Autodesk acquires Spacemaker: cloud-based AI to empower architects

Autodesk University 2020 concluded last week as a virtual event. There was no hustle-bustle of crowd that would usually gather at Las Vegas during this time of the year. Although AU took place virtually, the event was equally incredible. A global AU community attended the general session and industry keynotes, live leadership panels, more than 750 on-demand classes, and 350+ live sessions. There were some major announcements including Spacemaker acquisition, digital twin platform Tandem, expansion of Autodesk Construction Cloud, etc.

Autodesk will be acquiring Norway-based Spacemaker for $240 million net of cash. The deal is expected to close during Autodesk’s fourth quarter of fiscal 2021. Spacemaker is cloud-based AI software that pulls all the complex information related to developing a project and brings it together with generative design technology to create options for using the available space. Spacemaker promises to provide site developers, architects, urban planners a number of options for a space and also offer tools to evaluate the options. Spacemaker can use a range of data sources including site data, environmental factors and studies, goals, and regulations to develop various options.

The press release follows:

San Rafael, CA—Autodesk University—Autodesk, Inc. (NASDAQ: ADSK) today announced it has signed a definitive agreement to acquire Spacemaker for $240 million net of cash.

Based in Oslo, Norway, Spacemaker uses cloud-based, artificial intelligence (AI), and generative design to help architects, urban designers, and real estate developers make more informed early-stage design decisions faster and enables improved opportunities for sustainability from the start. By evaluating the best options from the outset, Spacemaker helps architects maximize their clients’ long-term property investments. The transaction is subject to customary closing conditions and is expected to close during Autodesk’s fourth quarter of fiscal 2021, ending January 31, 2021.

The acquisition of Spacemaker provides Autodesk with a powerful platform to drive modern, user-centric automation, powered by AI, and accelerate outcome-based design capabilities for architects.

With Spacemaker, design professionals can rapidly create and evaluate options for a building or urban development. With AI as a partner to the architect, the Spacemaker platform enables users to quickly generate, optimize, and iterate on design alternatives, all while considering design criteria and data like terrain, maps, wind, lighting, traffic, zoning, etc.  Spacemaker quickly returns design alternatives optimized for the full potential of the site. This leads to better outcomes from the start and allows designers to focus on the creative part of their professional work.

“Spacemaker is a lesson in the power of insights and automation, giving designers the ability to create and test urban design ideas in minutes,” says Andrew Anagnost, CEO and President of Autodesk. “With two billion more people expected to call our planet home by 2050, speed of design and sustainability in urban planning must be priorities. Spacemaker technology offers a fundamental shift in how we imagine and build cities to keep people and the planet healthy.”

“Our values are always reflected in the business decisions we make. The acquisition of Spacemaker demonstrates our commitment to the advancement of architects and the ability of designers to change the world for the better,” says Amy Bunszel, Senior Vice President for AEC Design Solutions at Autodesk. “Paired with our teams and complementary technology, Spacemaker’s transformational solution will empower designers to make more informed design decisions and help solve some of the greatest challenges ahead of us all.”

“Four years ago, we set out on a mission to help design, engineering and project teams reinvent the development of more sustainable cities and neighborhoods worldwide while maximizing the investment,” said Havard Haukeland, CEO and co-founder of Spacemaker. “Autodesk shares our goal to create a healthier planet for everyone and is uniquely positioned to more rapidly place our product in the hands of planning teams everywhere. This is a proud milestone for our team and those who supported us from the start.”

“Real-estate developers in Norway are at the forefront of the digital transformation in the building sector, resulting in increased project profitability, and critically, improving our ability to combat climate change with more sustainable real estate developments,” said Daniel Kjørberg Siraj, CEO of OBOS. “Game-changers such as Spacemaker are part of the solution, and it is critical to give them the scale that they need in order to be impactful. As an early investor and adopter, I am incredibly pleased to see Spacemaker joining Autodesk and am looking forward to seeing Norwegian-born technology transform the industry at a global scale.”

For more background on the acquisition, please see the accompanying PDF here.