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  • Writer's pictureElenah Mae Salen

Generative AI Architecture

Updated: Nov 6, 2023

When I worked as an Architect, I spent countless hours playing 'architectural-tetris', designing and trialling a myriad of floorpan options to see what yielded the greatest potential. This is time I can never get back. If generative AI was available to do this work for me, would I have used it? Absolutely!

The practice of architecture can be frustrating, especially early-career. There are thousands of documents to be perfectly PDF-ed, plotter-printed, Z-folded, and couriered. There are stringent design guidelines that must be researched and closely adhered to. There is feedback to incorporate on drawings that have a knock-on effect, necessitating multiple large documents being opened, tweaked, renamed, saved, PDF-ed, re-disributed, and logged in the drawing register. So much of practicing Architecture involves low-value, low-satisfaction tasks that have nothing to do with creating great designs. No wonder the burn-out rate is high in the profession.

When I practiced architecture I taught myself to write scripts to automate repetitive tasks. If you have a Gen-Z in your architectural practice, I have no doubt that they too have found similar ‘hacks’ to work smarter. Generative AI yields incredible opportunities for the Architectural profession, to diminish such busy work.

Can Generative AI replace architects? It depends.

If you believe the role of the architect is to tick boxes of built form compliance, and clients budgets - that can be replaced. Although, it will be an unfortunate outcome for anyone that interacts with the building.

Generative AI can design buildings, but cannot design architecture. Why not?

Architecture is an art form. It evokes emotion, is tied to a sense of place, is unique to the designer’s ouevre.

AI cannot feel emotion or understand the human spirit, a sense of being, or culture. While it can create interesting looking images, it cannot create art - or architecture.

In a similar what the architectural practices that embraced Revitt and BIM early gained an upper hand, those that quickly learn and embrace the potential of generative AI can better allocate their internal resources to improve design outcomes, retain happier employees, and lower operating costs. Sounds like a win to me!

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