Hypar Blog

Building a Tower Generator and an AI Facade Creator with Obayashi

Article by Anthony Hauck

Obayashi Corporation is one of the world’s largest AEC companies, handling the entire construction lifecycle from concept designs through construction and operations. Founded in 1892, it’s remained a top competitor for more than a century because it constantly invests in innovation.

We’ve been working with Obayashi to help them accelerate their design-build decisions for mid-rise office towers in Tokyo. Creating tower proposals and analyses has been a labor-intensive process for Obayashi architects as they evaluate candidate sites and their zoning requirements with available budget and ROI while ensuring a striking facade. Even with an optimized manual approach derived from long experience, each design and analysis could consume weeks of time.

Obayashi wanted designers to quickly arrive at building proposals that incorporated zoning compliance and project budgeting. What might have been a tall order in the past has become a daily reality with Hypar.

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The Tower Generator

Using the Hypar platform, we created a tower generator that automates Obayashi's approach so that model creation and analysis happens in minutes instead of weeks. The designer only has to define some key variables — the number of floors, the building’s dimensions, seismic steel bracing type, etc. — and Hypar creates the building model. Service core allowances, structural configuration, envelope zoning compliance, the facade design — Hypar automatically creates each building system according to Obayashi's best practices.

Then Obayashi went one step further, working with SRI International and Hypar to develop an AI function that can analyze a photograph of a building’s exterior and create an analogous building facade in Hypar. It’s as easy as selecting a favorite photo or a generated image and dragging it onto the model. In less than a minute, Hypar generates a 3D facade design from the example image.

The tower generator makes it easy to examine multiple options for a building's appearance through a standard browser without any need to deploy specialized software. Within minutes, designers can consider a dozen or more possibilities before finalizing a design, exponentially accelerating their decisions. Their new AI-enabled facade generator, AiCorb, makes it easy for Obayashi to leverage past work in new contexts, providing consistency and predictability to each project.

In the video below, we use the tower generator to:

  • Bring the tower into zoning height compliance,
  • Expand the building footprint to the maximum allowable size according to local code,
  • Try out 3 facade options generated from photos, and
  • Constantly update the material quantification display.

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More Than Just A Pretty Model

The Obayashi tower generator includes key elements of the Tokyo building code, helping ensure compliance with building envelope restrictions. Obayashi designers can instantly see whether a building proposal is spatially compliant without having to reference local regulations and perform calculations to ensure the facade respects required setbacks. Then, after creating each design, the tower generator summarizes construction costs. Too expensive? Adjust the dimensions, change the materials, make whatever changes are needed to make the project pencil out — within seconds.

Obayashi is using its new tower generator and the Hypar platform on a current project in central Tokyo. We’re continuing to work with the AEC giant to enhance its functionality, and we both plan on making the results of our collaboration public in the near future.

At Hypar, we’re just getting started reimagining the future of building design and construction.

Intrigued? Get in touch. We’d love to show you what the future of building  looks like today.

Article by Anthony Hauck

About Anthony Hauck

With more than 20 years experience in architecture, engineering, construction, and IT, followed by 10 years of innovative software development as the Director of Product Management for Revit and the Director of Product Strategy for AEC Generative Design, Anthony has always sought to improve building practices through the strategic application of advanced technologies.