By Kirsty Hogg

On day two the general session keynote is the time at Autodesk University when they reveal their theme for the conference and the year ahead. From reviewing the classes prior to the event, automation was always going to be high on the list to be the main theme, and whilst automation was up there, the overriding theme was sustainable, smarter design. How can the design and construction industry, a big contributor to the world’s carbon footprint (and honestly speak to the sustainability team for more information on the specifics!), help reduce waste and also aid in the repair of damage done through natural disasters.

Last year’s tag line was More | Better | Less. Build more, build better and build for less. This year it was ‘Better starts here’. We can all do better, and we all need to do better if we want to make the world not only a habitable world, but also one that can cope with the demands of a growing global population.

I’ve been fortunate enough to attend a few of these keynotes over the years, and the consensus last year, seemed to be that people were a little disappointed. Not really disappointed with the overall theme, I mean more done better for less, you can’t really contest, right?! But the content to back it up just wasn’t there in the keynote presentations. It was definitely present in the 100’s of classes but the keynote, which is supposed to enthuse and inspire its audience was a bit of a damp squib.

This year though, it really hit the mark. CEO Andrew Anagnost was, as always, a fantastic anchor to the event. His enthusiasm for design, manufacturing and engineering was as infectious as ever. But the guest speakers by and large were just as exciting to listen to.

First up was Dr. Elizabeth Hausler, founder and CEO of Build Change. Build Change is a non-profit organisation that helps develop existing housing in areas of the world where earthquakes are prevalent. Not only does retrofitting these unstable homes and buildings help protect the lives of the people who live and work in them, but it is far cheaper than trying to re-build and re-home displaced families. This alone is admirable, but what makes it even more inspiring is the way Build Change utilises modern design technology to engage the homeowners in the process. It’s a small thing, but for these families it gives them the confidence that not only are their homes being retrofitted competently, but also that what is being done to the structure is still keeping it a comfortable and functional home. Not just somewhere to live but a home.

Being a non-profit organisation, Build Change needs support to continue in their mission. If after reading this or watching the keynote, you want to contribute to that effort, I have added a link to where you can donate – https://buildchange.org/give-today/

I focused this piece of the blog on Build Change because I think it aligns with Cundall’s values, but there was a lot of interesting content in the keynote, covering electrical vehicle design, how Boeing are utilising generative design to optimise their manufacturing facilities (this was pretty cool!) and for the Uber geeks out there, and that includes me, the head of Disney’s Imagineering team spoke about how they built the Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge theme park. If you love Star Wars you really need to watch the keynote just to see this! – You can watch the whole thing here.

Click here to read my review of Day One at the Autodesk University Conference where we discussed what Digital Transformation is.

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BIM, Kirsty Hogg

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