Two years after its initial announcement, software developer Autodesk has officially completed the move of its Toronto office—and the headquarters for Autodesk Research—to the MaRS Discovery District innovation hub in Ontario's capital city on Tuesday. The nonprofit center, which opened in 2000, considers itself the world's largest urban innovation district in the world.
"Our new office space is a place where our customers, partners, experts, and academic and government leaders can come together to explore the future of making things," writes Autodesk head of research Gordon Kurtenbach in a press release. "Our goal is to research and showcase what is possible with emerging technologies, like artificial intelligence; build solutions that address the world’s epic challenges; and invest and partner with startups, academia, and governments to create a shared vision for the future of innovation."
In its new office, Autodesk now occupies 60,000 square feet of space for more than 250 employees. Autodesk used two of its three office floors for the first large-scale installation of a generatively designed office layout, using its own Project Discover software that employs algorithms informed by occupant preferences to determine ideal office arrangements. According to an April 2017 Wired article, the software generated more than 10,000 potential designs, matching employees and departments with their location preferences by measuring light, circulation, and potential visual distraction levels. For example, the human resources and facilities teams requested to be near high-traffic areas, and using the software's "interconnectivity" metrics, these teams were placed near the reception and main hallway.
Autodesk's third street-level space has been designed for community and public engagement.