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AI in architecture 8 application examples

8 possible applications of AI in architecture

Implementing AI in architecture allows you to revolutionize building design processes. Get To Know The Full Details

Have you ever thought about how the world of architecture would change if  intelligent computers could fix the most complex problems, replacing (in whole or in part) human activity?

Despite, at first glance, such a scenario may seem unlikely or even risky, reality shows us a considerable amount of  applications of artificial intelligence (AI) in architectural design. Thanks to them, professionals in the construction sector are achieving truly exciting results.

In this article, I will guide you in discovering the most important AI use cases in architecture to make you appreciate the potential of this technology. For a broader overview, I recommend you also reading the article “AI in civil engineering: 6 application examples, all the advantages and new challenges for the future”.

In most cases, artificial intelligence is implemented in architecture starting from BIM models. To start experiencing the benefits of this technology right away, I recommend you try a free  3D/BIM building design software, a tool that simplifies modeling operations and helps you create a reliable database to use for different artificial intelligence applications.

AI in architecture

What is artificial intelligence (AI) in architecture

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is an innovative technology that allows machines and computer applications to learn from experience, adapt to new inputs, and perform functions that normally require human intelligence, such as visual interpretation, reasoning, learning, and decision-making.

In the context of architecture and design, artificial intelligence can be seen as an investigative tool that has the ability to quickly analyse construction projects, providing adequate responses to the most complex problems and with minimal human intervention.

AI operation is based on the use of intelligent and iterative algorithms, as well as advanced techniques and methodologies that allow software to process huge amounts of data in a very short time. At each processing cycle of this data, intelligent systems are able to verify and measure their performance and develop additional skills.

Among the most common artificial intelligence techniques we find, for example:

  • machine learning: concerns the study, construction and implementation of algorithms that allow computer systems to learn and make predictions automatically, starting from a series of input data and reducing errors with each learning process;
  • neural networks: are a type of machine learning consisting of interconnected units similar to the neurons of the human brain, which have the ability to analyze large sets of data over and over again to find associations and interpret the meaning of indefinite data;
  • deep learning: it is an approach to machine learning that takes its cue from the human brain and uses huge artificial neural networks to process information, find connections between data, learn from complex models, etc.;
  • cognitive computing: it is a branch of AI that aims to achieve a natural interaction between humans and machines, allowing computers to imitate the way the human brain works during the execution of a complex activity;
  • computer vision: represents the ability to review and interpret the content of an image through pattern recognition and deep learning. Thanks to machine vision, intelligent systems are able to capture images or videos in real time, identify the components of visual data and interpret the surrounding environment.

The explosive growth of AI in architectural design is linked to the development of further technological innovations that allow artificial intelligence to be exploited to its full potential. These technologies include:

  • building Information Modeling (BIM): it is an advanced digital process that allows to collect in a single model the information necessary to manage the entire life cycle of a project;
  • Internet of Things (IoT): is a system of interconnected computing devices that have the ability to transfer data over a network without requiring human interaction;
  • Virtual Reality (VR) andAugmented Reality (AR): are technologies that allow the user to immerse themselves in the virtual architectural model of a building, or to integrate physical reality with the digital world, in order to evaluate the final performance of a project.
Design with augmented or virtual reality

Design with augmented/ virtual reality

AI in architecture: 8 application examples

The applications of artificial intelligence in architecture are vast and diverse and allow professionals in the sector to free themselves from routine activities, solve complex problems and improve the overall efficiency of projects.

Below you can find out what are the 8 most important AI use cases in architectural design:

  1. Parametric architecture: is an iterative design method that allows you to play with certain parameters to test different types of output and create extremely creative and complex architectural forms that would be impossible to design and model with traditional methods. Using parametric design, architects and designers can enter constraints and make changes to the project in real time, and the model is automatically updated to test possible solutions. Compared to traditional methods, the parametric architecture allows to significantly reduce design times, offering architects the possibility to select the desired output, and to reshape the building several times based on different needs.
  2. Generative design: it is a project optimization technique. Unlike parametric architecture, which uses constraints and input parameters to solve a design problem, generative design applies intelligent algorithms to those same parameters to perform an optimization process aimed at finding the best solution. In generative design, the designer, in addition to establishing the constraints and objectives of the project, provides the evaluation metrics that the software will use to classify the results, approaching the optimal design solution from time to time;
  3. Integration with BIM: Companies that produce BIM software rely on artificial intelligence to improve the efficiency and potential of their programs. These tools are able, for example, to collect enormous amounts of information that the AI uses to explore every aspect of the project, obtaining the optimal solutions much faster than the human mind can do. AI-enabled BIM software also leverages machine learning to learn from data, detect models, and make independent decisions on how to automate and improve building design and construction processes;
  4. Rendering: Artificial intelligence helps architects and designers create photorealistic and professional images of architectural projects. The software renderings that integrate intelligent functions are, in fact, able to automatically set the parameters that allow to obtain images of the highest quality, without particular efforts on the part of the user, or to perform real-time renderings, which allow to evaluate the performance of the project while performing the modeling;
  5. Immersiveexperiences: Virtual/augmented reality simulations provide a complete view of the project, and allow architects to present their ideas in the best possible way. Thanks to artificial intelligence, it is possible to integrate traditional artificial vision technologies with more advanced computer vision techniques, which make the user experience even more realistic and interactive;
  6. Planning: AI is a very powerful tool that can help designers simplify planning processes, offering them the possibility to access countless amounts of data, perform predictive analysis, make cost estimates, schedule activities, identify possible threats, etc.;
  7. Construction and safety: self-driving machines and robots equipped with artificial intelligence can carry out repetitive or risky construction operations almost independently, greatly accelerating the progress of the project. Through the use of intelligent drones, it is also possible to improve safety on site. These tools integrate image recognition software and are able to detect potentially dangerous conditions, such as the absence of protective devices or the presence of unsafe structures;
  8. Home automation: the integration of artificial intelligence and IoT technologies contributes to the development of intelligent buildings that optimise energy consumption and improve occupant safety and comfort. The algorithms underlying the AI software can be suitably trained to process the data collected by the IoT sensors located in the various environments of a building. These programs are able to analyze the inputs received, and then suggest or directly implement actions aimed at restoring the building equipment to its optimal operation, increasing operational efficiency and optimizing the use of resources.

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Example of parametric architecture (Heydar Aliyev Center, Baku)

AI in architecture: 8 application examples

AI in architecture: advantages and challenges for the future

Artificial intelligence offers countless creative opportunities and is becoming an indispensable tool in architectural projects. Software with intelligent functions has, in fact, the ability to analyze data more efficiently and can help architects implement new design techniques.

In addition to supporting the creativity of designers and ensuring the resolution of complex problems, the implementation of AI in architecture and design allows you to:

  • significantly reduce design times;
  • improve the experience of potential customers;
  • explore any aspect of the project before its actual implementation;
  • optimize planning and construction processes;
  • increase construction site productivity and safety;
  • contribute to the construction of more efficient and sustainable buildings;
  • improved quality.

Due to its high potential, the fear has spread that AI could cause Architects to lose their fundamental role in the world of construction in the not too distant future. In fact, this technology should not be seen as a threat, but as a great opportunity that will help designers streamline and simplify their work more and more.

Although the architecture of the future will be completely different from the current one, architects and designers will always maintain a central role in the design and construction processes of buildings. Thanks to the design focused on artificial intelligence, we will be able to witness, for example, the creation of architectural structures with shapes never seen before, or the construction of entire smart cities based on optimized flows and the exchange of data in real time.

To stay on top of this transformation, start experiencing the benefits of AI with  3D/BIM building design software. With the help of this tool you can create and enrich with useful information the digital model of your project (which you will use as a basis for different applications focused on AI), and you can try a smarter and more creative design method thanks to the functionality of Real-Time rendering.