Project Fractal Case Studies Presented by Stantec at Autodesk University 2017

by Aubrey Tucker, Jason Santeford, Alyssa Haas, and Achintya Bhat, Stantec on November 28, 2017

Aubrey Tucker, Jason Santeford, Alyssa Haas and Achintya Bhat work with Stantec and have been implementing different solutions with Project Fractal for the last six months. Aubrey leads Stantec's Innovative Technology Development Team and Jason is the Architecture Discipline Leader for British Columbia. Alyssa and Acthinya work with Aubrey as specialists in computation to create new tools to be distributed across the firm.

This work dove into aspects of developing meaningful options for site massing studies, space generation for complex RFPs and value engineering with aesthetic tool making for designers. Alyssa and Achintya are computational designers on Aubrey's team and have been working with Project Fractal to understand limitations and use cases within the tool. Interesting discoveries so far include the ability to work with non-core nodes by exporting lists, renaming nodes for better client taxonomy and controlling the half million options within the "like that" feature within Project Fractal.

The work so far has been in three scales: large, medium and small. Where large scale focuses on massing for FSR/FAR on multi-building sites. The next evolution of that will be looking at BOMA options within a series of footprints. The medium scale is looking at programming automation, a.k.a. space generation. This is a very tough problem to solve. The current solution, Space Layout, is limited to calculating through the K-D Data tree and is a bit too automated. Additionally, the tool is limited to two dimensions and it's the third dimension of adjacency relationship that is really tough for humans to do and where we see great opportunity for complex RFP responses. The small scale is for options within facades and aesthetic detailing decisions like sun shades orientation and sizing.

None of this would have been possible without the creation of the Innovative Technology Development Team that was sponsored by Darren Burns, VP and Commercial Lead. Aubrey's team works with different business lines to attempt to create solutions by mimicking or running along side an active project. This structure shields the team from being responsible for project deliverables in "deadline time" and gives the team the ability to question things deeply. This has already paid itself back by creating tools along the way that are now being implemented across Stantec.

The small team is excited for the future use of Project Fractal because it packages the parallel coordinates graphics and the options in a nice web interface for clients and other team members to use, free up the computational expertise to further develop optioneering and relay things back to the design team.

Download materials from the presentation here.

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