The future of AEC technology

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The construction industry is on the verge of a revolution which will change the way buildings are designed and built. New technologies are having a profound impact on architecture, engineering & construction. At NXT BLD you will find out how

AEC Magazine’s NXT BLD is an open forum where architects, designers and construction professionals gather to hear from key developers, researchers and practices which are experimenting with revolutionary future technologies.

This year’s event is bigger, featuring two conference streams and a larger exhibition space in its new home at the QEII Centre.

The main stage will feature inspirational presentations on advanced architecture, digital fabrication, computational design, autonomous robots, 3D printing buildings, design for manufacture and lots more.

There’ll also be a dedicated stream for design visualisation and VR, where topics include real-time viz, real time ray tracing, viz tools for architects and immersive design and collaboration.

A new dawn

The way in which buildings are being fabricated and constructed is changing dramatically, from robotic assembly of steel facades to 3D printing in situ. This will have a profound impact on architecture and design, a theme that will be explored by several of our main stage speakers . This includes Melike Altınısık (Melike Altınısık Architects), who has designed a building that will be built entirely by robots, Federico Rossi, who heads up DARLAB (Digital Architecture & Robotic Lab), and Mariana Popescu (Block Research Group), who is exploring new forms of concrete design.

Every aspect of building design, from materials supply to construction is being optimised by leading US firm Katerra. Richard Harpham and Abhijit Oak will share the company’s transformation strategy for the global construction industry, which combines cutting edge fabrication technology with its Apollo software platform, a suite of applications designed to support building projects and teams from beginning to end. Software is changing.

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Xavier De Kestelier (Hassell Studio) will show the ultimate example of optimised design to fabrication with a breathtaking 3D printed habitat on Mars.

Meanwhile, Paul Ehret (Felix Construction) will explain how knowledge is being embedded in facade panels to facilitate better design productivity together with improved fabrication.

Sophisticated computational design tools are also playing an increasingly important role as architects develop ever more complex forms to drive new construction techniques. Marc Fornes (Theverymany) will present leading research, designed to advance computational protocols and complex assemblies in architecture and beyond. You can see one example of his inspirational work below. It really is something to behold.

Mariana Popescu is also using computational design to define her complex stay-in-place knitted formwork, leading to bold new architectural forms in concrete.T

here’s no escaping the fact that the robots are coming, whether that’s small autonomous machines that monitor construction progress or behemoths for fabrication on site and in factories.

To say we’re excited to have Boston Dynamics’ autonomous SpotMini robot to visit us in person (Ed: In person? A robot?) would be an understatement.

You’ll learn how human-like mobility can bring automation to construction sites — think monitoring building progress through laser scanning, plus lots more. You’ll also see the incredible four-legged machine navigate the throngs on the NXT BLD exhibition floor. We’re secretly hoping Boston Dynamics will train it to serve drinks at the networking reception!

Event details

Tuesday 11 June 8:30am – 6:30pm (conference starts 9:45am)
Queen Elizabeth II Centre
5th Floor (Cambridge / Windsor rooms)
London, SW1P 3EE


Exclusive 2-for-1 offer for AEC Magazine readers

For readers of AEC Magazine, we are offering a strictly limited number of tickets on a special 2-for-1 offer. Simply use the promotional code 241AEC and you can pick up a pair for £65.

Tickets include full access to the conference and exhibition, refreshments, lunch and drinks at the networking reception.When they’re gone, they’re gone. nxtbld.com/buy-tickets


Marc Fornes – Theverymany

Marc Fornes’ Brooklyn Studio, Theverymany, is all about advancing computational protocols and complex assemblies in architecture and beyond. Over the last ten years it has designed and built a number of thin-shell pavilions, installations and building-scale works that push the limits of form, structure and space..

Architecture / Computation / Fabrication


Michael Perry – Boston Dynamics

What if human-like mobility could be added to automation on construction sites? Michael Perry will answer this and more as he shares Boston Dynamics’ vision for applying robots to the challenges of sensing and manipulation. He will be joined by the SpotMini, a robot that can handle objects and climb stairs.

Robots / Reality Capture / Construction


Melike Altınısık – Melike Altınısık Architects

How would you build a museum for robots? With robots, of course. Melike Altinsik will talk innovation and share details of the Robot Science Museum in Seoul. One team of robots will assemble the museum’s curved metal facade. Another team will 3D print concrete for the surrounding landscape.

Architecture / Robots / Drones / Fabrication


Find out how real time ray tracing is set to change the rules for design visualisation. Image courtesy of Nvidia

Richard Harpham – Katerra

Richard is VP Software Products at Katerra, who believes that better, faster, cheaper building projects are long overdue and that the global construction industry is ready for change, moving beyond incremental fixes to an era where every aspect of building design, materials supply, and construction is optimised.

Design / Digital Fabrication / Modular


Abhijit Oak – Katerra

Abhijit runs software development at Katerra. He developed the Katerra Apollo software platform, designed to support the entire lifecycle of the building process. It manages all critical resources – cost, schedule, teams, and materials – all through one persistent data stream, for better productivity and collaboration.

Design / Digital Fabrication / Modular


Carlos Cristerna – Neoscape

Carlos has over 15 years’ experience in arch viz and leads research and development at Neoscape. He will reveal how the New York agency
uses real time raytracing
(Nvidia RTX) and its impact on the internal design and decision making process, as well as its clients. Tools include 3ds max, V-Ray and UE4.

Arch Viz / Real Time Ray Tracing / RTX


Marc Fornes, Theverymany, will explore advanced computational protocols and complex assemblies in architecture and beyond.THEVERYMANY Boolean Operator – Credit NAARO

Arch viz / VR –
a dedicated conference stream for experts and novices

For the first time, NXT BLD will feature a dedicated conference stream for design visualisation and VR that runs in parallel to the main stage presentations.

One of the central themes will be real-time ray-tracing, the holy grail of design visualisation, powered by Nvidia RTX technology.

Ray tracing has historically been slow, taking minutes or hours to render a single frame. Being able to get results in ‘real time’ promises to have a huge impact on architectural visualisation, not just for polished presentations but for design validation with easy-to-use push-button tools designed for architects.

You’ll hear from Kohn Pedersen Fox (KPF) on how the global architectural practice is using real time viz to enhance design and design review, and from leading New York Studio Neoscape on how it is pushing the boundaries of ray tracing.

Enscape will show how Nvidia RTX technology is being applied to its architect-friendly real-time viz tool and Nvidia will explore how real-time ray tracing, engineering simulation, VR and AI will help AEC firms re-imagine the cities of the future.

From Epic Games, discover how Fortnite, powered by Unreal Engine, will change AEC & urban design. The company will also present Twinmotion, an architect friendly viz and VR tool which it is giving away completely free.

Lenovo will help you choose your path into VR/AR with expert advice on the latest headsets and workstation technologies.

And if you want to try out these tools and more, you’ll also be able to get hands-on with the latest technologies from Epic Games, Enscape, Tridify, Symmetry, Revizto Lenovo and Nvidia in our exhibition. More details and more presentations can be found here


Cobus Bothma – Kohn Pedersen Fox (KPF)

Cobus Bothma is Applied Research Director at KPF and is involved in many aspects of advanced design, visualisation, and geometry. At NXT BLD he will explore KPF’s visual design workflows to enhance the process of design and design review both internally as well as for its clients.

Arch Viz / Real Time Ray Tracing / RTX


Federico Rossi – DARLAB

Federico heads up the robotic fabrication laboratory – DARLAB (Digital Architecture & Robotic Lab) research platform that aims to expand the boundaries of architectural practice. He has extensive experience working in various practices in London including Nigel Coates, SOM and Zaha Hadid Architects

Robotic Fabrication / Architecture


Mariana Popescu – Block Research Group

Mariana is an architect and PhD researcher at the Block Research Group. Her research focuses on the development of KnitCrete, a cost-effective formwork system for casting of doubly curved geometries in concrete. The technology was used recently a pavilion designed in collaboration with Zaha Hadid Architects

Architecture / Computation / Fabrication


Lenovo will be offering advice on the latest AR/VR technologies and showcasing its ThinkStation workstations. This will include new desktop and mobile models with Nvidia Quadro RTX technology that can dramatically accelerate ray tracing and VR

Hilmar Gunnarsson – Arkio

Cobus Bothma is Applied Research Director at KPF and is involved in many aspects of advanced design, visualisation, and geometry. At NXT BLD he will explore KPF’s visual design workflows to enhance the process of design and design review both internally as well as for its clients.

VR / AR / Collaborative Design


Johan Hanegraaf – Arkio

Johan presented his R&D project at NXT BLD in 2017, a VR design tool based on Unity. He has now joined Arkio, a startup creating a unique collaborative VR/AR design tool for architects. On stage he will lead a live, multi-person demonstration of how Arkio can be used for collaborative design.

VR / AR / Collaborative Design


Mike Leach – Lenovo

With use cases of AR/VR exploding and HMDs ranging in features and price tag, it’s hard to know what solution works best for your budget
and workflow. Mike Leach will help you navigate the challenges surrounding AR/VR hardware and the impact workstations have on creating and experiencing AR/VR

VR / AR / Workstations / Graphics


Learn from Marc Fornes how Theverymany uses advanced computation and complex assemblies to design and fabricate innovative architecture

Ken Pimentel – Epic Games

Ken Pimentel, AEC Industry Manager at Epic Games, will review how Fortnite, the hugely popular game built with Unreal Engine, is also fueling the adoption of the game engine in the AEC sector. This goes beyond visualisation of high fidelity images and into the realms of design, digital twins, smart cities and more.

Arch Viz / Real Time Ray Tracing / RTX


Sandeep Gupte – Nvidia

Sandeep Gupte will explore how real-time ray tracing, engineering simulation, virtual reality and AI-enabled applications are transforming AEC design workflows and empowering users to re-imagine cities of the future. Sandeep is a senior director in Nvidia’s professional visualisation business.

Real Time Ray Tracing / GPUs / AI / VR


Xavier De Kestelier – Hassell Studio

Xavier is head of design technology and innovation at Hassell. He will present the international design practice’s human habitation on Mars project, which relies on sophisticated parametric design and intelligent autonomous robots with interchangeable roles, from battery storage to scout excavation and 3D printing units.

Parametric Design / 3D Printing Buildings


How can we create new architectural forms in concrete? Find out from Mariana Popescu

Paul Ehret – Felix Constructions

Paul Ehret was one of the founders of Gehry Technologies in 2008 and then moved to Zaha Hadid Architects. More recently he joined Felix Constructions, a Swiss-based facade company specialising in semi-standard and highly performative elements, in order to implement digital processes and methods.

Digital fabrication / Facade Design


Moritz Luck – Enscape

Sandeep Gupte will explore how real-time ray tracing, engineering simulation, virtual reality and AI-enabled applications are transforming AEC design workflows and empowering users to re-imagine cities of the future. Sandeep is a senior director in Nvidia’s professional visualisation business.

Real Time Ray Tracing / GPUs / AI / VR


Nassim Saoud – Trimble Consulting

Nassim Saoud is an architect and service director at Trimble Consulting (formerly Gehry Technologies). He has a vast experience in Virtual Design and Construction methods. At NXT BLD he will explore the latest VR and AR developments and future applications
for Microsoft HoloLens.

AR / VR / Virtual Construction


The robots are coming – well, they’re already here, in fact, and heading to NXT BLD Boston Dynamics’ SpotMini will be roaming the show floor and appearing on stage with Michael Perry as he explains how the autonomous robot’s human-like mobility can bring automation to construction sites. Think monitoring building progress through laser scanning, plus lots more
Find out how real time ray tracing is set to change the rules for design visualisation. Image courtesy of Nvidia

Get hands-on with the latest technology

NXT BLD isn’t just a conference; it’s an incredible opportunity to get hands on with the latest tech in our dedicated exhibition. Whether you’re starting out in arch viz / VR, want to push your workflows to the limit, or simply explore new tech for collaboration and more, then you’re in for a treat.

Lenovo will showcase its latest ThinkStation workstations, including new desktop and mobile models with Nvidia Quadro RTX technology that can dramatically accelerate real time ray tracing and VR.

Unreal Engine will show how you take your designs from BIM into real time / VR with Unreal Studio and Twinmotion, its new, completely free, easy-to-use tool for architects.

Enscape will demonstrate the latest developments for its real-time rendering and VR tool, including real time RTX ray tracing.

Tridify will show how to take BIM models, complete with BIM data into Unity and XR (VR, AR and MR) using its cloud service.

Symmetry will be demonstrating its VR workflow tool for architects and designers that bridges the gap between ideas and reality.

Arkio will invite you to try out its brand new collaborative design tool that lets multiple participants model directly inside VR.

Revizto will present its real-time issue tracking software that focuses on collaboration and BIM project coordination.

bimstore will showcase its new bimstore 4.0 platform that allows users to connect, share and learn + high quality manufacturer objects.

Bluesky will be showing how to get the most out of its geospatial datasets for precision planning, analysis and interrogation.

Cadline will be providing guidance on the latest design, analysis, data management, collaboration and business process platforms.

Dalux will demonstrate how its BIM Viewer helps improve visibility on construction sites, increase productivity and reduce errors.

Kenesto will introduce its cloud-based document management solution that offers sharing, collaboration and viewing for SMEs.

Xinaps will show Verifi3D, a cloud solution for real-time building model data validation.

Arkio is a brand new collaborative design tool that lets multiple participants model directly inside VR. It’s so new, in fact, that this is possibly the first UI image that’s been seen in public
Enscape, the real-time rendering & VR tool, features a live link to Revit, SketchUp and Rhino
Real time viz and VR tool Twinmotion is powered by Unreal Engine and offers live links to Revit and ArchiCAD. Now under the ownership of Epic Games, it is completely free
Nvidia will explain how exciting new technologies, including real time ray tracing, are transforming AEC design workflows

More details and more exhibitors can be found at nxtbld.com/exhibitors


Exclusive 2-for-1 offer for AEC Magazine readers

For readers of AEC Magazine, we are offering a strictly limited number of tickets on a special 2-for-1 offer. Simply use the promotional code 241AEC and you can pick up a pair for £65.

Tickets include full access to the conference and exhibition, refreshments, lunch and drinks at the networking reception.When they’re gone, they’re gone. nxtbld.com/buy-tickets


Watch the presentations from NXT BLD 2017/18

To help get you in the mood for NXT BLD 2019, all of the videos from our past events are available now at nxtbld.com/videos Highlights include Tim Geurtjens (MX3D) on 3D printing structural metal objects, Bruce Bell (Facit Homes) on Digital Construction, Hedwig Heinsman (Aectual) on 3D printed building products, and Stefana Parascho and Arthur Mamou Mani on robotic construction.


Hassell Studio will share details of its NASA competition project, exploring how a human habitat could be delivered on Mars using autonomous 3D printing. Images courtesy of HASSELL + EOC

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