Artificial intelligence is about to become architects’ go-to tool

AI can help architects save time and money on their projects, as well as boost their productivity and efficiency
Spacemaker’s AI technology will enable architects, property developers, and city planners to create better and more sustainable cities
The designer Stanislas Chaillou harnessed the power of machine learning to create AI-generated floor plans
The home design software Higharc, powered by AI, provides consumers with an easy way to design and personalise their home

Artificial intelligence (AI) has progressed so much over the last couple of years, and it’s brought massive changes to the way we live and work. And the architecture sector is embracing AI, too. In fact, Mordor Intelligence reports that the global AI in construction market, which includes planning and design, was worth $434 million in 2018, and it’s set to reach nearly $2.5 billion by 2024. As the industry continues to grow, more architecture companies will embrace AI solutions to reduce the complexity of their work. 

By taking over time-consuming and meticulous tasks, AI can boost human productivity and efficiency. In the architecture sector, AI has the ability to improve how buildings are designed and built while reducing project costs at the same time. This not only benefits the architects, but also their clients. AI is without a doubt a powerful technology, but this doesn’t mean it will make architects obsolete. Human creativity and problem-solving skills are still very much in demand, and AI will simply augment human capacities. 


Spacemaker’s AI software enables architects to save time and money on their projects

Today’s architects face a lot of challenges. Often, they have to manage tight deadlines while maintaining a high standard of work. To design various kinds of structures, architects need to optimise everything from regulations to environmental factors. Those who rely on traditional tools will find the process very difficult and lengthy. To make things easier, Spacemaker, a startup based in Norway, specialises in the development of AI-assisted design and construction simulation software. Besides architects, Spacemaker’s technology also helps property developers and city planners to create better and more sustainable cities and improve their decision making, planning, and collaboration. 

The software analyses different parameters, ranging from how much natural light a building should get to how many rooms it should have. Based on the input data, it will generate several possible layouts that architects could use for their designs. It’s worth noting that Spacemaker’s AI uses publicly available data to generate possible solutions in only a few hours. If the same process is done using traditional methods, it would take much longer. Clearly, Spacemaker’s tech is a great way for architects to save time and money on their projects and improve the living quality of future residents in those buildings. To further develop its product and target new markets, Spacemaker has raised $25 million in investments, provided by venture capital firms such as Atomico and Northzone. 


A designer used machine learning to create AI-generated floor plans

There’s a number of reasons why technology like AI could become central to the architectural practice. And the designer Stanislas Chaillou, who used machine learning to create AI-generated floor plans, would agree. As part of a Harvard project, Chaillou wanted to explore the future of generative design and architectural style. So, he applied Generative Adversarial Neural Networks (GANs) to floor plan design. GANs consist of two key models: the Generator and the Discriminator. While the Discriminator is able to recognise images from a set of data, the Generator can “create images resembling images from the same dataset”. According to ArchDaily, the Generator creates images, and the Discriminator gives “feedback about the quality of its output. In response, the Generator adapts, to produce even more realistic images”. 


Higharc relies on AI to “make good design accessible to more people”

AI will not only help designers and architects create amazing buildings, but also allow regular consumers to design their dream homes. Thanks to home design software called Higharc, people who want to design and build their own home can create “workable designs” before they hire a professional architect. This will lower design costs and provide consumers with an easier way to truly personalise their home. 

All they need to do is log into the site and answer a few questions about their dream home. The user is also required to set a budget for the project and choose the desired home style. Based on this information, Higharc will use AI algorithms to generate a design that can be further customised. The software makes sure that any changes made to the design conform “not only to the rules of physics and good architecture, but local building codes” as well. What’s more, users can see how much every alteration would cost. Before providing an estimate, the pricing algorithm will take into account details such as ceiling height and finishes, and the average cost of labour for that particular service. As Higharc’s founder and CEO, Marc Minor, explains, the main idea behind Higharc is “to make good design accessible to more people”. 

Architects shouldn’t hesitate to incorporate AI into their practice. If they don’t take advantage of this emerging tech, they’ll be left behind. Instead of perceiving AI as a threat, architects and designers should see it as an opportunity to enhance their models, add value to their work, and save time and money.


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