GenerativeComponents is parametric CAD software developed by Bentley Systems, was first introduced in 2003, became increasingly used in practice (especially by the London architectural community) by early 2005, and was commercially released in November 2007. GenerativeComponents has a strong traditional base of users in academia and at technologically advanced design firms. GenerativeComponents is often referred to by the nickname of 'GC'. GC epitomizes the quest to bring parametric modeling capabilities of 3D solid modeling into architectural design, seeking to provide greater fluidity and fluency than mechanical 3D solid modeling.
Users can interact with the software by either dynamically modeling and directly manipulating geometry, or by applying rules and capturing relationships among model elements, or by defining complex forms and systems through concisely expressed algorithms. The software supports many industry standard file input and outputs including DGN by Bentley Systems, DWG by Autodesk, STL (Stereo Lithography), Rhino, and others. The software can also integrate with Building Information Modeling systems.
The software has a published API and uses a simple scripting language, both allowing the integration with many different software tools, and the creation of custom programs by users.
This software is primarily used by architects and engineers in the design of buildings, but has also been used to model natural and biological structures and mathematical systems.
Generative Components currently runs exclusively on Microsoft Windows operating systems, and in English.
Bentley Systems, Incorporated is now offering GC as a Technology Preview  of GC as a free download. This is a version of GC that no longer requires Bentley's MicroStation software for it to run, and that has features and a user interface focused on computational design.
GenerativeComponents was brought to the market after utilizing a multi-year testing cycle with a dedicated user community in the SmartGeometry group. This community was responsible for shaping the product very early in its life and continues to play an important role in defining it. The SmartGeometry Group is an independent non-profit organization; it is not a Bentley user group.
The SmartGeometry Group organizes an annual multi-day workshop and accompaying conference highlighting advanced design practices and technology. Recent workshop and conferences have been in:
IAAC - Barcelona, Spain (2010);
CITA - Copenhagen, Denmark (2011);
RPI - Troy, New York (2012);
UCL - London, UK (2013).
- AEC Magazine January 2005
- Generative Components Commercial release notice
- Architectural Record online, March 2008
- AEC Weekly news magazine
- Sample GenerativeComponents script from Ball State University
- GenerativeComponents Technology Preview News Release noting that Bentley offers GC as no-charge download
- Official GC download page. Download GC, free not time-out or feature limited. Requires registration with email address
- SmartGeometry Group
- http://www.smartgeometry.org/FAQ SmartGeometry Group FAQ
- http://smartgeometry.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=108:sg2012&catid=43&Itemid=137 SmartGeometry 2012
- GenerativeComponents official free software download site
- GenerativeComponents software official website
- GenerativeComponents Forum at BE Communities
- SmartGeometry Group website
- Official SmartGeometry Conferences website, with links to 2007-2010 sessions as webcasts
- CAD Insider, June 2007
- AEC Magazine, January 2005
- Parametric Design Repository, Canadian Design Research Network
- eatyourcad.com CAD Manager Resource website containing many articles relating to GC and old how-to guides on use