The first generation of architecture and engineering software was developed in the late 1970s. It allowed designers to draw via the computer instead of on paper. But the results were still just drawings. In the 1990s, Frank Gehry pioneered a second generation of “smart” digital design in architecture, by using software to optimize designs and translate them directly into a process of fabrication and construction.
Now known in the industry as parametric design and building information modeling, this approach has ushered in a new era of architecture, according to art historian Irene Nero: the era of “technological construction.” And Gehry Technologies drove this innovation, even though Gehry himself “speaks with a certain degree of pride in his inability to operate a computer,” as CTO Dennis Shelden observed in his MIT doctoral dissertation.