157: ‘Aligning and Orchestrating the Process’, with Krzysztof Jędrzejewski

A conversation with Krzysztof Jędrzejewski.

157: ‘Aligning and Orchestrating the Process’, with Krzysztof Jędrzejewski

Krzysztof Jędrzejewski joins the podcast to talk about his career transition from traditional architecture to technology. He shares his Eastern European roots, educational background, and early work experiences in Poland and Denmark, including his involvement in groundbreaking projects like the Mercedes Museum. Chris talks about a crucial interview that propelled him towards tech in architecture and led him to work with Reope and now Autodesk Forma.

The conversation covers benefits of cloud-based software solutions, advanced tools like Grasshopper, Dynamo, and Ladybug, and the role of computational tools, AI in early-stage design, the importance of integrations with other AEC tools like TestFit and Veras in Autodesk Forma, and more.

About Krzysztof (Chris) Jędrzejewski:

Chris is an Ecosystem Lead & Product Manager for Autodesk Forma, with the mission to create an open AEC platform of interlocked 3rd party solutions.

His greatest talent lies in identifying the right strategic problems and empowering software development teams to address them effectively, a skill amplified via his extensive industry background.

Trained in architecture, Chris transitioned seamlessly into software development for AEC. He began his journey as an architect, became a computational designer and later stepped into the role of project manager at Reope, an AEC consultancy, to lead digital transformation in various global offices.

Today, Chris focuses on combining his product expertise, domain knowledge and passion for emerging technologies to create a more accessible, interconnected environment of AEC tooling of Autodesk Forma.

Connect with Evan:

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157: ‘Aligning and Orchestrating the Process’, with Krzysztof Jędrzejewski
Krzysztof Jędrzejewski joins the podcast to talk about his career transition from traditional architecture to technology. He shares his Eastern European root…

Episode Transcript:

Member 157: ‘Aligning and Orchestrating the Process’, with Krzysztof Jędrzejewski

Evan Troxel: [00:00:00] Welcome to the TRXL podcast. I'm Evan Troxel. Today I welcome Krzysztof Jędrzejewski. In this episode, we discuss his career transition from traditional architecture to technology, and he shares his Eastern European roots educational background and early work experiences in Poland in Denmark. Including his involvement in groundbreaking projects, like the Mercedes museum. He also talks about his crucial interview with Håvard Vasshaug which propelled him towards tech in architecture and led him to work with Reope and now with the Autodesk Forma team.

You can hear Håvard's story in episode 140, which I've also linked to in the show notes. It's a good one.

The conversation today covers some of the benefits of cloud-based software solutions and other advanced tools like Grasshopper, Dynamo, and Ladybug, and the role of computational tools, [00:01:00] AI in early stage design, the importance of integrations with other AEC tools like TestFit and Veras in Autodesk Forma, and more.

And my ask of you before we jump into today's conversation, please do me a favor if you can. If you are a regular listener and are enjoying these episodes, please subscribe both to the YouTube channel and in your preferred podcast app to the audio show, to let me know that you're a fan, it really does help. And now without further ado, I bring you my conversation with Krzysztof Jędrzejewski. . ​

Chris welcome to the podcast great to see you

Chris Jedrzejewski: thank you so much for the invitation, Evan.

Evan Troxel: you reached out to me after listening to an interview that I did with Håvard Vasshaug and you have a story about Håvard and you meeting him and going to work with him. I don't know the story I want to hear it first from you, uh, and then we'll see where this conversation goes.

Chris Jedrzejewski: [00:02:00] Yeah, very much so. I think there are plenty of topics to, to dig into, like I would, I would love to talk about, uh, industry, I would love to talk about Håvard, and also like how I got into the place that I am now, which is out of this Forma how it all kind of connects into one coherent story. Hopefully.

so, um, I think the place where I would like to start is basically my, uh, telling you a little bit about myself and where I come from. I think it's, it's quite important there. Um, I'm coming from as many of your guests, uh, from the industry, from architectural industry. I have an architectural degree and then I transitioned into tech and this transition I think was, was very interesting and it was inspired in a way.

by Håvard which is, which is a part of the story. Um, I come from interesting background, which is, uh, Eastern European, Polish background. Uh, and I did education there, which I think also [00:03:00] might be a little bit relatable to, to some people since, um, I studied, um, architecture in a university that was heavily, definitely oriented towards architecture.

So something that kind of got me into, into architecture was this dream about designing expressive forms and basically, uh, being, yeah, being creative person. And, um, Polish universities have this tendency of, uh, creating craftsman, which is excellent because this is very much, uh, a part of architectural, uh, life, like when you actually get into the practice.

Yeah. You realize that most of the, uh, designing is actually executing on very, uh, technical tasks. You have to understand the real aspect of the world. And it's actually like very volumetric, uh, like volume play. There's only a piece of, a small piece of that. Um, and this was kind of a, a discovery for me, uh, when getting into this world as, as probably [00:04:00] to, uh, to many at the beginning.

I also started working at the architectural practice as a very, uh, early age, since basically parallel to my studies on the first years of, uh, of my studies, I entered practice and that was around. I think 2013, 14, so about a decade ago. and I was, uh, I was kind of in a, in a world of construction for the most of this time. I, I kind of specialized in aligning and orchestrating the process. Uh, and in a way I was quite far from this creative process that, uh, that I always kind of desired and what got me into those studies in the, in the first place.

Evan Troxel: Were you on the architecture side or were you on the construction side when you were doing that alignment?

Chris Jedrzejewski: I was on the architectural side, so mostly documentation, mostly the, uh, legal stuff, but also design to some, to some degree, but also like getting to, uh, [00:05:00] to construction as architects, uh, do. I think at this point I started to kind of realize that, uh, first of all, the practice is. mostly this, like you, you have to have this very strong technical base, but also how, how not that many people are on this, on this creative, um, not fully creative, like this volumetric, like what people when watching TV shows, uh, imagine architect's jobs to, to be like.

And I also started to realize in a way that, um, perhaps this is not my strongest set of skills. So it was always this internal conflict of. kind of getting into architecture, wanting to play with volumes and creating those Zaha Hadid, Libeskind type of, type of buildings, and also discovering that, uh, my strong suit was actually somewhere else.

so I think that's, um, I somehow imagine that, that a lot of architects kind of go through this, uh, realization and kind of end up closer to the technical [00:06:00] side.

Evan Troxel: it's interesting when we go to design school, right, architectural design school, as many architectural programs are centered on design, there's not a lot of conversation around the fact that there are very few quote unquote, capital D designers in architecture. That's a very small percentage of the overall roles.

And then you, a lot of people who graduate from design school, go into the field and have that realization, right? It's in your face as soon as you go into the field. And now there's kind of this, crisis of sorts. It's like, where do I fit in? What is my path? I thought I was going to do this. I'm not going to be doing that.

and maybe to even to your point, like you're, you actually see what the people who are doing it are bringing to the table. And you realize like, I'm not that. And, and there are plenty of other paths in architecture. Oh, there's so many, even, 10 years, like what you're saying, when you went to school till now versus when I went to [00:07:00] school.

When I went to school, there were three paths. You could be a project manager, you could be a designer, or you could be technical. And now there are so many more paths. I think it's just kind of opened up with technology, especially kind of forcing that open. so it's not like you have to leave the profession and go do something else.

But, but realizing that there are so many different roles now, and navigating that, um, again, when the old school is still in charge. is, uh, they still think about it, I think, in, in the way that they were brought up, and they're not thinking about it, is there's so many different pathways to becoming an, quote unquote, architect, right?

I mean, there are many people who are not technically architects because they don't pass their licensing exams or whatever. In, in the U. S., this is, this is a thing, right? You can't call yourself an architect because when you graduate, you're not an architect, still. You still have to pass all the exams. But, but there's just not this real recognition that there are so many different, you know, roles in firms today that you can pursue architecture and, and [00:08:00] make a really good living, make a great living doing.

Uh, so it's, it's interesting just to hear your perspective and how you were kind of having that struggle of like, Oh, I thought I was going to do this. and you found that you were suited to do something else. And so I'm curious to hear where this story goes, but just taking a moment to kind of, for me to kind of interpret what I'm hearing and, and, and, uh, and just think it through.

It's interesting to hear your story,

Chris Jedrzejewski: And the fascinating part about that as well is that even though I also saw a lot of people in the field or my classmates or people that I worked with leaving the field to do something else, either within or outside of the field, I don't think anyone that I know regretted architectural education just because it was so wide and it was just so well rounded, preparing for so many different paths.

Evan Troxel: Right. Yeah, there's this interesting idea that we're licensed. Architects, if we go through that process to become licensed. But to your point, we're always up [00:09:00] for a challenge and it doesn't matter what the challenge is because we are problem solvers, like you're actually trained to be a problem solver and it could be technology.

It could be with a real building. It could be with a client. It could be with creating graphics. It could be with creating a PowerPoint. And, and there's so many different ways that you can express that problem solving ability. And so, yeah, it, it is pretty. It's incredible that this education prepares you to be something that not very many people are.

Like, I feel like there should be an architect on every corporate board out there, because we approach problem solving in a different way than pretty much literally everyone else sitting around that table. And you bring a skill set to that table that they haven't experienced before. I think it's, it's like, whoa.

You have an incredible skill set and that is what an architectural training is. And so to your point, like we don't, we don't regret that experience of, of that kind [00:10:00] of training because it applies to so many additional things beyond architecture.

Chris Jedrzejewski: yeah, it, it just reminds me of a saying that my friend had. architect is a person that you can talk with about absolutely anything, but not for too long. Just like that. We're around the mess of it all.

Evan Troxel: That's good. I like that. So where did it go from there? Where, what did you, so you're starting to work in the industry. You realize that you're more, maybe more suited for the technical or the tech side of things. So where did you go after graduation here and after starting to work in the field?

Chris Jedrzejewski: Yeah. So, uh, yeah. Actually, I remember one pivotal moment and it was when transitioning into more designing school for my master's at the time. And, uh, kind of after four years of already working as an architect and studying in a very technical school and transitioning to a school that is very, [00:11:00] um, very focused on this designing part, on the basically human aspect of the space, of the, uh, Fury of architecture.

Um, and I remember that like this, this feeling of this in internal conflict, kind of, uh, being extremely strong at that point. And I remember this one point where we had a guest lecture of, uh, of uh, uh, project leader from UN Studio, um, that came from, I think he, he lived in Munich at the time, and he was basically telling us the story of one of the buildings there, which is, uh.

Mercedes Museum, I think, in Stuttgart. And it's a very, very complex, if you know the building, it's a very complex, twisted structure of, uh, inspired by Guggenheim, of two spirals kind of interlocking in a very weird, uh, shape. And I fell in love, because this project was kind of something that I, I was searching for, uh, [00:12:00] I think throughout my entire career, till, till this point.

Uh, because it was Entirely driven by logic, a very computational logic. It was way before, the building was, was done before Grasshopper. It was done before, um, Dynamo or any of those, uh, those softwares out there. It was done basically with Excel, scripting and, and AutoCAD. Like creating those extremely difficult forms.

And, um, I think this was the point where I realized that, uh, kind of technology, um, is is significantly impacting the profession. Like it's, uh, in this most flashy way, right? In this case, it was geometry. Later, I, later I realized it was actually so much more. The, the scripting, the, uh, uh, actually new developments in, in technology are driving so many other aspects in this just first impression of the, of the volume.

But I remember that this was kind of a pivotal point where I, I [00:13:00] decided to go a little bit closer to the tech side. Very

Evan Troxel: That's cool. I mean, just the serendipitous nature of that, that lecture, you attending it, and that building, right? All of that kind of coming together at this moment for you, and, and you recognizing it. Did you recognize it then, or did you recognize it later, that that was kind of this pivotal moment for you?

Chris Jedrzejewski: very much at this point, in the middle of the lecture, just seeing, hearing the story, that there was literally just one guy, one mathematician, that was controlling the whole volume, and

Evan Troxel: Yeah.

Chris Jedrzejewski: there were no plans, right, like everything is, there was no flat floor in this building, everything is kind of twisted.

So there are no floor plans, like, sections do not make sense. There are no visualizations at this point, and there is just this pure logic, pure mathematical formula that is kind of controlling and driving the whole building, was, uh, was incredible.

Evan Troxel: Wow. Wow. So, [00:14:00] so what did that inspire you to do with your path? I mean, if it's so pivotal, tell, tell me why it's so pivotal now from here moving forward.

Chris Jedrzejewski: It was pivotal because I basically discovered this, this passion for digital side of, of architecture. This was the moment where I started investigating more tools for actually creating custom tooling. So up until this point, I was working in Revit, AutoCAD, 3ds Max, those softwares. Um, but at this point, like I realized that there was so much more that actually this nerdy thing of, of writing code is actually incredibly powerful and it could inspire the same way as, as.

Uh, as architecture does, that I can actually empower people, um, within the office that have this knack for, uh, basically detail, for, for form, for space, to, to empower them to, to, to make their best creations in that way.

Evan Troxel: Yeah, I mean, the whole [00:15:00] idea of turning these ideas into reality, the process to unfold the, the, the idea of creation so that it can be built is, I mean, that's the only way it's possible, right? First of all. And so for you to recognize that there is a means to do that, right? For people to have, like, you saw it, you saw an example with this, this building by you and studio, right?

They did it. They, they actually built that building. It was really complex geometry. It was, uh, Underlied by a formula that drove that geometry. And so then you realize like, Oh, we actually can have those ideas and we can build them and the process to get from here to there is something that you found a particular passion for, like figuring out how to do that.

I mean, I think that's one of the things about. Working in a, in a, in an office that does high design, right? Which is they actually figure out how to do that stuff. And that to [00:16:00] me is, is they're willing to do something that many firms are not willing to do, which is we're just going to keep doing it the way we've always done it.

We're just going to draw straight lines. So we're going to have flat, you know, rectilinear volumes, but then there, there are these other studios that are really pushing the boundaries. You've mentioned Zaha and Liebeskind and, You know, where the walls are at angles and they're swooping and the volumes are incredible and it's because they're willing to go through whatever it takes to figure out how to build those kinds of inspirational spaces and, and to bridge that gap between idea and reality, I think is, I mean, that's again, kind of going back to roles.

That's an incredible role to be in, in an architectural office where you can. Figure out ways to use logic to drive the conceptual forms, but then also have to kind of reverse engineer that so that you can make it, uh, talk the language that a contractor needs to actually build it, right, [00:17:00] through the deliverables, which is a set of drawings, typically.

I mean it. I, I think here we start to see the value of a, of a, of a model based delivery platform, right, where it's, it's like, you don't have to dissect this thing back into 2D to build it again in 3D, but, um, but yeah, that, it's an incredible, it's, it's kind of an incredible thing. I mean, these are the kinds of projects where, you know, I can't believe.

that they're real. You cannot believe that they actually figured out a way to build that. And I felt that about much simpler projects. Like I can't believe that it's this thing that I drew or this thing that I modeled, this thing that I sketched and then modeled actually became a real space. It's even at another level for the kinds of buildings that you're talking about.

Chris Jedrzejewski: Yeah, absolutely, and this real aspect, the fact that you can go to the site, you can touch it, you can interact with it.

Evan Troxel: Right,

Chris Jedrzejewski: It also means that someone has to figure out how to actually build it. It's not just a double curved wall, right? Like, there has to be a cast, there has to be simplification. Someone at the [00:18:00] site has to understand the design intent behind that.

Evan Troxel: right,


Chris Jedrzejewski: an extremely complex and beautiful process.

Evan Troxel: Yeah. Right. So where did you go from there? Let's, let's get into the next part of your story.

Chris Jedrzejewski: Yeah. So there was one more episode there. So, uh, being inspired by that and basically utilizing my, uh, my experience in, in Milano and, and the very designing school that was also exposed to so many, uh, influences from around the world and this computational side was much more accessible at the time. Um, yeah.

I transitioned to Denmark, where I started to work for one of those high profile, um, architectural offices working on the competitions and, um, basically around Europe and around the world on very like conceptual, very, very designy type of stuff. It was also mixed with a little bit more conventional buildings as well, but very much focused on the design and you could clearly start to [00:19:00] do, I could slowly start to carve out my role.

Anyway, in the office, that was very much on the support side, trying to help out with different tooling. And at this point, it was not only discovery that it's just Envelope. It's not just Envelope, right? It's so many other factors. There's optimization, there is analysis, so tools like Ladybug or Grasshopper, and allowing, also scaling those tools to allow my colleagues to use them, or introducing new workflows to the practice.

kind of developed this very strong intuition that, um, I really wanted to enable the best tool for the job. The most influential part of the project was when the designer had the freedom, they were not constrained by the tool. They could freely jump from tool to tool and being informed by the digital tooling.

Evan Troxel: hmm. Mm hmm. Yeah, the, the, I think a lot of offices [00:20:00] struggle with that because they see the efficiency of a standardized set of tools, right? And, and the training that goes into those, maybe the libraries of, you know, You know, it could be content, it could be details. You know, there's, there's, there's like that whole side of it, which is streamlined because we get paid for like, at least in the U S.

So Europe, you tell me it's probably, it's probably different, but in the U S it's like, we are trying to do the project in the least amount of time. possible. And therefore, uh, standardization and, you know, detail libraries and specifications, as much reuse as possible. And I, I'm sure that's very similar across all architectural practice, but at the same time, like that freedom that you're talking about to not be constrained by the tool.

Uh, and because that's where great ideas can come from. I mean, if you keep using the same tool to do the entire. [00:21:00] project, you can point at a building and say, I know what tool that was designed in, right? Like, let's be honest, like that, that's how it is, right? So, um, it is interesting to have kind of another argument to say, like, look at the kind of space that we could, the impactful types of architecture that we can create when we're not constrained to the same tool for every single project, but actually using the best tool for, for the job.

Chris Jedrzejewski: absolutely. But still. just to add to this and build on that. I think that's, that's completely true. And I don't think it's us specific. I think it's just humanity specific. Um, I think there's one more aspect there, which is that I see this tendency nowadays, that this is, this, this is slowly shifting and it's mostly connected with the number of tools that are emerging in the market.

It's connected with how many people are able to code and create their own [00:22:00] solutions is connected with. emergence of large language models, right? That's all of a sudden this knowledge is democratized. Uh, I think this is slowly changing and like this past where we would still have a lot of, like that everything would be standardized down to a software, basically of just using one standard software for the, for the practice slowly is coming to maybe not end, but it's, it's changing quite significantly just with the so many more options right now that are often quite, quite more productive.

Evan Troxel: Yeah, right.

Chris Jedrzejewski: And I think, um, I saw this, um, during my consultancy career. Uh, so I have like this, those little bits and pieces of my, of my career. And this is where Howard comes into, into the picture because when, um, working on the competitions, when, when working still in Denmark and like trying to scale. [00:23:00] Um, the, the workflows within the office, introducing different pieces of it to, to connect to different projects.

Um, this is how I encountered the, uh, uh, the video, the angry video where Horat Dime was trying to scale his, um, his consultancy. Basically from him, or just him and another person, into so many more employees. So this kind of exploded. And I, I think you're quite familiar with this video, right?

Evan Troxel: I'm familiar with the video and for the audience, I'll put a link to it in the show notes so that you can see it and have the context here as well, but this is, this is kind of what kicked off my conversation with Hovard in that previous episode because that's how I was introduced to him. I mean, that, that video grabbed my attention and then I started to see things that he was posting show up more and more and more in my feeds.

over time. And, but, but that really made an impression. So, so I, I don't want to tell the story. I want you to tell the story.

Chris Jedrzejewski: Oh, [00:24:00] uh, it's quite something like it's, I think it resonates with a very special type of people. The people that are like a little bit nerdy and they, they really care about this intersection of technology and architecture and people that are also a little bit frustrated with what you've mentioned before, which is this, uh, kind of time to value, um, blessing or curse of standardization within our industry.

So, um, what I saw and what I felt very much resonated with my beliefs and what I wanted to do. And this was basically a second time in my professional life when I had this feeling that this is it. Like, I guess I'm moving to Norway.

Evan Troxel: so this inspired action on your part. So you responded to the video.

Chris Jedrzejewski: Very much so. And this was like almost instantaneous. It was just like pulling out, uh, uh, some kind of a CV [00:25:00] writing a CV, writing a letter and just shipping it within one or two hours of, of just seeing the material.

Evan Troxel: Nice. Wow. So he really inspired action. I think that is one of the key takeaways from that video was, you know, And his call to action was like, I'm looking for people who are sick and tired of the status quo. I'm looking for people who want to see not just change, but like an evolution, right? Uh, the, the next, like, let's talk about progression, people who are not satisfied.

And he was looking for people who are angry and dissatisfied and like, just stirring up the passion side of it. So I think, I think to your point, I mean, it. It seemed to do exactly what and, and, and the funny thing is, I don't think he tried to go into that, creating that video with that perspective that this stuff kind of came out and he told, he told the story on the podcast.

So I'll put a link to the previous episode as well. But, but if I recall correctly, it was like, he wasn't even happy with the way that this [00:26:00] video was going per the art direction. And so he was just kind of riffing based on some prompting from. The person on the other side of the camera and this was the stuff that they just captured and it was just kind of like behind the scenes and that's what turned into the actual video, right?

And so it was, it was not only communicated to you that, that he was looking for this passion, but it was coming from a very sincere, authentic place with inside of him as well, because. He wasn't, he wasn't able to communicate it in a, in a prompted way or in a, in a, in a, like agendized fashion. He wasn't, it would have come across very stale and, and not authentically.

And so it was just kind of this reset in the room that caused this problem. this outpouring that came out of him that actually became the video and then inspired action in you. I think it's a, it's a beautiful story actually.

Chris Jedrzejewski: yeah. And this is what resonates, [00:27:00] right? People being authentic, people caring. This is how you actually get people that share the same values as us here.

Evan Troxel: Yeah. And I think so much, uh, corporate communication is totally wordsmithed and, and washed clean of any like real passion. And it's very difficult to get passion into a message. And so, I mean, Because it was unscripted, because it was from the heart, uh, that, that's where that connection was made with you, right?

And, and so I think there's a lesson in there. It's like, we're, we're very concerned about how people perceive every small thing that anybody says that they put online. Uh, and so there, there is a, there's another lesson here, which is like authenticity and passion. When those come through, they can actually change things for the better.

Chris Jedrzejewski: Yeah,

Evan Troxel: or for the

worse, which is the concern.

Chris Jedrzejewski: And also the, the connection is, I [00:28:00] love the point that you are making there, because connection is not made with the company, right? It's not

Evan Troxel: it's the

Chris Jedrzejewski: between two companies, and it's not between company as a person. It's very much a person to person type of thing, especially in a community that is as small

Evan Troxel: So were you aware of him before, before that video? Were you aware of Hovard before this?

Chris Jedrzejewski: I was, since he's quite a figure in that, in that field, although I was not, I've never, I've never spoken with him, uh, before the actual interview.

Evan Troxel: Okay. So did you know that that passion was there or was it, was this the first time you had seen it?

Chris Jedrzejewski: Uh, this was the first time that I would see it, and then, just by the, the interactions that we had during, uh, the MyStay, uh, MyStay in Riop, you

Evan Troxel: Okay. So, so from there, that, that's what happened. Like it catalyzed this move. You moved to Oslo and you joined the Reope team.

Chris Jedrzejewski: And very much so. And this was also, um, [00:29:00] in a way, a strange move or a strange environment that I think doesn't happen as often because the company grew from literally two people to like ten or eleven. all of them kind of responded with the same passion, or rather these were the cherry picked from the hundreds that actually applied.


Evan Troxel: he said he got over 200 responses to that. I, I could be mistaken about that, but it, there was a big response. And so, and so to your point, I mean, he had to whittle that down to 10 people. Right. So,

Chris Jedrzejewski: yeah, yeah. So he, he actually chose a very international environment, uh, like he, he chose people, like someone flew from New York, someone flew from Uh, India, someone flew from, uh, from Spain. So there were like so many, so many, uh, influences around the office, and kind of, the office was, in a way, ours to, to create.

Everyone was passionate, everyone wanted to change something, and this was a completely new culture of the office, right? [00:30:00] Because when you grow from two to ten, it's completely different.

Evan Troxel: And, and it's also interesting to, I like what I think about this when I think about hiring is a lot of people like to throw around the term like-minded, and I'm sure you were like-minded in some way, but you also had this diverse. backgrounds, right? Internationally, culturally, um, I like to say it's more like purposed.

Like, you, you, you all wanted the change. You wanted to see the change. And I'm sure everybody thought differently about what that change needed to be or how it was going to happen. Um, but you have this general purpose together to, like, that is why you are getting together to do this thing is to, is to make change happen as a group of people, because there's power in numbers, right?

And so if you can assemble this small group to do that, I'm curious to hear kind of how that manifested in [00:31:00] reality, like what, where did you start? Because if everybody has ideas, how do you pick and I, this is where kind of. curation and taste come in and maybe even prioritization on Hovard's part, right?

Which is like, okay, no, we're going to start with this, but did everybody have ideas about how they wanted things to go and, and, and bringing those to the table? I could just see kind of a constant bombardment. If the, if the passion is high, people are excited and they want to do things, then they bring that to the office with them every day.

And so then it becomes kind of a curation process and a prioritization of how you're going to go about doing it.

Chris Jedrzejewski: Yeah. So the answer to that is, actually, it was, I guess simpler than it sounds, mostly because it's a consultancy, right? So the moment that you, you have projects as you, again, you can convince people of the value of your office, that your office can bring, uh, you can basically assemble the team, uh, [00:32:00] per project in a way.

So, um, First of all, we were kind of grouped in a, in a way based on our qualification and what we felt best at. So I was not as technical, so, and, but I was very good with orchestrating, kind of arranging and client relationships. So I was working on the project management side, kind of going into the office, trying to understand the workflows, understanding the problem, interviewing people, and then being able to catalyze this for the team that was still very passionate, very creative.

But very, very, very technically proficient in solving the problems in a different way, right, than I could. So there was, I think there was some natural segregation in the way, like just by the skills, but also the fact that it's a consultancy. So those projects don't, usually they don't last for, for years.

It's a, a lot of small projects, like the more you're efficient, you can be as consultancy. The [00:33:00] more projects also you're going to have, so the more diversity in the tasks and the actual things that people do, you can, you can achieve.

Evan Troxel: Can you talk a little bit about the kinds of problems that you are solving for your different clients? Because I think this is one of the Again, kind of firms have some in house talent, but they might go out to a consultancy like Re Ope, in this case, to do, accomplish things that they can't accomplish in house, but also learn how to maybe go about accomplishing those things and building a team in house.

I mean, give an idea of, give us an idea of the types of projects that you were doing

Chris Jedrzejewski: Absolutely. And the beauty of that is that there are so, so many. I can give you a

Evan Troxel: over the

Chris Jedrzejewski: of,

Evan Troxel: yeah,



Chris Jedrzejewski: can give you a couple of,

Evan Troxel: hmm. Mm

Chris Jedrzejewski: the ones that I was involved were connected with my background and what I was already passionate about and what I was doing in my previous office. So going into a very high profile, um, [00:34:00] high number of employees, uh, architects that are doing a lot of competitions, a lot of very difficult projects and trying to, um, address workflows.

So again, In a way, like, it makes logical sense, coming, like, looking at the timeline that I've, I've been through, uh, it didn't make sense at the time, but, like, it's, I can clearly see a pattern now that, in a way, I was doing the tools, then I was kind of orchestrating the creation of those tools for the particular projects.

So, um, the typical case would be that, um, Offices are, and they should be, design oriented. Like their, their main expertise is on creating value by creating projects, creating the actual buildings and making sure that those buildings are of the highest quality. And the architects that are often working there don't have time or proficiency in different tooling to actually accelerate that, uh, this creation.

Although they often [00:35:00] feel that something is missing, right? That they are working on the outdated software, that there is like a clash, and what are they spending their time on? So there is a lot of, I think, anger, again, on the workflows that should be easier. So I think this is the moment where we kind of realize, okay, we need help.

We don't have a digital department or our digital department doesn't have the right skill level. We, we need basically the coding team or like, um, someone with expertise in those types of projects that can come in, identify those problems, connect them together and either find, um, solution that already exists on the markets, maybe develop the custom solution, or maybe perhaps just coach and mentor with set of trainings on this particular functionality of the software.

Evan Troxel: Curious just to hear if there was any kind of, um, process that you went through to identify? The problem that needed to be solved, if it needed to have a longer [00:36:00] life than just the project they were on, or was there a mix? Did you, did you do some that were like just for that one project?

We just need to solve this workflow for this project because this is a, a type of, I can imagine the competition circuit, there's a lot of different typologies that firms will be going after. And so maybe that typology, or for this competition, it requires a specific tool, or was there. Specific attention paid to, we need to develop tools that then become part of our base set of tools moving forward and we can reuse them over and over again.

Was that anything like that or was it a mix?

Chris Jedrzejewski: It's actually an excellent, excellent question there because this is exactly what, what happens. So in a way, offices are always interested in scaling whatever is done in a way per project to the whole office. But at the same time, they often like the scripts or the tools that are delivered per project, [00:37:00] they're already like a monster spaghetti of, uh, of logic.

that is very, very specific. So the moment that you try to apply it to a different project, it just doesn't work.

Yeah. So, so the process actually would, um, would include, um, kind of mix of those two approaches. So a lot of interviewing of actual users. So either the managers or architects working on the project with like their, their heads down trying to deliver, but also seeking those opportunities within a wider office and then trying to basically identify.

uh, whether the, the opportunity is just for this project. Um, so whether you need an actual script, whether you just need to upskill the team, or do you actually search for something that is more scalable, that can save you time in the future as a, as a virtual practice?

Evan Troxel: And then with Reope, I assume because you're building across multiple teams for multiple clients, then you start to kind of assemble. a toolkit [00:38:00] of custom tools that you've developed that you could then potentially deploy to other clients. I mean, I'm sure some of them are like, well, they own it. Um, but were there, were there cases where you also developed things that then became available to every client that you had potentially?

Chris Jedrzejewski: very much so. Like that was, uh, that was a very common case that you would actually see patterns between the offices, and you see that people just ask for the same thing. And it's always. For the office also, it's more beneficial to kind of get the two off the shelf instead of getting so many consultancy hours for development of this tool in house, right?

Evan Troxel: That's one thing that I saw time and time again as well. It's like, we all think it's just our problem, but, but the more you kind of go out and ask the question, you realize that a lot of people have the exact same issue and need the exact same solution within, you know, a very small percentage of difference.

And it's interesting because we're so in our own. [00:39:00] tunnel where we have our blinders on. It's just about us. It's our projects, our clients, our timelines, our deliverables, but it's not that different at every other firm out there. So I, it is interesting to hear you kind of back that up as well.

Chris Jedrzejewski: Yeah. The tricky part is kind of the same way as like understanding this, whether the tool is project specific or is it office specific, trying to identify this atomic piece that is uniform between the offices and then focusing on just reinforcing that that's one piece. And I think many consultancies could go through this journey, right?

Riop went with Anchor, so this was also developed on, it started with one of the projects I was consulting on, which was, um, um, digital construction. Actually, drawing less construction, and, and here in Oslo. Um, and basically it gave birth to the, a more scalable way, a product that is being resold and was made into its own company.

But we [00:40:00] also see, um, companies such as MatterLab, right? That was, what became COPE, uh, also starting from the same, uh, the same piece. So identifying something that is very common between so many offices that you consulted and atomizing this into an actual product that you can, uh, you can then scale.

Evan Troxel: Right, right. Interesting. So where did, where did you working with Re Ope lead you next?

Chris Jedrzejewski: it led me to, so the, the final stop to this point is, uh, Actually Autodesk Forma. So, um, you've, you've had Carl on your podcast, so I guess, uh, perhaps audience is already familiar with, with the journey of Spacemaker and Forma. Uh, I joined this project just as it was being born, so I think this was my third calling in the, in my, in my history.

Evan Troxel: People are listening to this, Chris, and they're saying like, how come he gets so many callings? Like it's so [00:41:00] crystal clear to you and now this is the third one and it's just like this, this, this moment. And, and I'm, I'm curious, do you feel like you are just open to these moments? Or like, did, were, were you searching for them?

Did they just happen to you? Uh, and, and you were just an innocent bystander and, and you, you saw it and you had to go this direction, but, but for it to be so clear for you, I mean, there's a lot of people who are just kind of waiting for something to happen and nothing ever happens, right? And they end up in a position working in a firm by just because They just did the same thing over and over and over again.

And then it sounds like, like your story, you've moved and you've had these great experiences because you took advantage of these moments that happened. I'm just curious if you've thought about that in a, in a bigger sense at all.

Chris Jedrzejewski: Yeah, I think there are kind of two pieces to the story in a way. Um, one is just incredible luck. I still believe that I [00:42:00] am who I am and where I am mostly because I was incredibly lucky to meet the right people at the right time and being lucky enough for them to also like me and resonate on different subjects.

But I think there is also another piece of just finding something that's Resonates with you, something that's, that, that you can be very, very passionate about. So for me, it comes down to this one moment where I kind of discovered the passion for the technology and architecture. Um, and this intersection between them and all those pieces that kind of fall into place.

So finding the way into the consultancy, for example, was a way of just scaling the impact. So slowly getting from trying this on my own projects and within my office. Then consultancy within different projects and slowly trying to build, um, custom software products up on to, to, to Autodesk or basically a lot of [00:43:00] current market solutions that are being created.

So in a way, I feel that this is a journey of like, just trying to scale the impact and trying to scale what you, what you believe in and trying to address the, uh, the opportunity at its, at its source. Yeah.

Evan Troxel: Yeah. So when you joined, it was Spacemaker at the time. Is that correct?

Chris Jedrzejewski: Yes, it was just undergoing the transition, so I think it was 2022 when Forma was just being announced publicly, but there was just no information about the release time or who's gonna take ownership over that and how it's gonna look like, what will the first release going to look like. So it was a very exciting time where, um, basically SpaceMaker team was, was given this, this massive task.

of creating an industry cloud and transitioning into, um, into also scaling the vision that they originally had.

Evan Troxel: Yeah. And, and [00:44:00] so Carl, how did you meet Carl? How did you get attracted to the Spacemaker team originally?

Chris Jedrzejewski: I think it comes down to something that we touched upon, uh, moments ago, which was, it's a very small community and it's a very small, nerdy, connected community. In my case, it was just the fact that software companies within, uh, AEC kind of know each other. And people also interact and, and talk, and also the fact that, uh, Reope, at least someone from Reope was, was consulting, uh, in, uh, in this particular office, which is Spacemaker office, um, after the acquisition by Autodesk also kind of helped to, to make the connection and to connect the dots of what's going on.

Evan Troxel: Yeah. And Forma had a big presence at Autodesk University this year. I want to say, you know, the, the announcements around Autodesk AI, I know a lot of that kind of focuses specifically on the Forma. side of things when it [00:45:00] comes to the AEC side of Autodesk AI, right? Because we don't really see it in, in Revit.

And we don't see it in the more legacy products, but a lot of the things that you're working on with the Forma team, I think really speak to what we're going to see in the future when it comes under the banner of Autodesk AI. Was AI always a thing when you joined? Or was it, I mean, I know it's kind of really exploded since then, but was that, were you guys talking about AI when you originally started working when it was Spacemaker slash the transition into Forma?

Chris Jedrzejewski: Yeah, very much so. And, um, I believe AI was part of Spacemaker journey from the very, very beginning. And it had a very special place, which is that, um, SpaceMaker and formal offering in general, where it's now, at least, focuses very much on early stage and making the decisions [00:46:00] as quickly as possible. And one of those aspects that was incredibly important throughout the history of SpaceMaker was those environmental analysis that often take just hours to run.

So, the team very intuitively just reach for AI trying to solve this problem, trying to evaluate patterns. So trying to, uh, resolve the problems that they had in hands, uh, at hand, and just address them with the technology. And this was way before the AI hype before the language, large language models, for example, being so popular and like kind of popularizing the idea, showing the potential, the team kind of, you know, Addressed AI in the way that I really, really love, which is we have an actual tangible problem.

Let's evaluate tools that we can use to solve that problem. And the AI just happened to be the right tool for the job there.

Evan Troxel: Mm. Yeah, I mean, this is one of those things where I think a lot of [00:47:00] people question what the difference is between an algorithm and an AI, right? I mean, it seems like a lot of companies now are using the term AI. when it used to be algorithm. I talked to Clifton Harness about this, about test fit early on, not early on, but just in the last year, like the last time he was on the show.

And I said, so why are you calling it AI now? He goes, I don't, we don't want to be forgotten, right? We have to be in the current conversation. And I love the honesty about that because, because AI is the buzzword right now. And, and I even sensed that at, at, the Autodesk University show, right? It's like, we have to say this because we're a public company.

We have investors. Everybody needs to know that we're doing this and be reassured that we're, we're looking at this problem very seriously, or this opportunity, I should say, very seriously. Uh, and so I'm, I'm curious, like from an AI standpoint, um, if you, if you could talk about it from where you're coming at it with Forma and, and [00:48:00] how it fits into this.

general terminology of AI, maybe a little more specifically.

Chris Jedrzejewski: Yeah.

An interesting pattern there is that Autodesk, I think you're completely right, which is that's we. In Autodesk we already had so many applications of AI technology that we just didn't brand together as Autodesk AI, but they were already developed and they were just being constructed within different projects, uh, for different purposes.

So I think the, um, The general movement of, um, of trying to brand this and kind of put it into the basket, uh, on one basket is also like to, to signal to the world that we care and that we actually, um, we're investing in this heavily and we're trying to, to basically evaluate the best pieces of where to, uh, where to put it into our products, but it's [00:49:00] also, um, a way of trying to identify, uh, identifying a patterns within the industry.

Uh, where, uh, AI can, uh, basi basically be a player, uh, in the future.

Evan Troxel: Yeah.

Chris Jedrzejewski: So, there are,

Evan Troxel: the analysis side of things with Forma and I'm wondering if you could talk a little bit about that. Like where, because the early focus is on the earliest stages of design, like feasibility, right? Which then you, you do have to take the environment, the site, the topography, you know, you, and you are working with. outsourced, uh, not outsourced, but outside sourced datasets to use as the basis of those, of those models. Can you talk about that? I mean, I'm, I'm curious, since you've launched Forma or since Forma was launched, there's been a lot of updates. Maybe you can give us kind of a current snapshot of, of where the product is today.

And, [00:50:00] Like, like one of the things I think about when I think about the potential of AI, and you're talking about these environmental analyses as, as an example, that data needs to be up to date, like we've all seen temperatures change in all kinds of different regions over the world, so you can't use a data source that is even five or ten years old, right?

You have to use something that, that's current. And I would assume that AI gives the potential to learn or even project where those things are going because our building is going to be built in five or ten years from now, even if we're at the feasibility stage. This is, everything in architecture kind of operates at that pace, right?

It's, it's, it's years, it's not weeks or months, right? So kind of just, I'm, I'm thinking. Like, this is where AI plays a potential, uh, role in the earliest stages of design because things are changing and we have to stay current and even project into the future [00:51:00] with our analysis.

Chris Jedrzejewski: I think that's, that's very well put, Adam. Um, there are, there are also different applications of, of AI. In this case, um, as mentioned, we are kind of aiming to accelerate the evaluation. So when it comes down to the data and datasets, in our case, it's just we can run those analysis based on the data and like predictions that we can make without any AI.

It's just the fact that we are basically deciding actively that, okay, we're going to have this set of models that we're going to train our algorithm on, that we're going to be keep retraining them to make sure that they are up to date. Um, just to get this very early prediction. on, uh, basically within seconds instead of hours for running the certain analysis.

But, uh, potentially, and this is, again, like this is not a future looking statement, but it's more of a discussing the [00:52:00] possibilities, is the moment that you have good enough data and big enough data set, you're actually being able to make some predictions on not only on the stuff that you could just accelerate.

You can actually augment, uh, what you would normally have to analyze by just looking at different projects, uh, different analysis yourself. And you can just combine it into like the couple, like you can dissect it into, uh, trying to predict certain, certain aspects of the design.

Evan Troxel: Mm hmm. Can you talk about what some of those would be? Like, what are the various things that you're looking at in the product today?

Chris Jedrzejewski: In our case, um, I think I'm not the right person, uh, actually to, to speak about this. Thank you. since you probably need a machine learning engineer or people from Autodesk AI actually talking about

Evan Troxel: like from a, from a practice standpoint, what are the kinds of analysis that you are enabling me [00:53:00] to do as a practitioner with a tool like Forma?

Chris Jedrzejewski: Oh, yeah, absolutely. So in our case, it's, um, we have a set of analysis that is, basically, at this point we have Sun, Daylight, we have stuff like Solar Panels, we have stuff like Noise Comfort, we have stuff like Wind Comfort, Wind Direction. Um, but also stuff like Carbon, that are already in the product, uh, that you can evaluate your, uh, your early stage designs with this set of tooling.

Evan Troxel: Okay. Yeah. I remember seeing Daylight and I remember hearing, like, I think this was a later release, but it was with the, with Noise, like how, how, What kind of data is available to track noise levels on particular sites? I'm curious, like, where does that come from? Who's collecting that data?

Chris Jedrzejewski: There's actually a very, very interesting question there. So there are, [00:54:00] so there are some public sources, uh, that are available out there, but in many cases, actually for, uh, for good evaluation, it's actually very common for people to send, uh, Uh, the surveyors of people with actually tracking the, the, the noise levels on the streets.

So we have actually customers that are coming with their own data. So when you go into the product, you can actually insert, like, you can go into their road and you can insert your, your own, uh, data, uh, on the, on the streets regarding how loud it gets in certain, certain hours.

Evan Troxel: I just recently recorded a conversation with David Benjamin from Autodesk and Ryan McNulty from MBH Architects, and they were talking about Project Phoenix at Autodesk University. And when we talk about, this is a project that's in California, and it's in a, it's in, you know, it's interesting. We need so much more housing, and this is a low cost [00:55:00] housing project. That the land that is left in California for that is targeting low cost housing is typically impacted by noise. It's like in between a railroad track and a freeway, right? And it's like there's a reason there's not a building on this site, right? It's because it would, environmentally, it's a, it's a very difficult challenge.

Um, and so to have the kinds of analysis tools, Like you have in Forma actually enable the architect to come up with designs that mitigate those issues before we get past the feasibility stage, right? It, it basically tells everybody that this is doable or if it's not doable. And here's some different configurations that would work to actually do that.

I know they use Forma on that project, but I'm curious, like the stories that you're getting feedback from. Architects who are using these tools. What kinds of stories are people telling you that they're using this for [00:56:00] and what it's enabled them to do, or, or maybe even, you know, features that they're potentially asking for because you're still early on in the product design.

Right? So this is going to get built up more and more of a time, but what are the kind, what are the feedback that you're hearing from people who are using these tools and, and how useful these kind of analysis tools are?

Chris Jedrzejewski: Absolutely. Actually, like you're, you're touching on the project that is very close to my heart because it's close to the ecosystem story. So APIs, third parties, all this, um, all this area of the product that I'm responsible for. So I would love to come back to this in a second, but when we come, um, when we are talking about the different stories that people come, come with, uh, people find success in the format.

Um, With Forma in many different areas, but I think one of the most powerful Comes to this iteration loop between the design and Getting the feedback on [00:57:00] your design from whatever source of analysis it is It's going to be a numerical on the number of square meters or the cost or it could be on very early indication that for example, there is a set of balconies that are not compliant with the local regulation in Sweden.

It could be, uh, projects that are, you realize that all of a sudden, exactly as you've mentioned with Project Phoenix, you have this noisy road, you have this noisy neighborhood that's actually very difficult to design with. And you make a certain, uh, design decisions and you no longer have to design. You no longer have to rely on your architectural intuition and having a person that has done.

hundreds and hundreds of those projects. You can actually get, uh, maybe someone younger that doesn't have this intuition, but has a support of modern tooling. It's kind of influences the decision making. They know, uh, basically immediately after making a very sketchy boxy design, [00:58:00] that this is not going to work and you actually have to adjust something differently.

So this comes down to also scaling the knowledge within the offices with modern tooling.

Evan Troxel: I think that's an interesting point because there's a fear of that person who has all that experience feeling like their expertise is being democratized to a, to a tool, right? But the fact of the matter is it's like that the need for these types of solutions to the, the housing crisis as one example alone need to happen at a much faster clip, like the, like talk about a problem that needs scale behind it, right?

And, and so, so to me, like, it all can't go through that one person who has that experience, but that experience does need to get encoded into algorithms and AI and, datasets, [00:59:00] so that more people have access to them, because this is a bigger problem than the small number of experts who have gained that experience over decades and decades and can apply it on one project at a time, because they're one person working in one office, versus how this problem actually needs to be addressed.

You can't, you can't argue against that. So on one level, I understand their fear, because everybody has kind of that, that self. You know, the survival instinct, but at the same time, like the problem is way, way, way bigger than that, and it needs to be addressed at scale, and it's tools like these that are going to enable that to happen.

Chris Jedrzejewski: Yeah. And you, and I believe you still, you were not replacing professionals with modern tooling. Like this is just not, not happening. This, this architectural intuition and ability to connect the dots. I think it goes so, so much further than just what, what the tool can [01:00:00] deliver, because you have to also evaluate the tool.

You have to be able, there are so many of them on the market and trying to identify what, uh, what is actually, uh, uh, feasible solution and what is not is one example where, where you still need this very deep expertise to, for a person to kind of verify and identify whether this is the right software and whether this actually helps democratizing this, this knowledge.

Evan Troxel: Yeah.

Yeah. You, you mentioned you wanted to come back to, uh, some of the, the stories about, you tell me what it was, I don't remember.

Chris Jedrzejewski: Yeah, absolutely. That was, uh, that was Project Phoenix because it's, uh, it was actually also a project that I worked on in, in formal. The success of the project was that it was delivered on top of our APIs and on top of the like something that is closer to the longer vision of Forma. So we have this, I always compared [01:01:00] building software to kind of trying to fly a plane and trying to assemble it at the same time.

Because if you

Evan Troxel: Okay.

Chris Jedrzejewski: If you start too early, if you start, if you try to assemble everything before the start, there is such a strong risk that you're going to build the wrong thing.

Evan Troxel: Yeah.

Chris Jedrzejewski: So you basically have to start small and you have to ramp up and build up the vision. So in our case, the, um, We have released something that's, um, is already a working and, and, uh, quite successful application that is targeting early stages.

And this was that's what we were, uh, um, talking a little bit, uh, before. I wanted to talk also a little bit about the one step into the future and what actually what's my part of the organization is focusing on, since it also connects very much to the industry, people that you interviewed, people that I've [01:02:00] also worked in the in the past that I am friends with, and this passion for the best tool for the job, so like being able to connect different different environments.

Evan Troxel: Mm hmm.

Chris Jedrzejewski: So, um, I think that, um, so basically this is an ecosystem side of, of Forma, and this is a vision of, um, basically identifying very, very early within this, uh, Forma journey that we're not going to be able to build everything ourselves. What we are set up to do within Autodesk, and this is why Forma is so, um, important to Autodesk.

is that we are trying to create an industry cloud of interlocking solutions. So stuff that is going to lift information from the desktop applications into the cloud, making it more granular, more accessible to people, and also for different applications being able to operate and [01:03:00] work on that data. And the ecosystem part of the story comes into play, because We are quite sure that, uh, we're not gonna build our everything ourselves.

The, as we discussed throughout the last hour, like the industry is extremely complex and we are also living in a renaissance of, of tooling of different, uh, digital solutions that are addressing different problems. Um, and I think it's, uh, it's clearly visible. Uh, I think the other day I saw your post on LinkedIn, uh, saying that, uh.

I've opened my LinkedIn and I saw free feasibility, uh, feasibility tools, uh, and I'm wondering whether we've reached the saturation of the market. Right. That was

Evan Troxel: My, yeah, my question is, is like, do we need, do we need to do like a Shark Tank kind of episode where all of these feasibility tool creators, yourself included, come to the table and pitch? Because I think, you know, where I'm coming at it from is [01:04:00] I don't think we're at peak saturation. I think that there probably is room for quite a, quite a few more.

And I think we're seeing this with AI. Right? We're seeing this actually very specifically with AI, where these AI tools are really, really specific. Like, it's not one AI tool that does it all. It's one AI tool that does one thing really well. And there's another AI tool that does another thing really well.

Because of that kind of data set training, it needs to be specific to accomplish specific things. I don't think it's that different with this, but I think, you know, People see all these feasibility tools and they wonder like what makes them different. And I, and I feel like there's maybe an opportunity here for each one to say, here's where we really shine and here's where we want to go.

And here's what we want to enable you to do. And I think it reinforces this idea of the ecosystem, which is like, and architects maybe don't want to hear this. Like they want to use one tool to get the job done because that just sounds so [01:05:00] much easier. But we all know that that's probably never going to happen because you can't build one tool that does everything really well.

If you build one tool, right, it's extremely horizontal, it doesn't do any one thing really well. It does a, it does a baseline set of things that all of those different verticals need to do, but it doesn't do the verticals thing. It just does the baseline things. And, and so I don't think that this is really a competition to say there's a winner that we're going to crown.

I think it's like. Here's what our differentiator is, and it gives an audience an opportunity to hear what those things are straight from the person pitching it, right? From a real person, not reading a webpage, right? Not trying to look at a comparison chart, but actually just hearing it. And, and like going back to Hovard's, angry pitch video, right?

Where he's looking for people to come join the team. It's like to get that, that response from people to say, Oh, like, Oh, I align with that one. My firm does [01:06:00] the things that you're trying to solve. And so I think it gives, it's just interesting to me to see the, like, it is starting to quote unquote, saturate my timeline on LinkedIn within the first page, I see.

three different feasibility tools, or four, but they're all doing things a little bit differently. And so what makes them the potentially the one for me? I think that's the kind of thing that I would want to hear as an architect,

Chris Jedrzejewski: Yeah, that's, I think it's, it's great that you, that you highlight that because they, they indeed are different. They are ified like they're addressing different markets and they're also addressing different needs of, of different professionals. Some of them are addressing real estate, some of them are addressing architects.

So there are many, many differences. And I think this realization, exactly this realization that you're talking about, is also what drives our vision of the ecosystem and opening APIs. So, when launching Forma, so, basically we're trying to build this interconnected system, [01:07:00] um, We already wanted to launch a functional application on top of that, and we wanted to validate this, um, this vision of being able to work with multiple tools within one single environment.

So what we did at the very early beginning is we've rebuilt some of the Spacemaker tools, and then we put entire Formit kernel into this environment. So those are kind of two independent applications that work together within this single one place. But what this also allows is for other Autodesk teams and also external teams.

So people like our customers, so, uh, Phoenix projects, right? Factorio has managed to build their tool very easily within the same, uh, data system that we, we presented them with. But it also allows for the opportunity for, uh, all those early stage feasibility, uh, companies to come and build their solutions within Forma.

So that you can basically, again, you can put, [01:08:00] you don't have to shop, you don't have to go to the supermarket to get your product. It's all available kind of within your shelf and you pick the specific tooling that you can, that you want for this particular project or for this particular problem. And you can address this within your single environment, within your single project.

Evan Troxel: And the benefit to doing that beyond not having to go shopping at all these different markets to pick a different tool is what, like, I want you to, you to tell me what, what are the additional benefits to it? Is it, is it really having all your data in one place? Is it the interconnected nature of whatever the next step in the process is?

There's an easier flow of that data to the next step in the project? What, what are the different benefits to the users here? Yeah.

Chris Jedrzejewski: Yeah, so, um, there are multiple, um, but I think. The first and foremost, I think the, just the interoperability and the [01:09:00] connection between different tools. Um, since there are so many that are emerging and they are addressing different needs, they all kind of have to rebuild a lot of connection to the existing softwares and to existing workflows that architects do.

This is something that we want to facilitate for, uh, for the creators and mostly for our users. So they have kind of a unified experience of, um, Uh, of being able to kind of juggle the data from one environment to the other in a more coherent, cohesive way. A strong motivator there is also just having one single environment, so you don't have to go and creates a project within every environment and in so many different environments, you can start slowly to kind of assemble your toolkit that is more, um, uh, best suited towards your projects than the ones that you were working on, um, in your particular office case.

So it comes down to the story of, [01:10:00] uh, that we discussed before, going into different offices and seeing that they have those workflows that are a little bit disconnected, They are all trying to connect it with this specific piece of custom functionality, uh, or different trainings or just like not knowing what's out there and needing a consultant to try to come and describe, uh, the potential changes to the workflow or introduce those new tooling, uh, to them.

We're trying to kind of address this at a bigger scale within Autodesk while allowing different applications to work cohesively within one single environment. Where you, which is very contextual, so instead of having like this one massive horizontal solution, you're able to switch between different ones, while still operating on the, kind of a single, single project.

Evan Troxel: Yeah, I mean, if, if I were to kind of, from what I know about some of the different connections that I've seen pop up in this ecosystem, I've [01:11:00] seen test fit being used for parking generator, right? They wrote a part, they partnered with you to write a parking lot generator, which is, um, Like nobody should have, like Clifton says this, nobody should have to draw a parking lot again, right?

Like the algorithms can design parking lots and they should because we should, we shouldn't be spending our valuable time laying out parking spaces. Uh, and then another component is the, um, The Veras rendering. Right? And so you could visualize, there's a visualization aspect to what's going on in forma.

I mean, the graphics in forma by default are, are very beautiful. And at the early diagrammatic stage, when you're just trying to understand. feasibility, program, site layout, orientation, things like that. It looks very nice. But then if you wanted to take that to another level and start to kind of imagine what the space could really be with vegetation and trees and glazing and reflectivity and different materials, you can, you can [01:12:00] do that.

So maybe you can talk about some of the other kind of players in this ecosystem, because it is, I like how you put it, where you've all these different pieces that come together in this common environment, right? And traditionally I would send a model to a visualization team or I would do it myself, but it would be a disconnected part of the process.

It wouldn't be all of a sudden I have parallel processes going on, right? I have a visualization model over here and I have the working model over here, but what you're saying is all of these are happening in the same place at the same time.

Chris Jedrzejewski: Very much so. And, uh, yeah, and the beauty of that is that you can basically introduce new tooling, that kind of, to some degree, depending on whether they can, um, They work within the frames of our data model, but they can also introduce their own data models, like their own systems of how do [01:13:00] they represent the elements.

And depending on whether they want them to work with different tooling, they can basically expose hooks or they can expose what the application needs for them to be understood. So this allows for having those multiple things within the single environment. So some of the examples you've mentioned before, so TestFit, Verus, but we are seeing other examples like FactoryOS, was one of my favorite stories of actually being able to deliver a fairly complex algorithm for optimization of the distribution of the prefabricated modules in our environment, while having um, basically ability to take advantage of those analysis of, um, some noise.

Uh, so they didn't have to recreate those analysis from scratch. They can basically, um, they can basically utilize our own software while still keeping their [01:14:00] own data model and their own way of, of working. We had other end customers actually creating the, um, the plugins for themselves. Um, so for their internal needs.

So recently, uh, we've hosted a, a hackathon that actually, I think it's turning into an actual project of, of Goldback, which is my, one of my, my favorite stories as well, where they have their existing, um, garage parking generator. So basically for different structures, where they similarly test it, they are able to generate, the entire building, uh, according to their office standard rules within our environment.

The advantage of that is, again, they can take advantage of our 3D scene of geo referenced projects. They don't have to recreate the, um, the services that are used for getting the surrounding buildings or surrounding roads. They can just use ours. Those buildings can coexist with [01:15:00] our native tooling, or for example, the buildings that are connected to Rhino or to Revit.

that is all coming into this one singular environment. We have also some analysis, also, that people are creating into, into this environment. People are connecting data. So we are having like those different types of functionality that are usually either connecting data or creating some drawing tools or drawing algorithms or analysis that are kind of coming into, into this environment that we are creating.

Evan Troxel: Nice. And, okay, so when I was at AU and Formo was on the stage, uh, it was being discussed, the TestFit logo came up on the screen, uh, and I know, I was sitting near Clifton in the audience and, and he, he gave a, a big wahoo shout out, which, which was fun. Um, the other logo I saw up on the screen was the Rhino logo, and you mentioned Rhino a second ago.

Um, but it is [01:16:00] possible to pull Rhino models into Forma as well and have that be part of the visualization and the analysis as well, right?

Chris Jedrzejewski: Very much so. So the way that we are designing the system is, um, If Rhino was web, we would basically put the web interface of, of Rhino happily into log, uh, into the Forma interface that you were kind of switching the same way that you were switching into Formit. You're switching into Rhino and you're modeling there, still being into the surrounding of, of the Forma model.

So you, again, you have this feeling of a very contextual application. Or you use your favorite tool, but it all comes together into one, one single environment. Um, in this case, since this is a desktop application, um, it works on the backend, it still works in a very similar way, but you have this a little bit disconnected experience of using your desktop app.

But what is very important in this case and how we think about that is that it's a little bit [01:17:00] more than just an export. It's not exporting a file and importing this to Forma. It's basically a live connection of a person, uh, working within Rhino environment and being able to stream the geometry and update continuously this geometry that is being represented in Forma.

But it also shares some, uh, some Forma information. So when you send it, for example, it's sliced into floors, it's sliced into actual meaningful, uh, Uh, things that have, for example, numbers. So you can, you can put some metadata, such as, um, yeah, how many square meters are within this particular floor.

Evan Troxel: Nice. And is that bi directional at all? Can you get, like you mentioned, in Forma, being able to pull in site context and buildings and roads, can you push that back out into Rhino so that whoever is doing the building design can see that information there or is it only one direction? Mm hmm.

Chris Jedrzejewski: So in this case, it's, um, [01:18:00] it's bi directional in the way that you've just described, which is that very early we kind of discovered that. So if it was within our web environment, you would probably not want to model an ICON. the middle of nowhere, right, like just zero, zero point, because this doesn't tell you that much.

You want to see context, you want to see your existing buildings and everything that you have in the scene. So one of the prerequisites in Rhino is actually getting the site boundary and all the terrain textures and the other buildings in the site into the environment, so you can kind of position it in the right place, and then you can start modeling as you would normally in Rhino.

with the benefit of having like a second screen where you can run the analysis, um, uh, and the environmental AI cool stuff that we discussed before.

Evan Troxel: Right. And, and I think the advantage to doing it that way, I mean, we've mentioned, you've mentioned Ladybug previously on the, on this episode, [01:19:00] right? As in a, that was an early analysis tool that you used in, as you were coming up through the, through it. And, and this is not that, right? This is something else.

But I think one of the, one of the things that came up in, in a previous episode is if every firm is left to their own devices to have to create podcasts, The Grasshopper scripts or Dynamo to, to do those kinds of analyses. Like you need that expertise in house. You need to maintain that, those graphs, that code, right?

You need to potentially adapt those to, you have to have somebody who can go in there and update the location so that you can run it on the next project. Potentially make changes to the, to the graph to make it work. Whereas a tool like this, I guess the, and this is kind of the benefit to working in this larger ecosystem is.

Your team is maintaining all of that, right? Your, all, all I have to do as the architect is put my model into it. And I, I have access to all of that [01:20:00] in a very easy to use and understandable graphical user interface. So, I mean, you've talked about kind of the, the nerdier side of things and, and there's definitely a place for that.

And like, I want, if I wanted to customize something or if I wanted to You know, if I really wanted to dig deep and get in there and do some really intricate stuff, like I, Ladybug is probably the answer for that, right? But for a larger percentage of a, of a less nerdy audience, right? This, this is a great solution because I don't have to have a special role in my office.

I don't have to have somebody who knows how to maintain that code. I don't have to worry about turnover if they leave. Take that somewhere else. Like, there is an advantage to, for a lot of people, I think, just to, to use a tool that has this as just kind of table stakes offering of, of, at the, at the most basic level of the tool itself.

Chris Jedrzejewski: Very much so. Um, there are kind of two aspects there. Um, [01:21:00] but it reminds me of, uh, discussion and actually an AU class that I had with, uh, Kevin from an Asian office, Nikai Sakai. Um, they, they do basically those crazy shapes, like way beyond what we are doing in the US or Europe, like those very, um, like extremely, extremely complex shapes that are very organic, double curved.

And, um, majority of their, uh, of their designers actually have some connection to Grasshopper, so everyone is skilled in that. And they were one of the very early adopters of Forma. And one of the first discussions were with Kevin, that was the guy, the computational designer that reached out to us. I had a question to him, which is, why do you do that?

Like, you have so many Ladybug scripts, you have so many analysis that you're running within your office.

Evan Troxel: [01:22:00] hmm.

Chris Jedrzejewski: And his answer was that, basically those things don't scale. Like, there's so much room for Customizability and different like project specific settings that all users often by mistake do some, some, they, they grab the wrong data.

They use a different, um, yeah, different setting or the tool just doesn't work for some reason on this particular project. So we're kind of, when we are looking just at the analysis and Rhino, We are kind of taking this away. Uh, so they prefer to actually use our solution just because of how scalable and how easy the UI is.

And there are a couple of other aspects, which is that this is not just analysis. And this is one of the reasons why we, we don't simply put our analysis in Rhino. We're actually having a separate environment. And the reason is that we are, we are building so [01:23:00] many new tools and others now. are building so many new tools into the system.

So by getting your model there, you're not only exposed to the analysis, sound, wind, and the ones that we've described before, but you also have this connection to data sources, to GIS sources. You have access to stuff like tested parking, or many new tools that are kind of emerging within the space, and many other partnerships that kind of work on this, on this data environment.

So, there is a temptation to kind of get it into the system, into this monolithic environment that you know. Uh, but there is also a lot of benefit of getting this and re representing it somewhere else. So it also can work in a, in a different way.

Evan Troxel: And I think that really speaks to the strengths of it being in the cloud and being a web based application, right? Which is that those connections are always there, and they can always be continually evolving and being updated, whereas desktop [01:24:00] applications operate differently than that, right? They're disconnected, they can operate disconnected, but you also then, don't have the connection to those things, right?

And so I talked to Carl about that in, in my interview with him, because it was like, why go the cloud route at all? And there obviously are trade offs, right? It's not like there is only one answer here that you have to decide what, which trade offs are worth it. And do I need to be connected to the internet all the time to use this tool?

I mean, the answer is yes, you do have to be connected to the internet to use this tool, right? And, and we're seeing a lot of applications in AEC. Deciding to go that direction because of the kinds of benefits that you just spoke to. Um, and at the same time, like I can't just unplug from the internet and go work on the beach on an island.

in my tool necessarily when it operates like that. And those are the decisions that everybody has to make because they decide where they're going to go. But you do create connections [01:25:00] between certain desktop based applications and your tool. So I can still do some work over here and then, and then connect it, push it up and down.

Right. Um, but at the same time, like if I really want to use your tool to its, to the most In the most advantageous way, it means you're being connected to the internet to do that all the time.

Chris Jedrzejewski: Yeah. Very much so. And there is also a benefit of accessibility. The fact that you don't have to install the software yourself, right? For example, if you have a stakeholder or a customer that's an architect. You can just send a link with a proposal where they can view the model that is continuously updated by you.

So the link doesn't expire, right? Like you can just continuously deliver something to them.

Evan Troxel: I know there's some architects who wouldn't, who wouldn't want that, but,

Chris Jedrzejewski: You can have a separate model. Yeah,

Evan Troxel: you want to, you want to just tell them, okay, you can check in now, right? You don't want them checking in all the time. I,[01:26:00]

Chris Jedrzejewski: yeah, yeah, that's true.

Evan Troxel: it is, it is interesting to, to have that ability. And I think it, it provides an inclusiveness to the design process that we haven't really experienced except for maybe in the last, I don't know, five to 10 years, right?

Which is. Like there, there was always these, these check ins at the end of a phase or, or at some milestone, right? Which was like, okay, now I'm ready for you to look at this thing. Now I'm ready for, for your insights. I'm, I'm ready for you to give me feedback. And, and you actually now have the ability to just have continuous viewing, continuous feedback by anybody who you want to provide access to.

And that does kind of change the approach. It kind of changes the way delivery works, but at the same time, I think it also creates more ownership in the process from the people who are actually paying for the process, which is the owners, potentially, of the building. Mm

Chris Jedrzejewski: Yeah, very much so. And, uh, I also see a [01:27:00] parallel here to the software development industry, and this keeps coming back to the Phoenix OS, but the software is also a project, in a way, when you think about it. It's smaller, it's a more confined entity, but it's still a project, so how it would look like in the past would be closer to what architecture is, which is that you are sending a deliverable.

So, but instead of drawings, you would send them an installer for a plugin in Revit. And then the customer has to kind of digest this, install this and like examine this. Uh, nowadays and how Project Phoenix came to be was very much everything was a cloud deployment. So basically the developer was just continuously pushing updates to this one environment.

In this case, it was, it was Forma and the generator would just, uh, update for the customer. And you could just call the customer to just enter the link and check out whether this is already what they, what they [01:28:00] desired it to be. So, I have some hopes that, uh, something similar can also happen to AC industry.

Where there, there would be an increased trust and basically the, the continuity of the process. And the speed that comes with that would actually accelerate the, the general way how we, how we design our cities. Yeah.

Evan Troxel: the Autodesk Construction Cloud? It, like, because, because what I'm, what I'm getting at, and maybe before you, you jump in here is, there's a layer of communication that goes along with this. It's not, it's, it's like, you don't just throw something over the fence and say, okay, now check it out, right?

It's like, Here's what changed. Here's and that layer of communication typically has been done over email or messaging, right? And so now it also seems like there's a a need for a repository of, you know, kind of the breadcrumb trail of communication, [01:29:00] who saw what, when, who was the intended audience, who has permission to look at it.

It's like, there's all these different aspects to all of that, that are changing the nature of the design process. Uh, and, and on the software side, that's been something like GitHub, right? Where it's like, there, there's a, there's a way to publish Not only the update of the software, but also the, the, the notes of the release notes, what's different, what changed, what bugs were fixed, what, and so like is, so the question is, is this going through ACC where I know ACC manages a layer of communication as well, or is this something separate from that,

Chris Jedrzejewski: it does not just yet, but in a way, the whole Autodesk is converging. The, the AC of Autodesk is converging into one singular environment, which is docks, uh, that is connected to a CC. So this bridge is slowly being created for the reason, also for the reason that you've, you've mentioned, which is this trust and having this, [01:30:00] this breadcrumb of the communication.

Evan Troxel: which becomes another layer of management too, right? Like these are all changes. that have benefits, but also people need to understand the full weight of it, which is, okay, now you, you're managing communication all in one place. You're managing where the model is, you're managing the visuals, you're managing files.

I mean, there's not really files, but right, there's, there's this data set. Um, and, and that also changes the way architects work. And so it's kind of understanding maybe where things are going, how things are changing, what the roles are that you're going to need in your office to service those changes. And then there's consultants and who's going along for the ride, right? Because a lot of times in architects are kind of driving the decisions of, of how this project is going to go. Many times that is actually the client, right? Because they want a certain deliverable. Um, but, [01:31:00] but then consultants have to also.

Get up to speed, become a part of that process, work in similar ways so that all the expectations are met along the way. And I'm just pointing all this out because, like, things are changing. And we can't go into a new paradigm bringing all the baggage of the old paradigms. Like, there's a lot of great old baggage that we should bring along, but it doesn't mean it's all going to work the same way. in perpetuity, right? And so these are kinds of things that also have to be tracked along the way. And firm leadership needs to understand that these changes are coming and this is what's happening in the ecosystem of project delivery, uh, via software.

Chris Jedrzejewski: absolutely. And in the end, when we think about the most successful software solutions that were created and are being adopted within the offices, these are the ones that are disruptive, that they bring something new, but they are [01:32:00] accommodating the existing processes, right? Like you're, you're jumping into something new, but at the same time, it's accommodates for your, uh, for your architectural engineering, basically AC process.

And stakeholder management, like access management, is one of those important pieces of the puzzle. I

Evan Troxel: have we missed anything is that this has been a great story and you've connected a lot of dots, I think that have even happened on this podcast over the last few years with, with different guests and different storylines and kind of. Different ideas, too. I mean, one of the kind of finer points to your story is really using the best tool for the job, and now you're working on a product that is creating a hub for those tools to plug into, I think, which still gives So, thanks.

Thanks. The people on the design side who are actually coming up with these amazing solutions to the most current challenges in the built environment, the [01:33:00] ability to have that choice and exercise it, right? To be able to have the agency to pick the best tool for the job, but still allow the data to kind of flow in this way, I think is a really, uh, it's a great approach.

It sounds like a great approach to the problem. We'll see how the market plays out. Adopts adopts this and moves forward with it. But, um, I mean, which is another great, a great side of this, right? Which is that like the actual users get to decide if this is the way that they wanna move forward or not. I know there's a lot of horsepower behind this at Autodesk.

Um, uh, obviously. and a huge existing marketplace of tool users from the Autodesk side of things. But, um, this is, this has been a great story. And so I'm just wondering, is there anything that we've missed? And is there anything you want to, you want to kind of finish out with here? But, um, just, just couching it in that, like, this has been fun for, to kind of see how you've connected between all these different things that have happened kind of on the podcast throughout the, throughout the years.

[01:34:00] But, but personally, and bringing your own personal story to it.

Chris Jedrzejewski: will just finish with thank you, because my story and everything that I've been through, and everything that is happening also in Autodesk, and in this ecosystem story of Forma, but also wider. is possible thanks to a community, right? Like I, I, I just cannot express how wonderful it is to, to have such a passionate set of people that are guests on your podcast, but they are also present at conferences.

They are also publishing actively on LinkedIn. They are creating content, like all of this comes together because of the people and the trust kind of that they can establish between themselves. Initiatives like yours and podcasts like yours help to kind of popularize this knowledge and bring this notion of people working together.

Evan Troxel: cool. Well, thank you for saying that. I appreciate it. I appreciate you for coming on the show and, uh, [01:35:00] getting your story out there as well. And, uh, maybe we can do a round two someday. That would be fun.

Chris Jedrzejewski: Absolutely, I would be up for that. Thank you so much.