Is Artificial Intelligence the doom of the architecture profession and design services (as some warn) or a way to improve the overall design quality of the built environment, expanding and extending design services in ways yet to be explored? Dr. Imdat As is an architect with an expertise in digital design who is an assistant professor of architecture and the co-founder of Arcbazar.com, a crowd-sourced design site. His current research on AI and its impact on architectural design and practice is funded by the US Department of Defense. Recently we sat down and talked about how this emerging technology might change design and practice as we now know it—and if so, would that be such a bad thing?
The potential benefits of artificial intelligence to architectural practice
AI can help architects with lots of analytical tasks, to have a better understanding of context, circulation patterns, spatial and material performance. This is true for not only the quantifiable and obvious characteristics of design, but also the more non-quantifiable ones, like maybe how a space makes you feel. We usually can’t easily quantify these qualities and they often get neglected.
In the short term, he thinks we will see AI-driven CAD-software that can assist architects in the early stages of design development.
The software could generate hundreds of possible designs that match the given constrains and the designer could choose from the designs and develop further. I think with emerging AI tools designers will benefit from a swarm of design ideas very early on—one could compare it to crowdsourcing designs online but with no human designers. In addition, all the grunt work we do as architects could potentially be automated.
AI-software could assemble the best patterns for a given problem into new compositions.
what about those intangible qualities of architecture—human fascination, amusement, even spirituality? Can AI incorporate these qualities into design? Looking at thousands of examples, the DNN might discover that such human perceptions of spirituality occur because spaces have certain proportions, lighting, height, scents, or aural qualities. Some of these might be obvious—the result that the architect intended. But others might be latent, that we never thought of.
transfer of styles – like neural doodle.
The power of building information modeling tools like Revit or ArchiCAD was that they somehow brought back the power of the master builder, because they enabled a single creator to not only design the edifice, but also model structural efficiency, simulate energy consumption, and other factors. They empowered the architect
Perhaps this trend will be further enhanced with AI coming into play. Not in five years, but perhaps further down the road, AI-driven design systems could be used directly by clients.
The AI-driven design tools for the non-professional would be created by architects, allowing them to extend or expand their design knowledge and influence to areas of the built environment they currently don’t have access. It would be a blooming of quality design accessible through AI-driven design software. One way or another AI will have a deep impact on the way we conceive, represent, and develop architecture and shape our built environment. I think this is truly a turning point in architectural history.
Photo source: images.pexels.com