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Is Artificial Intelligence and Generative Architecture a Threat for Architects? | Part 1

The possibilities of artificial intelligence seem endless. It is predicted that AI (Artificial Intelligence) soon could draft articles, screen movies and drive cars on our behalf. But what about designing buildings? Can AI be the next architect?


Generative architecture has received increased attention from both industry experts and general audiences for some time now.


What is Generative Architecture?

First off, let’s look at the meaning of the term generative architecture. The general idea behind this concept is that the architecture is created by a software program, rather than by a human designer. The program can create unique designs that follow a set of programmed instructions, meaning that every building created by such a software program will be different. The idea of creating architecture that is not designed by a human designer may sound like it’s come out of nowhere, but the truth is that it has actually been around for some time now. One of the first examples of a computer-generated design was created by a program created by a team consisting of Dr. Alan Turing, Dr. Geoffrey Jefferson, Dr. A. M. Uttley and Dr. A. W. Brown. This program, named the Automatic Computing Engine (ACE), was designed to create 3D models by solving mathematical equations, without the need for any human input.



Why is the use of AI in architecture so important today?

The architecture domain is very rich in data, which could give good datasets to serve as the building blocks of an efficient AI. Using AI in architecture helps to collect and analyze data on large scales, which can help reduce costs, increase sustainability, enable mass-personalization and freedom of forms if large-scale 3D printing is involved in the process.

AI in architecture is being proven an incredible tool to greatly reduce construction and design times and at the same time providing opportunity of an easy customization. By adopting the many benefits that AI can provide, architects are able to increase efficiency within their offices, provide better customer experiences, and continue to push the boundaries of what is possible in the field of design.


While AI technologies and generative architecture are getting more and more advanced, it is still requiring deep collaboration with an architect. An architect can focus on building something new, or brainstorming various ideas, leveraging AI for generative architecture.



Most buildings are built now with architects, but more and more buildings will be designed in collaboration between AI and architects

For now, the adoption of AI in architecture is being driven mostly by technology companies and very professional firms, but architects are picking up the pace with research studies and implementation projects. Not every architect has taken advantage of emerging technologies, and there is an increasing sense that unless firms integrate AI into their practices, they will get left behind. The learning curve may be quite steep, but architects should not wait until technologies are pushed from larger firms before starting to implement automation in architects jobs.


Artificial intelligence will make the job of the architect a lot easier, analyzing all data and creating models that could save the architects lots of time and energy.


If used correctly, AI can take this data and determine trends or inefficiencies, which allows architects to develop better, more durable designs without spending so much time analyzing data.

Such processes enable AI to lessen an architects efforts, allowing an architect to freely consider various ideas and build new things.


That humanness is an advantage architects have over AI, our superpower, but the way that our humanness helps this process involves listening, cooperation, and construction know-how. Ironically, architects embrace of AI might be the only way to preserve architectures humanity, but only if architects are able to convey its values. Rather than thinking about AI as architects versus robots, we need to see AI as a tool used for increased productivity, but also to improve the profession of architecture.


This tool stack is something that is going to really help architects begin to realize the potential of big data and artificial intelligence, and, in the near-term, improve their own productivity. The endless hours of research that go into starting any new design is where artificial intelligence comes in and makes the architects job easier, analyzing aggregated data in milliseconds and suggesting a few buildable patterns, so the architect can reason through a conceptual design without ever using pen and paper.


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