Humankind has been designing and constructing buildings for thousands of years. When computers became available more than a half century ago, instead of imagining how this new technology could fundamentally change the design of buildings, we used computers to make drawing (CAD) and modeling (BIM) marginally faster.
What if the computer weren’t simply a tool to help draw and model, but a design partner, imbued with the expertise of generations of builders who have come before? What if there were an environment that enabled anyone to access this expertise to generate, visualize, and collaborate on building designs? What if we didn’t have to start every project from a blank page?
These are the questions Anthony and I asked ourselves when we started Hypar in 2018. With two decades of investment in BIM behind us, it's clear that the AEC industry needs tools to expand the reach and the effectiveness of its expertise. We think it’s time to rethink how we design buildings. As our CTO Matt Campbell says: “Our ambition is to change the industry, not just build cool tools that make people 5% faster.”
For inspiration, we turned to the software industry, where no project starts from a blank sheet. For decades, the software community has built languages, frameworks, and protocols that enable software developers to modularize and share the components they use in their own code. Software developers can get started building quickly by using these components, many of which are shared as open source. As a result, the software industry has accelerated both its production of new products and services and the development of new capabilities in recent years.
Compare this to the way that building projects start. You may have designed dozens of hospitals before, but you’ll start the next one from a blank page, same as always. Over many months, you’ll methodically build your BIM from nothing, nudging walls this way and that, trying to achieve your project objectives while balancing dozens of other concerns from cost, to structure, to energy consumption. You’ll hire health care planners and the experience they earned from the project will get them a great job at your competition. When the next hospital project starts, you’ll do it all over again.
What if you could start instead by selecting from several space planning systems that would generate design options in real time and report how they achieved your program? What if over time you could add new logic to these systems to help them handle new conditions or different types of projects? What if your tools became smarter over time, enabling you to go from 10 projects a year to 20 or more?
Just like firms share their expertise with one another on projects, we want to help those same firms build the foundations of expertise to accelerate the design process and globally uplevel the knowledge and practice of AEC.
In multiple industries, expertise has been externalized into software. We have Legal Zoom where you can get the documents you need to turn your sole proprietorship into an LLC. WebMD provides diagnostic and treatment paths for thousands of people every day. Software developers access resources on GitHub and Nuget. AEC expertise can scale in the same way as other successful industries. With Hypar, anyone can access expertise of AEC professionals they may never meet, all mediated through a cloud platform with a worldwide reach.
Of course, not everyone wants to share their expertise with everyone else or do so for free. That’s why we’ve provided our customers with complete control over how widely something is shared and how much others would need to pay, if anything, to use it. If a company wants to share expertise only in-house, we can do that. Want to share an office planner with anyone around the world for a fee? We can do that, too, and everything in between. We want AEC professionals to be paid for their work and have access to the expertise of their colleagues, no matter where they are located.
“People deserve access to the best way to build buildings,” says Anthony Hauck, co-founder and COO. “Simply put, we want that to be available to everyone at a good price.”
A Better Place To Design
It was clear to us from the beginning that Hypar would power a new type of design application. With the world’s building expertise at your fingertips, you have the ability to build better, faster. By composing building systems available on Hypar’s web application into workflows, and providing simple inputs, you can quickly generate a substantial portion of your design.
We all know that design projects don’t always lend themselves to completely automated solutions. So we’ve built the first ever environment which enables a designer to reach into a generated design to push, pull, and modify specific conditions. Unlike today’s generative systems where those modifications would quickly be overridden by the application, in Hypar your modifications persist resulting in an augmented design.
Design is a collaborative activity. For twenty years we’ve used applications like Revit where designers work alone, unaware of the changes being made by their colleagues, merging models only to find out how broken things are. That’s why we’ve enabled Hypar users to create, share, and collaborate on workflows, in real time. Starting collaboration is as easy as sharing a URL.
Building The Team
It’s a tall order. So as we’ve assembled the company, we haven't just built a team. We’ve been carefully building the team, recruiting remarkable people whose experience spans both design and software.
Take a look at our team page. We think you’ll be impressed. But just as important as our team’s experience and skills is our commitment to Hypar’s goal: to empower AEC to build better buildings.
“When I joined the team I was impressed with how seriously everyone takes the mission of changing the AEC industry," says software engineer Chuck Driesler.
Serena Li, a software developer at Hypar, just recently received her architect’s license from New York. She studied urban planning, and worked in computational design and development at Thornton Tomasetti and WeWork. She came to Hypar because she wanted to make a difference not just for a few customers, but for the entire industry.
“There’s a lot of design work that is repetitive,” Serena says, “where the iteration cycle is really long with a lot of manual effort into things that aren’t design, where people aren’t using their specialized talents. In my most idealized version of the world, we can solve big problems in the built environment faster.“
Prior to becoming our CTO, Matt spent five years at Google, where he helped build one of the largest open data ecosystems in the world and delivered search capabilities you’ve probably used. And before that, he worked for nearly ten years as a core developer of BIM on the Autodesk Revit team.
Matt had a lot of discussions about the future of AEC design at Autodesk, but after returning to the industry after his time at Google, he saw that almost none of the changes he’d expected to see had happened. At Hypar, he saw an opportunity to transform those ideas into a reality.
“We’re ready for AEC,” Matt says. “This is not a hypothetical exercise. We’re working with companies to help them build better buildings right now.”
Intrigued? Get in touch. We’d love to show you what the future of building looks like today.