Xpresso: This Month on Architosh
The Editor's View

Welcome to INSIDER Xpresso

WELCOME to the first edition of architosh INSIDER Xpresso, our new monthly newsletter about the CAD industries with a particular focus on emergent technologies (emTech) such as artificial intelligence (AI), AR, AAD (algorithmic-aided design), robotics, and 3D printing among others. XPresso is free and we encourage you to share it. So please forward it to a friend if you enjoy it. 

INSIDER Xpresso is also designed to serve the high-level executive needs of CAD industry professionals and academics. Delivered on the first Sunday morning of the month—INSIDER Xpresso will deliver a consistent format of content. The headline feature story will set the tone for the issue—setting topical focus on AI in CAD for example or Smart Cities. Importantly, each month there will be unique content only found in the newsletter and the Special Feature will appear in the newsletter a week before it appears on Architosh.

Special to Xpresso is our (emTech) section focused on interesting curated content on how emerging technologies like AI, ML, AR, AAD, Robotics, 3D printing and more are transforming industries and reshaping society. There will be concerted effort to overlay these stories on the AEC and manufacturing industries. 

This month our first Special Report features a panel discussion with five leading proponents of AI and ML in computational design in AEC domains. Our panel hosts are Anthony Hauck and Ian Keogh, formerly with Autodesk and now co-founders of, a new type of scalable computation design platform. Ian is considered the father of Dynamo. We will focus more content on Hypar on Architosh and this newsletter in the months to come. Joining them are Natasha Bajc, a multi-disciplinary architect and computer specialist with a focus on "affective computing" and ambient intelligence. Natasha has a fascinating body of work and research and Architosh will hopefully be focusing a dedicated write-up on her work very shortly. Radu Gidei is an associate and development lead at Enstoa in London. A computational design and BIM specialist. Radu has developed an AI for Dynamo package while working at Grimshaw. Finally, Theodore Galanos delivers amazing observations in our main feature, "Pondering the Impact of AI (artificial intelligence) in AEC industries—the Wide View" with his unique background in engineering and industrial ecology. Galanos is an internationally recognized leader in advanced computational technologies. 

I hope you enjoy this new newsletter and find its content both stimulating and helpful to your professional and academic endeavors. 


Anthony Frausto-Robledo, AIA, LEED AP
Editor-in-Chief -- Architosh and INSIDER Xpresso

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Special Feature

Pondering the Impact of AI (artificial intelligence) in AEC Industries—the Wide View

IN THIS SPECIAL REPORT we talk to five proponents of AI and machine learning in the AEC industry. 

AI (or Artificial Intelligence) and more specifically Machine Learning (ML) have rapidly moved to the foreground in discussions of the future of work and the effects on human life. Not a day goes by when the average person cannot find a new story on AI in a mainstream publication. Architosh collected a panel of computational design experts to discuss AI and ML and what it may mean for the field of Architecture. What follows is a broad discussion that ranges from historical roles to emerging convergences. In short, we want to know where architects stand in the AI future.

Are Architects Facing an Existential Threat by AI and ML?

When we look at architects today in the early 21st-century, we see a profession holding onto a 20th-century common sense. Despite BIM (building information modeling) and all that it has promised, they remain attached to their five phases of activity and the idea that the production of drawings is their primary basis for a livelihood. Of course, the public thinks this too. And the profession has done little to correct them. Even the industry of BIM for decades inadvertently reinforced this view. But what if this phase could be fully automated away thanks to AI and ML?

"Part of the issue is that architects today value billable production," says Ian Keogh, CEO, and co-founder of Hypar, a new software company offering generative design solutions to the AEC industry. "Some architects will kick and scream if you were ever to introduce a technology that would take away their working drawings phase." But this is the phase that takes the longest time before commencing with the building phase. Some software companies are already using ML to find ways to speed the work of this phase, so this is where AI comes into play.

"On the idea of billable production impeding the adoption of AI, I'd say it's similar to the worker protests against the adoption of mechanical looms in the 19th century," says Anthony Hauck, President, and co-founder of Hypar. "At the time, only wealthy people had several sets of clothes for different occasions, and such a small market would be instantly saturated by cloth produced at a high rate of speed." Hauck makes the point that at the beginning of the Industrial Revolution, few realized that perhaps everyone could possess a wardrobe. "Similarly, architects conceiving of what they do as labor for wealthy people—and no one says this out loud, but it's hard to see it otherwise, in my opinion—are naturally threatened when a method for reducing necessary labor might be on the horizon." 

In sharp contrast to this, Hauck adds: "Architects who conceive themselves as definers and solvers of problems requiring the integration of diverse expertise will do just fine, and quickly adopt any means to expand their reach and broaden their impact." 
Image of tower in Hypar Platform.
Image of curved tower generated computationally using the Hypar Platform. 

Haucks' analogy is intriguing. And so is the prospect that AI and machine learning (ML) could democratize good architecture and buildings for everybody and not just those who are privileged to work and live in buildings designed by the best of what the field of architecture can offer. Natasha Bajc, an architect and professor with a masters in computer science, makes another observation, "even the embroidering on a couture dress today is still done by hand just like in the Middle Ages."

Bajc's suggestion is both soothing and troubling. Three centuries later the couturier is still here. And architects could take additional solace in the fact that a building is several factors larger and more complex than even the most elaborate of dresses. What should trouble architects however is the notion that if computational design, infused with AI and ML, is possibly the equivalent of the mechanical loom—the great democratizer of all that Architecture can offer society—are they embracing and preparing for the new transformations of their field? Or are architects merely going to get in the way of themselves by objecting to AI and ML, like the Luddites of the Industrial Revolution?

Are Human Architects an Insurance Policy Against Change?

Before we can answer some of those questions and the role the human architect may play in the utilization of AI and ML in this field, we might want to examine the evidence today. We may start by asking do architects really embrace change? What does the media say about such change? What about the role and cultural pervasiveness of the "starchitect"? Won't data, AI and ML run up against the intuitive superpowers of architecture's elite and the exulted status heaped upon them by the media and the establishment?

“Given that there are really only about six of them at any given time tells you a lot about their value,” says Hauck. "If 'starchitects' were really valuable to the world there would be a lot of them. There are many star musicians, actors, star novelists, and yet a few superstar architects at any given time. I think it's a sign of the wrong kind of economic scarcity. What they do can only be supported by a very narrow and high economic stratum."

One of the current definitions of architects in economies is that we are 'the insurance' for real estate developers that the project will be just like the project before.
-- Natasha Bajc

“For me, it comes down to what they do,” says Theodore Galanos, an engineer and international leader in advanced computational design. “For example, David Lynch for me is a brilliant filmmaker, and I love everything he does, and he deserves the accolades.” If the starchitects are actually of value because they play the role of the provocateur then in truth the field of architecture may not need many of them. Their value is in setting up established cultural expectations for the field—that some, the rare, the gifted, the chosen—are elevated socially as disruptive innovators for the good of society. But is that truly enough social value and how does it overlay the possible innovation AI and ML may bring to the field, particularly the types of problems these emerging technologies could one day solve? Hauck wants to compare this more bluntly by asking—“What problems are the starchitects actually solving and for how many people?”

“We have to realize that we are a subsystem of a subsystem,” says Bajc. “One of the current definitions of architects in economies is that we are 'the insurance' for real estate developers that the project will be just like the project before.” This observation, while stinging, has a ring of truth to it. And the definition would apply to both mainstream architects and the work of architectural stars. After Bilbao got its Gehry museum, there was the 'Bilbao Effect' [great recent read here] and many other cities rushed to gain their own Gehry building to elevate their local economies.

Bajc says that the issue with the impact of AI and ML to transform the world of architecture is it must confront what she calls the 'goal posts' set up by establishment media and the work of starchitects. "Eisenmann will say that architects are only there to produce culture," she adds. Galanos thinks that what they really provide is ideology. So the onslaught of emerging technologies like AI and ML in the field will either absorb, reflect, reject or subjugate the forces that currently establish this 'ideology' or architecture culture today that many can criticize as too limiting. New goal posts will hopefully emerge; ones that value ambitions that will enable everyone to benefit from the best that the field of architecture can generate for society.

What's Possible with AI and ML and Can Everyone Have Better Buildings?

AI, ML, and big data and other emergent technologies (emTech) can radically reshape the field of architecture and the way society sees architects. But such a change will run up against dominant cultural norms and assumptions about the profession. Perhaps before settling into questions about what is possible with AI and ML technologies we examine instead the question that comes up in Hauck’s industrial analogy. When he talks about the wrong type of "economic scarcity" the question that comes to mind is, thanks to AI and ML, can everyone have better buildings and not just a small percentage of society—not only the elite?

“There is an abundance of capital in the world and a shortage of quality housing, offices, and maintenance of these structures,” says Radu Gidei, associate development lead at Enstoa in London. Gidei is a BIM and computational design specialist who has written an AI Dynamo package where users can bring in a full ML (machine learning) workflow in just four nodes. Enstoa is a leading systems integrator for capital projects worldwide. “The money is not going towards buildings; it is going into other investments because it is too risky to build now.”

“Isn’t it also related to how we build today," states Galanos. “I am not a margin expert, but it seems we can work for many years under all this stress and only for making a single percent gain.” There is no debating that capital building expenditure comes with substantial risk, but that may be where AI and ML serve a significant role in the near future. Companies like Enstoa are offering the market smarter ways to build based on evidence-based approaches, using both standard and custom tool stacks merged with data from best practices. Hauck remains skeptical though that technology alone, even with AI and ML, can solve the essential problem of democratizing good architecture or good buildings for everyone. "There is an article I read recently that asks, 'Why Technology Hasn't Fixed the Housing Crisis,' and it turns out that the housing crisis isn’t because of the buildings. It turns out there is this whole infrastructure of how housing works, and it has nothing to do with the physical world other than the allocation of land. So unless you change that companies like Katerra are not going to solve the housing problem.”

The New York Times piece mentioned by Hauck boils it down to policy change. But policies aside, the construction industry is regularly hounded for its tremendous inefficiencies which drive up costs. Katerra may not solve the affordable quality housing crisis on its own without policies, but the company's radical new approach may make significant advancements. Katerra approaches the design and building process as one single thread rather than the disparate and discrete sets of processes that exist today. They use the very latest technologies, taking digital design direct to fabrication to save "time"—the AEC industry’s single biggest cost driver. They also employ data scientists and AI experts.

Katerra represents just the beginning of the type of upheaval to the AEC industry that is possible in the age of AI. I mean this in a positive sense. And it may ultimately lead to the solution vectors that allow all of society to benefit from high-quality architecture and highly performant buildings. But there are other variables at play that shape factors of convergence that can lead to improvements in the built environment. One of those is data.

Natasha Bajc's work is investigating ML (machine learning) to generate floor plans. See the note at the end of this feature to learn more about AI and ML research. 

Where will architects get this data? This is where IoT (Internet of Things) and sensors come into play, and it marks a significant opportunity space in AEC. Our panel's expertise is in computational design, but connecting sensors and the roles these devices play in the future of architecture is quite fascinating. "Now you are talking about where my heart beats," says Natasha Bajc, "this is where we enter the realm of Ambient Intelligence, understanding the mash-up of sensors, data, human response systems, et cetera, and capturing the user's experience of space on so many levels. What is a comfortable space?" she finishes. 

"A really simple mechanism could be used to help answer that question," says Keough, "and I see it pop up in more and more places. Most recently I was at the port authority in New York, and the Port Authority bathrooms are notoriously bad. Well, now they have cleaned them up a bit and what you have when you leave the bathroom is you encounter this panel with this frowny face-to-happy face icon on them. I think this is one of the most brilliant data acquisition play in the built environment, and it's not complex, it's not IoT, it's just this simple 1-4 range of faces that collect data on how people rate this space." [see the link to company] Keough says these types of low-tech devices could collect millions and millions of data points, offering building owners useful data impacting the buying process that can be fed back to the design stage. AI and ML acting on this data can further inform insight and discover patterns that ultimately lead back to answering Bajc's question of what is a comfortable space. "There are all kinds of new and interesting models that can come about," adds Keough, "tying that data acquisition piece back to the phases of design. Those companies just don't exist yet."

You start to have this DNA of a building, this genome, and you map it out. Now you can recall it whenever you do a simulation. Or you can have this blank canvas and say, 'I have the outcome I want, what would the base need to be to achieve it'? -- Radu Gidei

"But we are starting to get a few of them," says Radu Gidei. "If you take that quality data that you take from the frowny faces and you add the dimension of IoT sensors on top of it, so it becomes this multi-modal system, this ensemble that Natasha talks about, you start getting a pretty good view of what is going on, what caused what, and outlier detection and all that. So now you have this understanding of what causes the root causes of people's unhappiness or happiness in buildings. So, what is the next step? You start to have this DNA of a building [or building type] this genome, and you map it out. Now you can recall it whenever you do a simulation. Or you can have this blank canvas and say, I have the outcome I want, what would the base need to be to achieve it?"

Whether the goal is achieving happy occupants of public toilet rooms or occupant well-being in homes or hospitals, the role of data in formulating strategies that lead to instantiating the conditions that will guarantee it is vast. This is where our mobile devices will ultimately come into play. Companies like Nemetschek's Spacewell imagines a data cycle that passes through IoT and smart buildings to occupant comfort and performance data to property and real estate data that ultimately feedback design as quantitative and qualitative data. Apps that allow occupants to book conference rooms in offices can easily let them rate those spaces as well. Social media has trained society to "like" and "dislike" things at the click of a button. But does this type of cloud-sourced data help us become better designers—even if AI and ML have parsed through masses of it to form patterns for success? 

The Education of Future Architects in the Era of AI and ML

This is an interesting question with impacts on the future of architectural education. And it's important to note that we are at very early stages. Among the panel of experts in this article, there seems to be a broad consensus that AI, ML and computational design in general—while profoundly critical to advancing the state of the art of the profession—are not the be-all and end-all for educating the next generation of the architects. But AI, ML, and data will all definitely upend what architects do because those technologies challenge the reign of intuition and confront our field's collective assumptions.

There was a study that looked at engineering education when it took out sociology and philosophy, what they discovered was engineers were unable to create new knowledge. -- Theodore Galanos

Gidei feels that the AI and ML-infused software tools that architects will use in the near future need to form a type of conversation with the designer. "We will need systems that introduce surprise, the way humans do in design studios where a person walks up and says 'what about this?' or 'how about this one?' "

The other issue is the design of process and representation systems. "The design of the representational space is useful in framing the problem," says Bajc, "so I don't think we as a discipline pay enough attention to this. If you only work in sections, your answers will always give you another profile." She warns that our brain is naturally reductionist, "it's a virtual reality reduction machine." If how you frame the problem is how you see the world there is the danger that framing problems through algorithms and AI may lead to unanticipated results.

"A few years ago we started hearing about academics complaining how all the projects were converging on a particular style," adds Hauck, "because they were all sharing common algorithms." "That's right, among experts in computational design we have found that we can chase back 
design to a particular script," says Gidei. The issue with algorithms, says Hauck, is that they are massively reductionist

Another image of Hypar, a scalable computational offering—platform—the AEC industry. You can learn more here in our report and in other sections of this newsletter.   

It seems that many computational designers enter the field of architecture through STEM fields now. Gidei is one example. "I had a background in programming before architecture school," says Gidei, "I went to architecture school to learn how to think differently. I saw it like this last kind of universal profession or Renaissance Man." Both Natasha Bajc and Theodore Galanos have conflicting views on the type of thinking that should be encouraged in architecture school, with Bajc pushing for more analytical thinking and Galanos for more dialectical thinking. 

"There was a study that looked at engineering education when it took out sociology and philosophy," says Galanos, "what they discovered was engineers were unable to create new knowledge." Galanos wasn't the only engineer on the panel but has three masters degrees in engineering, ecology and sustainability fields. "I think coding is overestimated and underestimated," he adds. "I'm not a very good coder, per se, and I don't think you need to be a programmer type to be hired in an AEC company of the future. What you need to understand is what coding can do." 

Closing Thoughts

The future of architecture in the era of AI and ML is uncertain at best. Even companies like Katerra have designers and architects on staff. But they have far more engineers across every category affecting AEC, manufacturing, and software development. They also have AI engineers and are using machine learning (ML) by working with AI and data scientists to develop new types of algorithms. It remains to be seen what type of innovations Katerra brings to the AEC world through coding and AI-ML. And another question is: will they share it like what is so common among the computational design community in AEC today? Reading their job postings can be illuminating and fascinating. One sees very closely that their various technical positions demand horizontal thinking and knowledge of the full-stack.

In 1955, the architectural equivalent of "knowledge of the full-stack" for an architect would mean being knowledgeable about architectural history, being a capable designer, being able to develop a set of construction documents, being a competent communicator, and finally being knowledgeable about buildings. Full-stack training could have begun with carpentry stints during high-school or college, being taken to the museum as a child to learn about design and art, or fortunate enough to grow up in a wealthy family that traveled around the world to see architectural history first hand. Back then full-stack meant the acquisition of knowledge captured by doing and direct exposure. AI and ML tools are going to provide architects, young and old, with lots of data and information, but is this the same as knowledge? 

It won't be the codes or the coders or the output of the algorithms that will become celebrated stars, but rather the radically new business models that will come out of it—the new responses the code, ML infused, enables us to achieve.
-- Radu Gidei

IBM—yes, that IBM—has a great article series that explains how data becomes knowledge. In a nutshell, data is simply a collection of facts, signals or symbols. It can be raw, inconsistent, and even disorganized. Information is a collection of data that has been "arranged and ordered" in a consistent way. Data in this form becomes more useful because of storage and retrieval. The architectural equivalent might be a window or door schedule in a set of working drawings. It could also be the set of elevation markers on a site contour map. Knowledge, says this IBM series, is a collection of "information"—note, not a collection of "data"—with its associated context. Context defines the form of relationship between information sets over time. Time is a critical piece because over long periods of time data accumulation gets so vast that it is impractical for humans to manually determine and unlock these relationships. This is where AI and ML offer power. 

Importantly for the context of this article, the IBM series notes that: "Knowledge is the application of information to answer a question or solve a problem." But Wisdom, "is the ability to select the best way" to reach the desired outcome. We already see AI's beating grandmasters at complex games like Go. In 2017, Google's AlphaGo defeated 19-year-old Ke Jie, a grandmaster of the Go game, reports an NPR article. " 'Last year, it was still quite humanlike when it played,' Ke said, 'But this year, it became like a god of Go.' " So artificial intelligence (AI) is aiming high—reaching for Wisdom. 

Architecture in the era of AI and ML is likely going to be the final nail in the coffin for the pre-21st century model of architectural practice. But not necessarily architectural practice itself. Without data and AI and ML and computational design and simulation, architects use years of knowledge and intuition as the primary value-set behind what they do. "Design today is guessing the effect of something in prospect," says Anthony Hauck. It's not that intuition goes away, it now needs to combine with data that moves to insight-based AI-patterned information that is testable and actionable by architects. This will form the new pathway to knowledge in the field, but the new pathways may require new modes of working in the industry. Will there still be 'starchitects'—a new coder type perhaps—along with the media setting the goal posts in the industry? "It won't be the codes or the coders or the output of the algorithms that will become celebrated stars," says Gidei, "but rather the radically new business models that will come out of it—the new responses the code, ML infused, enables us to achieve."

End Notes

Look for more information on the panel participant(s) and their work in the emTech section below. 

Curated content Emerging Technologies and their potential impact on CAD-based industries.


WELCOME TO THE HEART of the newsletter. In formulating the new INSIDER Xpresso the initial idea was to simply deliver an interesting set of curated articles on emTech technologies and their potential impacts on the CAD-based industries. This is the raison d'etre for Xpresso. 

We start off issue #01 with AI, ML and Smart Cities articles. Each monthly newsletter will also contain some
Tidbits for the Salon articles, items of special interest. As for the "X" Xpresso? The "X" in Xpresso stands for many things—variable 'x' in equations, solving for; mathematical eXpressions, and the play on coffee, as this newsletter arrives on the first Sunday morning of each month—perfect for a morning read. :-) 

AI - Artificial Intelligence and AEC

Being the initial newsletter (#01) for Xpresso, chances are some folks are quite new to AI (artificial intelligence) and ML (machine learning). A primer may be a good place to start then. Here's a little crash course in three AI articles. The first is by Dhruv Shah of, who clarifies that Deep Learning is a subset of Machine Learning, which itself is a subset of Artificial Intelligence. While AI began in the 1950s, Machine Learning in the 1980s, Deep Learning only came after 2010. Shah’s 3-minute article clarifies each and what makes them different.

Of course, three minutes isn’t nearly enough time to learn all there is about AI. So around about a year ago, ZDNet’s Nick Heath wrote “What is AI? Everything you need to know about Artificial Intelligence,” an executive guide. That implies a summary high-level discussion. Which is perfect for where we are at the beginning of this newsletter. A much deeper and thought-provoking AI piece is Will Knight’s "The Dark Secret at the Heart of AI" which will help the reader understand some of the controversies in the technology. Knight's article discusses the issue of how well humans understand the mathematical models behind AI. This is vital for understanding "who makes parole, who is approved for a loan, and who gets hired for a job." 

The issue with Deep Learning is the mathematical models could become inscrutable. As Knight writes: "There's already an argument that being able to interrogate an AI system about how it reached its conclusions is a fundamental legal right." An inscrutable AI or ML program augmenting an architect's workflow may form a barrier for adoption. My guess is that most architects will want to know how an AI is coming to its conclusions, not just presenting them 'black box' style. While that may or may not be fine for AI in determining parole for the incarcerated, architects will feel that in order to have an AI augment them, and vice versa, they need to understand each other's rationale. 

Readers may wonder what are some AI or ML methodologies that are applicable to the field of architecture. Where is AI in Architecture? This wasn't addressed necessarily in the larger philosophical ponderings of the feature above. There are two clear cases. The first is automation and the second is augmentation. BricsysCAD BIM features AI in the automation case. Vectorworks is exploring AI and ML in their upcoming developments that were showcased last November. And Siemens just released a new NX with AI features with some similarity to what Vectorworks has been exploring. All three, and others like them, are exploring AI and ML from the vantage point of accelerating CAD/BIM workflows for designers, engineers, and architects. They are, for the most part, anticipating the user's next move, adapting the UI/UX to streamline workflow and save time. BricsysCAD BIM is allowing the user to model freely and then automatically evaluate the model and determine and classify geometry into intelligent BIM objects (eg: walls, doors). This is important because according to the AIA's own data, approximately 40 % of architects in the US say they have no interest in jumping to BIM. A common complaint is how designer un-friendly it is, forcing the designer directly into complex object palettes before they can even lay a basic shape. Bricsys is directly attacking that problem. It's critical because a bifurcation of the architecture industry between "BIM haves and have-nots" will place a significant drag on conformal and synergistic directions with BIM adoption as it moves towards full deployment in the AEC world. (see our Resistance vs Institutional Alignment and The New 'Common-Sense' - Over BIM Adoption Curve, graph from this feature here.).

Computational Design and ML

As noted in the feature above, Radu Gidei has a 4-node ML package for Dynamo.  He writes, "you can use this in Dynamo alone or plugged into Revit." He notes there are other packages out there that have similar ML capabilities (linear regression, etc). Gidei says what is unique about his AI package is he has placed emphasis on "making the concepts and processes of ML accessible." He developed a Dynamo package for AI while a BIM Manager at Grimshaw.

ANT is an ML plugin for Rhino-Grasshopper. It makes use of the Python module (Scikit-learn). LunchBoxML is an ML plugin for Grasshopper as well, developed by Nathan Miller of Proving Ground

Smart-Cities and IoT

Xpresso is not just about AI and ML, but (emTech) emergent technology across AEC and MCAD industries. We will focus a lot on Smart Cities tech and IoT (Internet of Things), an exploding opportunity field. 

Speed is the fundamental issue that is driving the new micro mobility craze, according to Aarian Marshall writing for this Wired piece on why Americans are abandoning public transportation. "Transportation advocates argue that the creeping shift from transit to private vehicles isn’t good for cities. It’s not space-efficient: Per passenger, a bus carrying 40 people takes up far less room on the road than a person driving themselves to work, as 76 percent of Americans do."

This development is a bit shocking considering that even BIG (Bjark Ingels Group) when working for Audi recently, suggested that the future of cities will need to contend with what to do with all the space that went to parking and roads. BIG developed the smartStreet technology proposal for new multi-model occupied streets—more bikes, scooters, sharing space with cars. Still, if everyone is getting off the bus and train, that means not fewer lanes but more.  And more lanes for scooters and bikes. This McKinsey study from January looks at the state of the investment in micro-mobility start-ups. The bulk of it is still in China, however, (85%). Interestingly, Western cities could see a pickup in micro-mobility because of design and because it's outside. "It's really quite simple: people feel rejuvenated, and the experience takes them back to their first time riding a bicycle or a scooter."

Worldwide Smart City Platforms Market Analysis: 2019 - 2023. The global market for smart cities technologies is expected to double from 2018 to 2023, reaching USD 223.3 billion. Among the services expected to rise? Architecture. The assumption here is pretty basic. Local governments will spend millions on smart city tech, but the outfitting of making cities smarter naturally touches city facilities, parks, urban centers, urban transportation systems, bridges and more. 

Las Vegas is making a play to be a Smart City technology leader. But does it differentiate its new smart city chops? "What’s different in Las Vegas is that, here, testing these technologies is seen as an end in itself." 

Tidbits for the Salon

Machine Learning and Quantum Computing go on a date. Welcome to the Perceptron. 

Henry Kissinger is worried about an AI arms race. 

SmartHome devices are being attacked by hackers within the first five minutes online. Learn how to protect yourself. 

A new approach to home heating uses a machine-learning model with years of forecasting data combined with information about the shape of the building to avoid wasting energy heating an already-hot house. ML can help sustainable design. 
Phil Bernstein on Technology and the Future of Design: What's Next? This an excerpted piece from a larger article from 2017 published in DesignIntelligence, the journal. 

Emerging technologies are generating new types of mobility options. Today we have Uber and Lyft and what comes next? How about a Volvo car subscription? It's real but dealers are fighting it. This creativeness is why BIG's work with Audi and the set of assumptions about fewer cars on the road may be incorrect. If we find new ways to get people into their very own auto that's not good for cities.

AR will be the next big platform. Welcome to Mirrorworld. This story is really about the 'digital twin' evolution and what it means. We will be focusing on digital twin technologies more intently on both Architosh and this newsletter.

Next month we will focus in on more AR, VR, and Robotics—topics we intend also focus on with Xpresso. 
The Briefing

Biggest CAD Industry News This Month

(we have a few January items in here as well)

Bentley Goes Big with Microsoft Hololens 2—New Mixed Reality App for Infrastructure Projects
Bentley's SYNCHRO XR app and platform bring the benefits of mixed reality (MR) to users in the architecture, engineering, and construction (AEC) industry.  (Architosh).  

Adaptive UI for Siemens NX Just Changed the Future of 3D Design Software
We reference the new ML technology in Siemens' new NX above in our emTech section and our coverage and take is here, but this story is from SolidSmack.  (SolidSmack).  

ISO (International Organization for Standardization) Publishes First International BIM Standards
With global populations and the construction industry booming the new ISO 19650 International BIM standard will help aid AEC industry efficiency gains through standardization. Importantly, this standard builds further on BS 1192:2007, a BIM Level-2 and data AEC standard we hope all CDEs (common data environments) will adopt and support.   (Architosh).  

Render Legion Releases Corona Renderer for CINEMA 4D
Maxon's Cinema 4D continues to gain more options for those who are not crazy about its own internal rendering engine. (AECMag).  

Adobe Acquires 3D Software Company Allegorithmic 

The French company that specializes in 3D texture creation for the games and visualization industry is a big threat to Adobe's Photoshop for similar purposes. Therefore they bought them!  (Architosh)

This Month's Features on Architosh

A Dutch Company in Boston—Ultimaker's 3D Printers are Transforming Design and Engineering

RECENTLY I HAD A CHANCE TO talk with John Kawola, President of Ultimaker North America, about his Dutch-based 3D printer company and its presence in the larger 3D market. Our hour-long conversation touched on multiple fascinating points, including the decision for Ultimaker to base their US-based office in Boston, how the 3D printer company got its start, and how Ultimaker sees the overall 3D printing market and their position in it.

To read the full feature click here.
End Note
Creating a new product for a publication is always exciting and a bit stressful. We hope you have enjoyed this first issue (#01) and found the content worth reading and engaging if not thought-provoking. We hope you will share this newsletter with your colleagues and friends of similar interest.

Remember you can sign-up for architosh INSIDER Xpresso here -- a unique CAD industry newsletter with a special focus on emergent technologies (emTech) like AI, ML, robotics, 3D printing, AAD, computational design, and smart cities tech.

As we move forward, our format will evolve but will aim to focus on emTech in AEC and MCAD. We welcome your suggestions (

We want to thank Anthony Hauck and Ian Keough of for their generous time and support and for helping shape the wonderful panel of computational design experts (who we thank as well) who are innovating with code with ML in AEC fields. 


This is a free newsletter and companion publication to 
Companies mentioned in this newsletter where I have a financial interest will be listed in this section. This is consistent with Architosh's Disclosures statement on our Ethics page here. 
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