Bright ideas for sustainable urban growth

Bryden Wood, a global company of creative technologists, designers, architects, engineers and analysts, has its sights firmly on the future of construction.

The “architechnologists” of the London-based company – which has offices in Singapore, Milan, Athens and Barcelona – combine technology and design to deliver cost savings and shorter time to market, among other outcomes.

Mr Phil Langley, who is the lead for creative technologies at Bryden Wood and a board director, says the teams around the world bring together different strands of design, including algorithmic design and simulation, connected tech, mixed reality environments, big data analytics, robotics and digital manufacture.  

“Our industry needs to change and this is what that change needs to look like,” says the 43-year-old, who is based in London but was in Singapore for BEX Asia, where he presented The Future Of Design Automation For Construction on Thursday at the International Built Environment Week. Mr Langley, who is trained in both architecture as well as computational design, has more than 20 years’ experience in architecture, engineering and construction.

“Our objective is to make the design process faster and smarter which means using the latest digital technology to automate the design process,” he says.

The teams at Bryden Wood work with large commercial and public-sector clients responsible for building and operating assets worth billions of dollars.

The firm builds software that these organisations can use to design buildings and infrastructure, allowing them to explore different possibilities and make smarter decisions. “This approach is different from the traditional architecture and engineering approach in which a single design is developed, often slowly, and which has little flexibility for adapting or changing.”

To build more sustainably, the first challenge in reducing carbon is to make sure clients build the right structure. Mr Langley says: “The wrong building, no matter what construction technology is being used, is the least sustainable thing you can do. Our data-driven approach means that clients can focus on ‘designing the outcome’, not just the physical asset. Better-performing infrastructure isn’t only about the sustainability of materials or energy use, it’s also about the fundamental need, use, and outcome for a building.”

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