Structure Generator (Automatic?)

A leafy shaped roof created using the Structure Generator from Autodesk Labs

The most important development to have happened for Revit Structure last year is the Structure Generator from the Autodesk Labs which was announced right around American Thanksgiving. This preview is providing an amazing opportunity to begin to bridge conceptual design and structural engineering as has been covered in previous blog posts. Interestingly, the labs page itself suggests that a possible workflow is to use it in conjunction with Project Storm, which essentially does static analysis in the cloud and reports back the results. The generator is not exclusive to Revit Structure as it also works with Revit Architecture.

This is a great way of creating a quick structural analysis model at the conceptual stage. However, I did identify some limitations: i.e. the conceptual mass must be a loadable mass family (no in-place) and I also found that it fails to generate  successfully when you nest one inside another (like creating a nested family that you then use in the host family to create a swept blend). It would also be nice to be able to generate some loads automatically to make this more useful. The definition of loads within Revit Structure could definitely be improved to at least include automatic generation of code standard load combinations.

The analytical model of a complex shape is a nice result of the structure generation

Being absolutely honest, the generation is far from being an automatic process (specially if you are doing really funky stuff). I was lucky to receive some guidance from Pawel at Autodesk to help me create some of the images included in this post. Like many other subscription extensions, there are necessary setup steps required and the user interface is far from being friendly or even consistent with the rest of Revit. The extension does allow you to save a definition file to reduce rework in rationalizing a surface. Please share your thoughts if you have used this tool.

Edwin Guerra


Edwin is a BIM Consultant focusing on Building Performance and Structural Design with Summit Technologies, a leading provider of BIM consulting services based in Vancouver, BC. Edwin’s extensive knowledge of Revit, Dynamo, Navisworks, Bluebeam, Ecotect, Green Building Studio and Autodesk Vasari, is complemented by a passion for Green Building Design.

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