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How AI Can Help Us End Design Education Anachronisms

This article was originally published on Common Edge.

The rise of generative AI has given every design educator sufficient reason to reconsider both what to teach and how to teach it. Training an architect is a long process, and mapping it onto an uncertain future is a daunting task. Researchers at OpenAI, DeepMind, Meta, and similar companies seem constantly surprised by the rapid development and sometimes unforeseen capabilities of their AI creations. If even the creators don’t know how fast the future will arrive, it would be hubristic for any of us to claim that AI will do X or AI won’t be able to do Y in the next decade, which is about how long it takes to really train an architect.

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Beta Realities Creates 3D Printed Social Housing System for ICON Technologies' Initiative99

German-based architecture and design studio Beta Realities has developed the “Collective Parts” initiative, a design and technology platform for enabling the construction of affordable 3D printed housing. The project has been recognized as one of the winners of Inititative99 by ICON, a global architecture competition aimed at reimagining affordable housing that can be built for under $99,000. The other winners of the open category are MTspace Studio from New Zealand and For Everyday Life from the United Kingdom. The competition also highlights contributions from students as a separate category, featuring Casa Fami by IAAC from Spain, Juan Felipe Molano from Colombia, and Victoria Roznowski from Germany.

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The Top Apps for Architects

Smartphones and tablets have become so powerful that has abruptly changed the concept of workshops since the introduction of apps into the architecture industry. They have generated a more productive and efficient workflow on-site or on the go, covering different aspects of the field with versatility and variety. While some are specific to professionals, others appeal to every architecture enthusiast, with user-friendly interfaces, simplified navigations, and reachable information.

ArchDaily has selected the best architecture apps in 2023 featuring technical drawing and modeling essentials, sketching canvas for all levels, construction and management platforms, toolbox apps, and interfaces to get inspiration from.

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Redefining Work for Productivity and Creativity: How AEC Professionals Can Work and Collaborate From Anywhere

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Today, working outside the office has become the norm across industries, changing the way we work and how we interact with team members and clients. Given the potential challenges of working remotely (internet connection and stability, for example), organizations need to build the right systems to maintain productivity and foster the same sense of teamwork and culture found in traditional office spaces. As architects, engineers and construction (AEC) teams know, collaboration is key to driving creativity, and is essential to the successful completion of any design project.

Infographic: The Evolution of 3D Printing in Architecture, Since 1939

For many years, often spoken in tones of anticipation and excitement, we have heard that 3D printing will revolutionize the architecture industry as we know it. But if we stop for a moment, reflect on the present and look back at the past, it becomes evident that the technology has long been reshaping the field, continuously undergoing profound transformations and ushering in new eras of design, construction and spatial creativity. Operating as a layer-by-layer additive manufacturing process, 3D printing uses digital models to create customized three-dimensional objects with a remarkable level of precision and efficiency, saving time, generating zero waste, reducing labor costs and opening avenues for rapid prototyping and iterative design. It enables architects to explore creative opportunities and regain autonomy by designing complex, non-standardized elements within an industrial and mass-customized process.

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How Can AI and Data-Driven Tools Help Architects Design Compact, Healthy Cities?

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The United Nations estimates that the world population will reach 10.4 billion by 2100. Already by 2050, 2 out of 3 people will call cities home, coming in search of the opportunities, services and amenities on offer. That puts even more pressure on urban areas given all these people will need access to water, food, public space, good infrastructure and, above all, housing. In fact, estimates suggest more than two billion homes will need to be built by the end of the 21st century to accommodate this population explosion. As cities grow, so does urban sprawl, which brings its own set of environmental and social challenges. In the face of climate change, sustainable urban development must ensure that future housing solutions –new and renovated– are built to support healthy communities, prioritizing both human and environmental well-being. In turn, cities will need to be built denser and faster, but not without meeting a long list of stringent criteria. Only this way can we avoid the negative, often overlooked, effects of uncontrolled hyper densification that give urban development a bad name.

Mobility, Managerial Competencies and the Future of Architectural Practice in The 2020's

As the world slowly adjusts to the "new normal," so too does the architecture industry. Data related to market size and workloads shows that the profession continued to grow even after the pandemic struck. Other statistics show how architects are starting to be hit by the present crisis – such as the fall in full-time work and rising unemployment. While these statistics could take one down a road of despair (or enthusiasm), there is more to the numbers: Mobility, digital and managerial competencies are framing the profession in the 2020's. Not only as data for the sector to approach the market and retain talent but also as strategies in the face of crises and technologies to come.

Climate-based Daylight Simulations with VELUX Daylight Visualizer

Daylight is core to realizing healthy and sustainable buildings, but its dynamic nature and the complex ways in which it interacts with its environment make it a difficult discipline to master. The new version of VELUX Daylight Visualizer makes climate-based daylight modeling more accessible than ever, empowering architects to make the best use of daylight anywhere in the world.

MVRDV, Superworld, and the City of Rotterdam Create Software for Reimagining Rooftops

“Understanding precedes action.” That is the motto of the Urban Observatory, an interactive installation and web app created by TED founder Richard Saul Wurman that compiled a wide range of urban data for over 150 cities, allowing users to compare various characteristics of those cities – from population density to traffic speed limits – side-by-side. Urban Observatory was first created in 2013, a banner year for news about urban big data; later that same year, Waag made headlines with its interactive map visualising the age of every building in the Netherlands. The emergence of such platforms allowed people to see the world around them in new ways.

With the rise of Google Earth and other GIS tools, and platforms like envelope.city, or environmental simulations based on digital twin models of cities, urban big data has quietly come to underpin a wide range of tools used by professionals who shape our cities, with both the amount of data collected and the influence it has over decision-making expanding dramatically. However, these advances typically happen behind closed doors and in undemocratic spaces. How long must we wait for software that has all the user-friendliness, accessibility, and appeal of those older platforms, but which provides the average person with the tools to shape their city? In other words, if “understanding precedes action”, then why after almost a decade are we not seeing big-data-driven apps that encourage the public to actually do something?

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Powerful Crowd Simulation Software for Human-Centered Design

From smartphones to space rockets and self-driving cars, the power of technology in this modern digital era is enormous (and practically limitless). It has impacted every aspect of our lives and will continue to open up endless possibilities that today we cannot even begin to fathom. When applied in a socially and environmentally responsible way, technology has the power to enhance productivity, communication and sustainability, enabling global communities to function efficiently, addressing people’s everyday needs and improving their quality of life. Simply put, good technology serves humanity. And just as the healthcare or manufacturing industries have taken advantage of this, the architecture, design and construction world cannot fall behind.

What is the Future of BIM? Graphisoft Unveils Archicad 26

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Considered the second most requested skill (behind field experience) in the industry and used by a growing number of design professionals, Building Information Modeling (BIM) has proved to be the present of architecture. But with constant new features and exciting improvements, it is also very much the future. For decades, the revolutionary software has established itself as a powerful tool with a long list of invaluable capabilities: detecting errors, reducing costs and material waste, mitigating risks, optimizing workflows and, above all, allowing for seamless, multi-disciplinary collaboration.

Vantem, a Startup Founded by Bill Gates, is Building Cost-Effective Net Zero Housing

Vantem is a startup construction company manufacturing high-efficiency, net-zero homes at competitive costs and low embodied carbon. The company recently raised a Series A round of investment from the Bill Gates-founded firm Breakthrough Energy Ventures. Net-zero homes, buildings that produce as much energy as they use, are typically cheaper to own than standard housing. Still, they often involve high construction costs since they require advanced building technologies and engineering. Vantem aims to change this dynamic by employing modular construction technology.

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