5 Ways Artificial Intelligence Is Changing Architecture

Artificial Intelligence is changing just about every industry and architecture is no exception.
Donovan Alexander

Architects are not sure what to think about artificial intelligence. You are probably very familiar with how AI will change industries, like cybersecurity, medicine, and manufacturing. Well, how about architecture?

The core issue centers around the idea that creatives will be replaced by super-intelligent robots to design buildings, create art, or design vehicles.

Yet even as AI evolves across other design-related industries, AI could prove to do more good than bad, tackling the mundane so that you can augment your creative process.

5 Ways Artificial Intelligence Is Changing Architecture
Source: ZAHA Architects

 “Computers are not good at open-ended creative solutions; that’s still reserved for humans. But through automation, we’re able to save time doing repetitive tasks, and we can reinvest that time in design,” says Mike Mendelson instructor and curriculum designer at the Nvidia Deep Learning Institute.

Big data will change the way we design everything

5 Ways Artificial Intelligence Is Changing Architecture
Source: ZAHA Architects

As a refresher, artificial intelligence is a computer system that is able to perform tasks normally requiring human intelligence, such as visual perception, speech recognition, decision-making, and translation between languages.

AI comes to these decisions by utilizing tons of data, and this is where AI can shine in architecture.

Architects already use past construction data, design, and building data to tackle new projects, however, for most designers and planners in the industry, this process is still in the dark ages.

The ability to utilize tons of previous data in a millisecond to enhance the architecture design process could work wonders.

Here are five ways AI will shape architecture.  

1. Artificial intelligence will change the basics  

As hinted at above, AI’s ability to use data to make decisions and recommendations will be crucial to the design process, especially in the early stage of an architects project.

For an architect, starting off a project requires countless hours of research,  both of understanding the design intent of the project and of projects in the past. This is where AI steps in.

With AI’s ability to take limitless amounts of data, an architect could very easily go about researching and testing several ideas at the same time with ease; conceptual design with little to no use of the pen and the paper.

Imagine you need to design a family home. A task that is no easy feat, you need to think about the client's needs, expectations, and the design language. Not to mention you have to understand the laws that govern how you can construct the home.  

5 Ways Artificial Intelligence Is Changing Architecture
Source: ZAHA Architects

You have data about the family that include things like age, gender, the size of the family, etc.

With an AI system, an architect could pull all zoning data, building codes, and disabled design data, and generate design variations that also follow a certain design vocabulary, and offer countless options.


2. Parametric architecture will become more common

5 Ways Artificial Intelligence Is Changing Architecture
Source: light2architect

Parametric architecture is a buzzword that you have probably come across while delving into the world of architecture. It is a secret weapon for a lot of your favorite architects.

Parametric design is a design system that allows you to play with certain parameters to create different types of outputs and create forms and structures that would not have otherwise been possible.

Almost like an architect's own programming language, the tool gives the architect the ability to pick your design output, set the constraints, plug data, and create countless iterations of your product or building within minutes.

Made popular with CAD tools like Grasshopper, the parametric architecture uses geometric programming, with complex algorithms, to allow architects to take a building and reshape it and optimize it to fit their needs.

A tool like this allows AI to do what it is good at while the architect can be free to play to create.

3. Construction will become much easier and faster

5 Ways Artificial Intelligence Is Changing Architecture
Source: MX3D

When planning to construct a building, you can never be too prepared. Sometimes years of planning are needed just to bring an architect's vision to life. This is where AI can be a very powerful tool.

AI will make the planning process of the architects significantly easier, giving them access to countless amounts of data, creating models, interpreting the building environment, and creating cost estimates. All this information can be easily conveyed to the architect to help shorten design and building time.

On the construction side of things, AI can assist with actually constructing something with little to no manpower.

Even currently at MIT, researchers are creating AI-powered drones that have the ability to communicate with each other to construct small models.

4. Smart cities will pop up everywhere

The way your city could look now could be very different in the coming years. City planning is a complex task that requires years of precision planning.

However, a major task of the architect is to understand how a city will flow; how the ecosystem will coexist. The emergence of the AI-powered smart city will force architects to rethink their traditional models. 

Smart Cities will be places driven by real-time data and feedback, communicating with itself like a living organism. The buildings, smartphones, cars, and public places will communicate with each other to improve living conditions, limit waste, increase safety, and limit traffic. You can see this trend in some of the world's most advanced cities.

5. Artificial intelligence will change your home

Aside from building the perfect home, the architect will now have to not only use AI to design the home but potentially think about how AI could enhance the user experience.

Just like the smart city, AI will open the gates to smart homes; living spaces that are complex living data-driven organisms.

As an architect the challenge will be how to use artificial intelligence to fit into the design language of the home, to better improve the lives of the residents.