STEEL HORIZONS | BOSTON Speaker Series 4 - Autodesk's visionary approach to construction with Magdalena Kowalczyk

Step into the future of industrialized construction with our exclusive STEEL HORIZONS | BOSTON speaker series. In each post, we spotlight one speaker from our STEEL HORIZONS | BOSTON event and share their insights about the future of construction.

In this edition, we delve into the world of Magdalena Kowalczyk, Research Engineer at Autodesk Research Industry Futures, and explore how they are “changing how the world is designed.”

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Autodesk's forward-thinking strategy

As the world of construction evolves, the need for innovative and sustainable solutions becomes ever more critical.

Magdalena Kowalczyk, a research engineer at Autodesk Research Industry Futures, represents the forefront of this transformation. With a background that spans everything from aerospace to automotive, Magdalena is now helping pioneer how we integrate advanced manufacturing strategies into construction.

"At Autodesk Research, we're setting our sights further into the future," Magdalena states.

"We're looking five to ten years into technology, which might still be far from widespread adoption."

 This approach enables Autodesk to shape the future, not just prepare for it. 

Meeting the future challenges of construction

By 2050, the global population is predicted to top 10 billion, and we face many challenges in preparing for that reality: an overwhelming demand for civil infrastructure, supply chain inconsistencies, varying levels of technological adoption and more.

"The industry is struggling to keep up due to social, economic, political, educational, and environmental challenges," Magdalena explains.

It is complex issues like these that Magdalena’s team wrestle with daily. Their approach is to be methodical, collaborative and work with other trailblazers in the industry to deliver technologically advanced and practical solutions.

Building better for all humanity

From robotic digital twins and VR to smart bridges that feedback data to inform future bridge designs, Autodesk Research Industry Futures projects push the boundaries for construction.


One notable example, Magdalena cites, involves a collaboration with Virginia Tech and Howick.

Challenged with how to build more than 1,000 healthcare clinics in Uganda and Zambia, the team showed how advanced construction methods could slash construction times while using local materials and labour.

"Howick's automated framing system was used to demonstrate that the primary structure can be produced and erected within one day, as opposed to several months using traditional methods."


Looking forward to the future 

"Our vision is to ensure digital continuity in workflows from Design to Make in IC (industrialized construction) applications."

By creating interconnected systems that seamlessly exchange data between design, manufacturing and production, we can develop more sustainable, efficient, and adaptable construction methodologies.

However, the key will be collaboration across the disciplines, leading Magdalena to open an invitation to the industry, highlighting the importance of working with customers to build deeper understandings and forming partnerships for future innovation.

“Talk to us, and let’s design and make a better world together”.

February 2024   #Features