3 Ways to Enhance Architectural Design With OpenUSD and AI

NVIDIA Omniverse
5 min readJan 18, 2024

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By: Chris Scott, Founder at Evolver Interactive

As innovators or leaders within our companies, we’re always on the lookout for the next big change — and there’s a fear of potentially missing it. In Architecture, Engineering, Construction, and Operations (AECO), significant technological advancements and evolving workflows have continuously changed the state of play and kept the industry on its toes.

As I take on projects for Fortune 500 companies and innovators in the space like UrsaLeo, a question I regularly ask myself is: am I making the best decisions for my team to ensure we build a scalable and sustainable future? After spending four years utilizing NVIDIA Omniverse and Universal Scene Description (OpenUSD), I can now confidently say yes — here are a few reasons why.

Diving Into RTX Rendering, the Future of Real-Time Design

I started using Omniverse with a simple need: I needed rendering to be done fast for project reviews with clients. I also required a platform that would allow my team to collaborate effectively. We all know adding more people to a project doesn’t necessarily mean it gets done faster, but that changed with Omniverse.

For architects, the ability to quickly and effectively communicate their designs is critical. It’s essential to visualize and share these designs to ensure client understanding, aid collaboration with stakeholders, secure regulatory approvals, facilitate design iterations, and maintain time and cost efficiency.

The Omniverse platform offers a powerful solution to aggregate data, and with its real-time rendering capabilities, it enables architects to produce immersive, photorealistic visualizations instantly. The Omniverse RTX Renderer provides an RTX real-time mode, which allows users to render more geometry and physically-based materials with high fidelity, in real time. Omniverse includes foundation applications that offer features such as annotation, design markup, and remote streaming. These foundation applications serve as templates of sorts from which users can develop their own tools for specific architectural use cases.

Most importantly, the platform empowers architects to convey their ideas to clients and stakeholders more effectively, whether from the cloud or locally, minimizing miscommunication.

The significance of RTX real-time rendering lies in its ability to enhance the speed and realism of these visualizations, streamlining the design process and transitioning to a platform powered by AI technology.

After finding out that real-time rendering was a great first win, my next question was: what else can Omniverse do for me?

Esamur Water Plant in Spain sun study and digital twin with live topography data.

Customizing Workflow Needs with APIs and Apps

The next challenge I wanted to tackle was asset management and the creation of custom tools to make our process even faster. This was something I had never done before, and I had no idea what to do. But with just a few of our developers, we managed to develop our own internal asset management tool with login and version control in just a week.

Architects often deal with complex datasets and multiple software tools, requiring efficient data management and workflow integration. OpenUSD and Omniverse address these challenges with powerful APIs that enhance collaboration and efficiency.

Users can integrate their preferred applications into the OpenUSD ecosystem and Omniverse, allowing for customized, optimized workflows and straightforward software integration.

OpenUSD and Omniverse are open and extensible, enabling designers to seamlessly incorporate these tools into their processes. This DIY approach allows architects to adapt technology to their unique needs, fostering innovation and precision in design.

A digital twin of a living room we created for floor and spatial planning

At Evolver Interactive, with Chief Engineer Osamah Askari, we redesign and create extensions and connectors to streamline client workflows. We can combine these pieces together to build enterprise-ready applications for digital twin use cases in manufacturing, construction, and retail.

Omniverse’s codebase and extensions offer a broad spectrum of functionalities, enabling architects to implement any backend process they desire and focus on creative design.

Finally, the last question I had in mind is one that almost all business leaders are asking themselves: How can AI work for me?

Enhancing Design Intelligence and Automation with AI

The truth is, there’s so much AI out there that choosing just one solution would be difficult. Instead of choosing a single solution to enhance workflows, I decided to opt in for a platform from the world leader in AI (NVIDIA) , ensuring that I will always have the best new AI methods at my fingertips.

AI is revolutionizing architecture by enabling architects to automate tasks, enhance design intelligence, and gain deeper insights. The role of AI in generating innovative designs and optimizing energy efficiency represents just the beginning of its impact in the field.

Omniverse is a great starting point for using AI in architecture. NVIDIA Deep Learning Super Sampling (DLSS) uses AI to generate frames, generate additional pixels for intensive ray-traced scenes, and output higher-resolution frames from a lower resolution input. DeepSearch is another AI technology native to the platform that allows you to quickly retrieve 3D assets from extensive libraries using natural language or other images.

Not only is the platform powered by AI, but developers are building AI tools as Omniverse APIs for broader audiences to take advantage of.

The continuous advancement of AI promises to enhance Omniverse consistently, expanding the solutions and methods available to architects. This evolution is set to redefine architectural design and creativity, with Omniverse leading these developments.

Explore the Future of Architectural Design at GTC

Join NVIDIA for OpenUSD Day at GTC for a full day of expert-led sessions and panels to see how OpenUSD is transforming AECO and other global industries. View AECO industry conference sessions to explore solutions helping architects, engineers, and designers keep up with their advanced workflows. Register for GTC in-person or virtually to learn the latest in AI and attend in-depth sessions, workshops, and training on building OpenUSD-based extensions, apps, and services on Omniverse.

Get started with NVIDIA Omniverse by downloading the standard license free, access OpenUSD resources, and learn how Omniverse Enterprise can connect your team. Stay up to date on Instagram, Medium and Twitter. For more, join the Omniverse community on the forums, Discord server, Twitch and YouTube channels.

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NVIDIA Omniverse

Learn from the developers and luminaries leveraging Universal Scene Description (OpenUSD) to build 3D workflows and metaverse applications.