The next phase in the evolution from computer-assisted design (CAD) to building information modeling (BIM), computational design relies on the scripted definition of dynamic relationships between elements and the input of parameters to generate a model. Any redefinition of the relationships or the input parameters produces another solution.
This refinement can continue until the outcome is satisfactory; the process is not linear and additive, but rather iterative and integrative.
The concept is simple, but the implications are profound. A single generative algorithm can lend itself to a thousand different possible design solutions. Automation allows us to explore the alternatives and evaluate the impacts of a wide range of design possibilities faster and more consistently than a handful of options could be generated and studied manually.
Computational design is flexible and open source, with the potential to connect multiple external data sets and software platforms into a single, nearly seamless workflow. Therefore, each iteration of a parametric model could be simulated by an energy modeling program, have its structural members optimized, or have its construction costs calculated within a singular software environment.
With these tools, designers are empowered to explore more ideas in a shorter time frame, provides meaningful and data-based feedback on which to confidently base choices and automate menial tasks, allowing for more time to be spent on other elements that add higher value to the project.
Additionally, computational design can help manage the process at a meta-level, checking model geometry for errors, cleaning up gaps in data and automatically adjusting parametric ranges based on other calculations.