Autodesk acquires Spacemaker, AI software for urban planning

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This week, at Autodesk University, Autodesk has announced several big moves in the AEC and 3D design space – including a key acquisition that telegraphs their interest in investing in AI technology. Spacemaker, a software that is used for “generative design” of architectural spaces, is Autodesk’s latest acquisition – and it is a significant one.

The purchase has the potential to give architects and developers greater access to automation and Ai to test design concepts and optimize them for specific site parameters.

Based in Oslo, Norway, Spacemaker uses cloud-based, artificial intelligence, and generative design to help architects, urban designers, and real estate developers make more informed design decisions earlier in the design process. The process allows for designers to test out various designs to meet specific parameters, or evaluate designs against other alternatives. By evaluating the best options from the outset, Spacemaker helps architects maximize their clients’ long-term property investments.

The acquisition of Spacemaker could provide Autodesk with a powerful platform to drive modern, user-centric automation – powered by AI – and accelerate outcome-based design capabilities for its users.

At the Autodesk University Panel, Nicolas Magnon, Autodesk VP of AEC Strategy & Marketing described Spacemaker as Revit’s “new best friend.”

“So it means Revit is getting a new best friend. The Spacemaker team is incredibly talented and knowledgeable about machine learning, artificial intelligence and data science. They will bring this expertise not only to Revit, but to the entire Autodesk portfolio.”

With Spacemaker, design professionals can rapidly create and evaluate options for a building or urban development. With AI as a partner to the architect, the Spacemaker platform enables users to quickly generate, optimize, and iterate on design alternatives, all while considering design criteria and data like terrain, maps, wind, lighting, traffic, zoning, etc.  Spacemaker quickly returns design alternatives optimized for the full potential of the site. This leads to better outcomes from the start and allows designers to focus on the creative part of their professional work.

Amy Bunszel, Autodesk’s Senior Vice President of AEC Design described the acquisition as an opportunity to make better designs and to get better information to inform urban planning efforts.

“Spacemaker’s outcome-based design solution accelerates our vision for the future of design, and will drive more automation and insights across the Autodesk portfolio. spacemaker is built for architects by architects, allowing you to quickly create and evaluate options for building, and urban design. As many of you know – this is increasingly critical as the world moves to house our rapidly growing population, and to better manage urban density.”

For a software company that has built a lot of their capital on existing, tried-and-true architectural tools, this move from Autodesk is an interesting one. As the deal is finalized, more details about its integration and future will be shared by Autodesk in coming weeks.

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Carla Lauter

Carla Lauter is the editor of SPAR3D.com and the SPAR 3D Newsletter. Before joining SPAR 3D, Carla spent 10 years on NASA and National Science Foundation funded projects focusing on Earth science and communication. She has worked on web-based outreach and online interactives for NASA Earth Science, including products for satellite missions measuring sea level, salinity and hyperspectral ocean color.

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