HOK earned the No. 3 spot on Fast Company’s 2019 most innovative architecture firms list “for embracing parametric modeling to build the unbuildable, like the Atlanta airport’s canopies.”
HOK’s engineering team has developed a parametric modeling and optimization tool called HOK STREAMTM that dramatically speeds up the design process. This tool combines several modeling and structural analysis programs and processes to generate a single, streamlined solution for optimizing a structure based on expertise specific to that project type and across multiple disciplines.
“We’re continuously researching and developing new tools that enable us to improve our design processes,” said Matt Breidenthal, PE, SE, LEED AP, a senior principal and leader of engineering for HOK. “We’re pleased that Fast Company has recognized our team’s efforts to develop STREAM, which our engineers use to generate almost instantaneous engineering analysis models for architectural ideas. This enables us to develop more creative, affordable, efficient and sustainable design solutions and better buildings for our clients.”
A few years ago, HOK’s in-house structural engineers developed a proprietary design tool called HOK STREAM, which uses parametric model and structural analysis to vet architectural ideas and quickly gauge whether they can feasibly be built. The process has allowed HOK to design “buildings thought unbuildable,” as the firm describes it. Case in point: For the Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, HOK designed two 900-foot-long, translucent canopies over a terminal to shield passengers from inclement weather. STREAM allowed the six-person design team to generate more than 500 design options, then whittle down the list, in just three weeks. A conventional design process would’ve required 100 people working for three months. The first canopy was completed in 2018.