Changing the rules of creative design.

Etc-tec’s Research department is the corner stone of all our activities.
Led by its co-fonder Amilcar Ferreira, our Research is laying the foundations of ETC methodology. The latter associates the intuitive capacity of projectors and the mnemonic capacity of Artificial Intelligence to optimize the initial phase of conception.
Automation, assisted creation and efficiency are amongst many of the topics explored by our team, that is dead set on unpacking the initial phases of architectural conception, to prioritize and organize processes in the most logical and practical manner
Our goal? Optimizing the creative architectural process thanks to digital tools, freeing the planning of designers, and let architects, engineers, economists, developers or general contractors to focus on creative tasks that absolutely require artistic and human skills.

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Amilcar Ferreira
Published 13 may 2020

En France (et dans plusieurs pays européens), un système de concours de projet architectural pour la phase d’études préliminaires est mis en place. Cette phase inclut l’étude de faisabilité (FAISA), le relevé (REL), le diagnostic (DIAG) et l’esquisse (ESQ). L’objectif est d’augmenter le nombre de solutions et d’assurer le succès des phases d’études préliminaires d’un projet architectural.

Selon le guide pour les missions interministérielles pour la qualité des constructions publiques (MIQCP) élaboré en avril 2010, les problèmes majeurs sont identifiés à l’issue des études préliminaires.
*"...à l’issue des études, lorsqu’environ 10 % de l’enveloppe d’opération est seulement engagée, 90 % de la qualité à venir est déjà jouée. D’où l’intérêt de les mener avec soin, de les confier à des professionnels compétents et talentueux justement rémunérés. "

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Amilcar Ferreira
Published 30 march 2020

The creative process in an area like architecture is often personal, instinctive and variable.

We established a creative process that meets the needs of architectural problems, which will lead to the development of digital tools.

According to McKim all creative drawing processes follow the ETC[1] method. The creative process comes down to the expression of a concept, the test, and a cycle of repetitions until finding the final idea. C.f. (MCKIM, 1980)


Since Vitruvius' theory of Venustas architecture, expression results from the research of a questionable perfection according to the geometric rules of symmetry, asymmetry and proportion. C.f. (LYNN, 1998, p. 109) The Architect must translate architectural concepts into geometric rules of proportion, with variables, constraints and goals.


The test phase consists in the validation and evaluation of the architectural concept. The geometric result is analysed under defined rules such as urban constraints or any other quantifiable pre-established restraint. Quantifiable data such as areas, costs, energy efficiency… of each valid solution, is evaluated under the pre-established goals.


The cycle consists in a loop between the previous actions until it finds a variation of the architect concept that is compliant with the constraints and that reaches the pre-established goals.

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Amilcar Ferreira
Published 11 may 2018

Despite the growth of digital practices in the field of architecture, the creative possibilities offered by digital tools are not fully exploited: computers could be used as a key player in the creative thinking process, not just for representation and documentation.

In this article we will present a set of tools that combines the BIM method and Generative design. These tools combine the mnemonic capacity of computers to calculate complex patterns, and the architect's ability to interpret and translate architectural issues into geometric axioms.

"For the first time perhaps, architectural design might be aligned with neither formal nor rationalism but with intelligent form and traceable creativity." (KOSTAS, 2006)

In approaching the systematization of the creative process stages, we established an algorithm where the architect’s role and the computer’s role are precisely identified. Our methodology aims at a symbiosis between the mnemonic ability of digital tools and the intuitive ability of the architect to optimize the results and the design process.

To test our algorithm, we are developing a digital application (G.Algo) which combines BIM and Generative Design. It combines the computer’s capacity to calculate complex patterns, and the architect's ability to interpret and translate architectural issues into geometric axioms.


Amilcar Ferreira
Published 18 march 2018


  1. This study is being applied in the architecture practices since 2016. Its development continues be progressively tested and re-evaluated among architectural projects in preliminary studies phases.
  2. We have selected relevant test subjects based on their diversity of professionals in their teams and diversity of architectural programs in their portfolios.
  3. The users were able to use all the features in multiple projects, the learning time was reduced, and the manipulation was considered, flexible and intuitive.
  4. To develop the tools, we will present, we chose Revit as a support, a BIM software developed by Autodesk, ranked the BIM software world leader by G2 Crowd.
  5. The tools presented were developed with API.NET and the samples found in the Software Development Toolkit (SDK).


BIM has become the leading method for representation, interdisciplinary collaboration, and management through all construction trades.

During the 2000s, BIM tools earned its way in all construction trades. Today BIM has become a mandatory practice in public sectors in some countries, such as Great Britain, since 2011, and France, since 2017. BIM tools are gradually replacing traditional CAD tools almost entirely, becoming fundamental for the design and construction phases of a building, due to the functions of interdisciplinary collaboration and project management.

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