Bone-Based Software Improves How We Design, From Detergent To Tanks
This story appears in the March 4, 2013 issue of Forbes.
By Alex Konrad, Forbes Staff
The future of architecture is evolving before my eyes on the laptop of Luca Frattari. In a series of keystrokes the architectural engineering Ph.D., now a business development manager at software firm Altair, thins out the blocky outer shell of a new skyscraper into a willowy exoskeleton that would stand out even among the gaudier designs in the Dubai skyline. Its irregular lattice leaves room for giant, undulating pools of window glass. Yet when he runs a wind-flow analysis on the simulation, the building’s organic form wicks away stiff breezes far more efficiently than a rectilinear structure. And the reduction in outer material gives the building an excellent chance of going up faster and for less money.
More things should look bony. Millions of years of evolution have honed the skeleton into the perfect shape for survival. Our hollow, long bones are thick and strong where needed, and light and flexible where possible. Their excesses were purged long ago.
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