Ribbon-cutting ceremony for Autodesk at Bakery Square.

Autodesk, a San Rafel, CA-based company named as one of the world’s most innovative companies by Forbes, has moved into Bakery Square.  The software company specializes in versatile virtual reality, robotic and digital scanning technologies.

After eight years operating from RIDC Park in O’Hara Township, Autodesk officially set up shop yesterday in a 13,000-square-foot space below Google in Bakery Square Office 2. They marked the occasion with a public event showcasing some of their innovative products.

The company took an active role in the building process, from using their laser scanning technology to help design the space, to documenting the entire construction with 3D cameras, says Aaron Morris, senior project manager of Reality Solutions at Autodesk. During the grand opening, the footage they collected was used in a demonstration where visitors could experience the construction process via virtual reality headset.

“It’s been fantastic to have Bakery Square and the construction team let us use our own office as a test bed,” says Morris, who joined Autodesk after the company acquired his software startup All Point Systems in 2012.

Senior project manager Aaron Morris explains Autodesk technology.
Senior project manager Aaron Morris explains Autodesk technology.

Autodesk gained a reputation as one of the most innovative companies in the world by applying their technology to multiple industries. Their 3D imaging software has played a role in everything from helping to create Academy Award-winning special effects to enabling government agencies to build more energy-efficient facilities.

However, Autodesk’s relocation to the city of Pittsburgh means more than just a change of scenery. As Morris explains, the move was motivated by a need to be closer to the city’s tech community as the company focuses on delivering products through mobile devices and being “more cloud-centric.”

The company has already made strides toward that goal. Earlier this year, they officially announced a restructuring plan meant to streamline the organization and reallocate resources to accelerate their move toward the cloud. They also unveiled Forge, an initiative working to create a cloud-connected ecosystem.

Autodesk has already built strong connections to various Pittsburgh institutions, including Carnegie Mellon University, the startup incubator AlphaLab Gear and their Bakery Square neighbor, TechShop. Morris believes ties to surrounding innovators will prove instrumental in the company’s transformation.

“What we do in this office in Pittsburgh is part of the reinvention of Autodesk itself,” says Morris. “It’s more about the future of making things, whatever those things may be.”

Amanda Waltz

Amanda Waltz is a freelance journalist and film critic whose work has appeared locally in numerous publications. She writes for The Film Stage and is the founder and editor of Steel Cinema, a blog dedicated to covering Pittsburgh film culture. She currently lives in Pittsburgh with her husband and oversized house cat.