Artificial intelligence, machine learning and generative design have begun to shape architecture as we know it. As systems and tools to reimagine the built environment, they present diverse opportunities to rethink traditional workflows. Designers also fear they may inversely affect practice, limiting the services of the architect. Looking to building technologies, new companies are creating software and projects to explore the future of design.
Artificial Intelligence: The Latest Architecture and News
Cities across the globe are undergoing makeovers - swapping out old, antiquated technology for new, sleek alternatives. The development and implementation of computer vision and real-time analytics are ushering in the newest wave of smart cities. The combination of cloud-based dashboards and machine learning are providing actionable data to be collected and understood regarding everything from vehicle concentration to pedestrian activity. As cities continue to push forward and develop socially and technologically, there is no doubt we will continue to see cities incorporate tools like Artificial Intelligence (AI) to facilitate such changes. Despite the fact that eye-popping technologies like drones and robots are at the forefront of this technological revolution, there are also a number of unexpected ways cities are becoming smarter.
Designer and Fulbright fellow Stanislas Chaillou has created a project at Harvard utilizing machine learning to explore the future of generative design, bias and architectural style. While studying AI and its potential integration into architectural practice, Chaillou built an entire generation methodology using Generative Adversarial Neural Networks (GANs). Chaillou's project investigates the future of AI through architectural style learning, and his work illustrates the profound impact of style on the composition of floor plans.
Shenzhen 2019 Bi-City Biennale of Urbanism\Architecture - “Eyes of the City” Exhibition Section - Call for Submissions
We, the curators of the Carlo Ratti/South China-Torino Lab (Politecnico di Torino-South China University of Technology CUT) team, are pleased to announce the Open Call for proposals to participate in the “Eyes of the City” exhibition section in the framework of the 2019 Shenzhen Bi-City Biennale of Urbanism\Architecture (UABB). We invite international architects, planners, designers, philosophers, thinkers, scientists, companies, educational institutions, research laboratories, think-tanks and students to submit their proposals from April 1st to May 31st, 2019. The Open Call will accept proposals for design projects, research projects and critical essays that will form the core of the “Eyes of the City” exhibition section, that will be hosted in UABB’s main venue.
Download the information related to this competition here.
Is Artificial Intelligence (AI) 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? I sat down with my University of Hartford colleague Imdat As. Dr. 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?
This article was originally published as "Doom or Bloom: What Will Artificial Intelligence Mean for Architecture?" on CommonEdge. It has been slightly abridged for publication on this platform; the full interview can be read on CommonEdge here.
Urban well-being and health tracking has taken another step forward, as researchers from the University of Washington have created an artificial intelligence algorithm that estimates obesity levels by analyzing a city's infrastructure. Published in JAMA Network Open, the researchers' report explains how the algorithm uncovers urban relationships by using satellite and Street View images from Google. As Quartz reports, the project correlated areas with more green spaces and areas between buildings with lower obesity rates.
This article was originally published by Common Edge as "In the Era of Artificial Intelligence, Will Architecture Become Artisanal?"
Like food and clothing, buildings are essential. Every building, even the most rudimentary, needs a design to be constructed. Architecture is as central to building as farming is to food, and in this era of rapidly advancing technological change farming may offer us valuable lessons.
At last census count there were 233,000 architects in the United States; the 113,000 who are currently licensed represent a 3% increase from last year. In addition there’s a record number of designers who qualify for licensure: more than 5,000 this year, almost the same number as graduates with professional degrees. There is now 1-architect-for-every-2,900 people in the US. A bumper crop, right?
This article was originally published on Autodesk's Redshift publication under the title "5 Technology Innovations Can Help Your Architecture Practice Work Smarter."
Before airplanes, it took mail carriers on horseback months to transport letters across the country. Before washing machines, it took a full day of physical exercise to wash and dry a family’s laundry. And before cranes, it took decades—sometimes centuries—to build large structures such as castles and cathedrals.
The point being: Whatever you do, technology probably gives you a better way to do it.
Amazon’s innovative, checkout-free convenience store concept, Amazon Go, has opened to the public in Seattle.
Located in the base of an existing Amazon office building, the 1,800-square-foot (167-square-meter) store offers grocery and convenience items. To begin shopping, customers simply scan an Amazon Go smartphone app and pass through a turnstile.
Using machine learning, computer vision and artificial intelligence technologies (incorporated into the software powering cameras and weight sensors), the store can then track the actions of customers as they remove items from the shelves, creating a virtual shopping list as they go. When a customer is finished shopping, they simply exit the store through the turnstiles and the user’s Amazon account is automatically charged.
According to The Economist, 47% of the work done by humans will have been replaced by robots by 2037, even those traditionally associated with university education. While the World Economic Forum estimates that between 2015 and 2020, 7.1 million jobs will be lost around the world, as "artificial intelligence, robotics, nanotechnology and other socio-economic factors replace the need for human employees."
It's not science fiction: the MIT Technology Review warns that the current debate over raising the minimum wage for fast food employees in the United States would accelerate their own automation. On the other hand, Silicon Valley personalities and millionaires like Elon Musk and Richard Branson warned that the impact of automation will force the creation of a universal basic income to compensate not only the massive unemployment that would generate these new technologies but also the hyper-concentration of the global wealth.
One advocate of this idea is the British economist Guy Standing who wrote at the Davos Forum that it "would be a sensible precaution against the possibility of mass displacement by robotization and artificial intelligence," but will automation affect architects? Will we really be replaced by robots?
Installation Showing the Perspective of a Self-Driving Car Aims to Evoke Empathy for Artificial Intelligence
Driver Less Vision, an installation at the 2017 Seoul Biennale of Architecture and Urbanism by Guillermo Fernandez-Abascal, Urtzi Grau and Daniel Perlin, is an immersive 3D video experience comprised of spatial scans of Seoul, projected into a dome and paired with surround sound. The supporting audio is the internal monologue of a personified autonomous vehicle, driving through the streets of a future Seoul, Korea. The installation transports vierers to the front seat of the autonomous vehicle, providing a new perspective of traversing cities—through the car’s point of view.
Benjamin Bratton, Professor of Visual Arts and Director of the Center for Design at the University of California, San Diego, is the new Programme Director at Moscow's Strelka Institute. The New Normal is based on the premise that "something has shifted. [...] We are making new worlds faster than we can keep track of them, and the pace is unlikely to slow."
Have our technologies have advanced beyond our ability to conceptualize their implications? "One impulse," the course advocates, "is to pull the emergency brake and to try put all the genies back in the bottle." According to Bratton, this is hopeless. "Better instead to invest in emergence, in contingency: to map The New Normal for what it is, and to shape it toward what it should be."
The following essay by Nick Axel (Volume's Managing Editor) first published by the magazine in their 49th issue, Hello World!
With the rise of computational networks and power, cognitive models developed and debated over in the postwar decades have finally been able to be put to work. Back then, there was a philosophical debate raging alongside the burgeoning field of computer science theory on the nature of consciousness, in which machines of artificial intelligence served as a thought experiment to question humanity. Yet with the proliferation of data and the centralization of its archives, theoretical practice moved from conceptual experiments to empirical tests.
The theme of Parallelism in Architecture, Environment and Computing Techniques (PACT) 2016 explores the relations between computational design in architecture, organizational and global, ever-changing and pervasive contexts. PACT 2016 aims to gather practitioners and researchers interested in investigating and improving the state of practice of computational design software in the architectural discourse, where practicing design computing experts can explain the challenges they face in their day-to-day practices, and collectively induce an impact on the future of the field.
Termite mounds offer a fascinating architectural quandary: how is it possible that these towering structures (which include complex systems of openings, passages, large volumetric spaces, and even active ventilation systems and humidity regulation) are constructed with no centralised control or planning? The spatial complexity that these thousands of insects can collectively achieve has inspired a Harvard team to create TERMES, a project focused on programming an artificial robotic swarm to build modular structures.