Bricks And Bytes Podcast

Anthony Hauck – Hypar – Q&A

anthony hauck hypar generative design

This Q&A is taken from the full podcast episode we recorded with Anthony.

Q: Can you tell us about your journey from an IT director in an architectural engineering firm to creating the world’s first cloud-based design automation platform?

A: My journey started with trying out AutoCAD 2.6, the first version with snapping. As I worked with CAD, I realized there was a programming language underneath that could make things go faster. This led me to focus more on the technology side. Eventually, I joined Autodesk on the Revit team and went into product management. In my last two years at Autodesk, I proposed ideas for how computation could intersect with building design and construction. When Autodesk didn’t pursue these ideas, my partner Ian Keough and I left to start Hypar.

Q: What limitations do you see in current BIM software?

A: BIM software is primarily designed for creating coordinated construction documents rather than modeling buildings or supporting specific tasks. While you can use BIM software for various purposes, it’s not optimised for them. For example, you might use Revit, Rhino, or even Excel for space planning, but none of these tools were designed specifically for that task.

Q: How does Hypar address these limitations?

A: Hypar focuses on creating targeted applications that address specific building problems and tasks. We want to make it easy for anyone to create a tool that is super suited to their needs, whether it’s space planning, designing sprinkler systems, or optimising wallboard. By providing a platform where people can contribute their expertise, we aim to support a wide range of targeted applications.

Q: Can you explain how Hypar uses AI and procedural approaches to generate building models?

A: In Hypar, users can input natural language descriptions of a building, like “a five-story U-shaped building.” We then use a large language model to map this description to various inputs and parameters in our system. These inputs feed into procedural models that generate the actual building geometry. So, it’s a combination of AI for natural language processing and procedural approaches for model generation.

Q: How do you view the role of AI in the design process?

A: We see AI as one computational technique among many. It’s particularly useful when you suspect there might be patterns in data that you can’t easily find. However, we don’t think it makes other types of computation or human judgment obsolete. In many cases, if you know how a process works, it’s better to write it down procedurally than to try to infer it from data using AI.

Q: What advice would you give to someone seeking investment for their startup?

A: Talk to your target customers and ask them lots of questions. Don’t invest heavily in something you’re unsure of. Instead, focus on creating the simplest thing you can, even if it’s just an interactive PowerPoint presentation, and see if potential customers like it. Minimise investment until you’ve validated your idea. And remember, software development should be a last resort for solving problems because it’s expensive and error-prone.

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